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Blue Heron Rhythm Experiment

Sharing the art of drumming

August 25, 2011
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - A relatively new gathering of musicians and ancient rhythms has started in the Copper Country, and a couple recent arrivals to the area are responsible.

Bill Anderson and Eileen Sundquist, who moved to Hancock from western New York last fall, have created the Blue Heron Rhythm Experiment. Anderson and Sundquist connected with local musician Greg Wright to organize weekly "drum circles," although the gatherings are not what a typical drum circle would entail and Anderson prefers the term "rhythm experiment."

"People don't need to bring anything," Anderson said. "Any musical instruments are welcome. ... If you just bring your two hands, you can clap, and we always have extra instruments, extra drums and handheld percussion.

Article Photos

Zach Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Bill Anderson plays one of his drums at Studio Pizza in Hancock Wednesday afternoon.

"The desire to make music doesn't even have to be there, you can come and just soak it up, come and dance," Anderson continued. "Drummers love dancers to play to and play for."

A standard event begins with a little bit of instruction to lead people in whatever selection Wright or Anderson has chosen, and the "rhythm experiment" picks up from there.

"What Greg and I do is we like to combine a little bit of teaching so it's not complete chaos," Anderson said. "We pick out a couple rhythms, whether they be African or Afro-Caribbean, and we teach it to whoever's here. We teach the different parts ... and try to keep it simple."

The rhythm experiment is an effort by Wright, Anderson and Sundquist to introduce drumming to the community and to make music as a community.

"Anyone that joins us is part of the experiment," Sundquist said. "It's a pretty free-form exploration of ancient rhythms."

The weekly gatherings begin at 6 p.m. every Sunday. While this Sunday's experiment is at the Orpheum Theater/Studio Pizza in Hancock, the location alternates every other week with the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden. For additional instruction, participants can come to the Studio Pizza events 45 minutes early, not including this Sunday. As the group progresses, the trio plans to start a rhythm study group that will learn and take on more advanced rhythms.

Anderson also makes drums and instrument cases, a small industry he's happy to have brought to Hancock.

For more information, contact Bill Anderson at 483-4269 or by e-mail at



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