b&w images • blog • project journal


First Friday in July – Part I, Cliff Giles' Drum Circle

Jul 9, 2018

It was tempting to stay right there the whole evening – it was a really good session at Cliff Giles' drum circle. It's held every First Friday now, almost dead-center for all the activities. Cliff brings the drums and a plethora of miscellaneous, unique and odd percussion instruments. He's also attracted a cast of regulars with some amazing talent, some there for the duration. The mixture of trained talent and enthusiastic public is contagious. The number of chairs seems to have increased and this time they had to move the bin full of washboards and gongs and things I've never heard of off to the edge because visitors are finding themselves inspired to dance to the beat – and it's all becoming video-worthy. It will probably have to be a standard move now. I've included at the bottom a short video to give something of the atmosphere.

     This gathering began in front of a little shop in the middle of the next block with the earliest First Fridays – with maybe a few interested kids joinng in. It has evolved to be such a big attraction – anyone and everyone is invited to participate or watch – that we've met people who haven't bothered to see any of the rest that's going on. And there's a lot.

     I decided to divide this First Friday into two postings so I can use more of the drumming images. Next posting will concentrate on interesting faces – especially kids. Of course that makes for more that I have to print out and mat for my freebie-bin. Hopefully I can have them available for the last First Friday of the year – October – and figure out some way to get the word out – so far that part has been hit and miss.

Hmm. Plan B: October First Friday on a small table with a little sign near the drumming group, the one place everyone stops at least for a little while. I'll have to talk to Carl at Concord Point Coffee right there to see what I can arrange. Pretty sure that here there would be no need for supervision – just a short "if you see yourself or yours, take it". I'll try to make sure everything from this years Fridays plus a couple of leftovers from last year are in there.

     At the top, the youngest drummer. This kid joined in just before the Governor showed up with his entourage, which made it frustratingly tricky to get a shot. Evidently a total concentration stare. Off on the edge, alone with daddy just off to the left keeping the crowd from moving in, while everyone was looking at the Governor, oblivious. My favorite shot of the day.

     At one point she was completely blocked and I spun the camera around and snapped the first shot below – the Guv proving he has about as much rhythm as I do. When later asked if I got my shot of our distingushed visitor, I responded:  "Yes, as an afterthought. I was concentrating on the very determined little girl in the Beatles shirt". Of course no-one knew what I was talking about. I hope she and her daddy see this so they can pick up the print in October..


The fellow playing the washboard is Harford's own concert pianist Duke Thompson. The addition of sounds like this adds immesurably to the sound coming out of the circle. Duke seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself. Below I paired two girls with strikingly pretty faces taking a try at the drums – all the drummers I know are guys and none of them look like this.


The young lady on the left below danced like she's done some belly-dancing. She actually put on a good show. The girl on the right danced through with a funnel-cake in her hand, stopping in the center to do a few good moves – and yes, that's powdered sugar all over her skirt.


The shot below shows Cliff giving pointers to one of thee drummers. There's usually a free drum somewhere, if not there's a cowbell, washboard or whatever in the instrument bin.

Below is a little video clip I took with the iPhone using the MoviePro app, trying out the zoom effect. I had to cut part out because someone realized the equipment box wasn't going to work in the center any more and had to bend over in front of me to remove it – would not have been kind to leave that in.   As always the images are larger on their Havre de Grace Street Page…

First Friday in Havre de Grace is becoming quite a thing. Maybe next time I'll lug in a tripod and set it up with the phone for video so I'm free to shoot my B&W. Hmm… Nan might even like to run the zoom remotely from her phone. Just gotta figure out how to approach her – or set the remote up on my iPad Mini and find a volunteer.

In a few days I'll post the shots taken in the rest of First Friday in July.

SITE NOTE: I've streamlined the Havre de Grace section back down to one page – 2018 postings as they happen and previous entries gathered into appropriate groups below.