San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 30th, 2009
The beat goes on at San Marcos CISD

The Drum Cafe’ drumming up teamwork.


Last week, the staff of San Marcos CISD marched to the beat of a different drummer during the school district’s annual Convocation ceremony to begin the new school year.

Although staffers didn’t actually march, they drummed with the internationally famous Drum Cafe’ which worked its syncopated magic at the event.

The Drum Cafe’ has performed for royalty, presidents, celebrities, political leaders and for the opening ceremonies of the Bejing Olympics. Last week, it came to San Marcos with the message, “Building Teams … One Beat at a Time.”

Human beings have had a particular affinity for the sound of the drum for thousands of years. Drums were most certainly used as a form of communication for primitive societies. They also provide a much needed back beat for music. The drummer keeps time on an even keel. A drum can sound like a heartbeat, a drop of rain or a rumble of thunder.

At Convocation, Drum Cafe’ provided all of the 1,200 audience members with an authentic African drum. As each drum team listened to the next and interacted, complicated beats were played in unison by more than 1,000 drummers. This cooperative action leveled the playing field and broke down barriers. It was the very essence of non-verbal communication.

The Drum Cafe’ leaders asserted that the“unifying experience creates the perfect platform for teams to experience the power of all working together to achieve a common objective.”

The Drum Cafe’ started in an actual cafe’ in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1996. Drumming was used in a relaxed atmosphere to inspire and help bring people together. In only a dozen years, the group has become an international phenomenon, performing in more than 20 countries and at more than 20,000 events.

On the group’s website, founder Warren Lieberman comments, “Drumming is something everyone and every culture can relate to. The first thing you hear when you come into this world is your mother’s heartbeat. Drumming relaxes, energizes and motivates in a way most team building companies cannot explain.”

Two San Marcos High School students, Irene Morse and Miguel Arredondo, served as emcees for the event. Superintendent Patty Shafer surprised Morse at the podium with the presentation of a special award from Governor Rick Perry in recognition of her winning a state-level competition last spring.

Shafer also acknowledged all of the San Marcos CISD campuses and departments, including the new campuses of Irene K. Mendez Elementary School, Maria Hernandez Elementary School and the Phoenix Learning Center. “Exemplary” banners were presented to Bowie Elementary School, Crockett Elementary School and De Zavala Elementary School, as each received the exemplary rating recently from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). A “Recognized” banner was presented to Travis Elementary, which won a recognized rating from TEA.

As Convocation came to a close Shafer said, “This exercise with the Drum Café and our staff brings home an interesting paradox: First, the importance of diversity and the value of every person’s unique, individual contribution. And at the same time, we were reminded that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. I feel confident that all the individual talents of our dedicated SMCISD staff will come together this year to produce a harmonious whole: an outstanding academic year for our children.”

The special Convocation program was made possible by a group of donors who paid for the team-building activity. This donors Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, J.R. Inc. (Jesse Rodriguez), Pfluger Associates Architects, Bartlett Cocke General Contractors, Escamilla & Poneck, Inc., First Financial Capital Administrators, First Southwest Company, and the firm of Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Aldridge & Gallegos, P.C.

The Drum Cafe’ inspiring the audience.

Ernest Bueno, Dawn Sheridan-Reinhuer, and Pam White of Miller Middle School.

Jessica Botello, art teacher, and Lucy Wilder, Balance Literacy Coach, of Travis Elementary.

Teachers from the Child Development Center and Crockett Elementary.

Christie Moore and members of the Technology Department take on the tambourine section.

De Zavala Elementary receiving its “Exemplary” banner.

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