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Westwood Library drums up fun

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By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter

The Westwood Library was awash with rhythm last Thursday evening as Craig Norton came to teach the community about music and drums.

Dozens of kids sat in a drum circle with different percussion instruments, like shaker eggs, tambourines, and an assortment of various drums. The event not only gave the kids the chance to play the instruments, but also to learn about where the drums came from.

Dianne Kelley, who was in attendance, was impressed with how well Norton was able to work with the kids.

“I thought it very good,” Kelley said. “I was an educator for over thirty years for first graders, so I can appreciate how he keeps their attention and he gets them not only hyped [up], but also to quiet down.”

Craig Norton playing one of his many different drums after telling a story to the kids. Photos by Daniel Curtin

Craig Norton playing one of his many different drums after telling a story to the kids. Photos by Daniel Curtin

Norton, who has been working in music for about 20 years, didn’t initially start his career as a drum maven. Before Norton realized he could make a career out of his passion for music, he worked as an associate director at ESPN.

“My boss at ESPN was like: ‘You should go to one of these drum circles,’ because he saw me tapping on my desk all the time,” Norton said. “So I went and it was perfect … I just fell in love with it. I realized for the first time in my life that I could be a musician.”

Norton’s new career has taken him to as far away as Senegal in West Africa, but also throughout the United States - his travels have taken him from the South all the way to California. Norton now has about 120 percussion instruments and leads drum circles for both adults and children.

Even though leading drum circles with the kids is different than his sessions with adults, he finds that working with a younger audience can be rewarding in its own way.

“What’s great is I love to get parents playing with their kids,” Norton said. “Dancing with their kids out here, doing this stuff together … To see the kids shine is really the best part. I put them in charge. I give them the opportunity to be the leader.”

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