Residents of the Santa Clarita Valley are about to learn that playing music is for everyone, not just experienced musicians, as Remo, Inc., the world’s largest drumhead company, is in the process of moving its Recreational Music Center (RMC) from North Hollywood to its headquarters in Valencia.
“People go out and play golf or other sports on the weekends without being experts,” says Mike DeMenno, manager of the RMC. “Why can’t music be like that?”
That’s exactly what it’s like at the music center’s weekly drum circles, where attendees are given permission to play instruments and have fun without concern for skill level. The unique nature of drumming allows for a cohesive rhythm to be found, no matter the experience of the participants.
DeMenno points out that, in addition to being recreational, music is also good for health, just like sports and other physical activity. The recreation and health aspect of music are the main reasons the company originally opened the RMC.
Remo Belli, the company’s founder, along with his wife, Dr. Ami Belli, a physician who strongly promotes preventative medicine, believed that music was a powerful tool in improving the overall human condition. As a result of that belief, they became the first in the industry to hire a full-time music therapist back in 2000.
With the help of that therapist, Christine Stevens, and drummer Chalo Eduardo, the company began hosting drum circles in a space that previously housed their headquarters in North Hollywood. Remo had leased back a portion of the building after selling it five years earlier, unsure at the time what its purpose would be.
It began with one weekly drum circle for all ages and soon after a Saturday drum circle was added for kids. After a couple of years, the popularity had increased so much that the company built a six-day per week recreational music center open to the public, with drum circles, classes, and workshops.
DeMenno, who started working for Remo after attending the early drum circles as a guest, notes that it was a life-changing experience for the people who showed up. “It’s the power of the drum,” he says. “Everything is in rhythm, everything in the universe.”
One of the things DeMenno loves most about drum circles is that they break down social and economic barriers and build a sense of community. He refers to them as ice breakers, a way to mingle and make friends. He’s even seen people get married after meeting at drum circles.
The company is thrilled to be bringing this community experience to the Santa Clarita Valley, with the new music center slated to open in late August. To start out, the RMC will host two drum circles, one for kids on Saturday mornings and one for everyone else on Tuesday evenings. The typical age range for the kids’ drum circle is two to ten, but all kids and their families are welcome.
For more information on the RMC or to check for upcoming activities, visit www.remormc.com.