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Former Rusted Root drummer to lead Ross workshop

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Former Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan (center) leads a Drum and Chant Workshop. He will be doing his workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. March 8 at Schoolhouse Yoga in Ross Township

A usually quiet yoga studio in Ross Township will be filled with the sounds of drumming and chanting next month during a workshop led by former Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan.

“It's really fun. There's a strong connection and strong energy in the room,” said Schoolhouse Yoga owner Leta Koontz, 46, of Hampton. “It's a nice release. ... You leave relaxed.”

The Drum and Chant Workshop will be at 7 p.m. March 8 at Schoolhouse Yoga, 7210 McKnight Road in Ross.

Donovan, 45, of Greens-burg, said the workshop is beginner-friendly, and his techniques are vehicles for personal growth, healing and fostering a sense of community.

“It's surprisingly simple,” Donovan said. “The idea is to use voice and rhythm as tools for wellness.”

Workshop participants will play African drums called djembes with their hands and chant in unison to create simple group music, which, Donovan said, has relaxation and holistic health benefits,

Donovan was a founding member of the band Rusted Root, which is known for its strong percussion and integration of world music. He left the band in 2005.

Before performing with Rusted Root, Donovan studied music at the University of Pittsburgh, where he discovered African drumming.

“It was very much the opposite of my classical music training,” Donovan said. “There was no pressure to be perfect.”

Donovan now teaches world-music and drumming classes at St. Francis University in Loretto and trains occupational therapists on how to conduct drum therapy for children with autism.

He said he has facilitated more than 2,000 drumming events in the past few years.

The workshop costs $35 in advance or $45 the day of the event, if space is available. The space can accommodate 40 participants. Online registration is available at www.schoolhouseyoga.com/workshops.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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