As the booms of drums filled the air, heads rocked, feet stamped and hands clapped.
Who knew a ribbon cutting ceremony could be so much fun?
The Remo Recreational Music Center in Santa Clarita opened with a bang – hundreds of them, actually – during a rhythmic ceremony on Jan. 9 that helped showcase the profound impacts of music on the human spirit, a belief long held by the company’s founder, Remo Belli, and his wife, Ami, a physician who promotes preventative medicine.
“Why do you feel so good when you drum?” Ami asked the hushed crowd.
She quickly answered her own question: “It’s because the rhythm and the mind go together.”
The RMC relocated to Valencia following the expiration of its building lease in North Hollywood, moving into the 225,000-square-foot warehouse at 28101 Industry Drive that headquarters the company’s production of its renowned synthetic drumheads and other accessories.
The revamped space, transformed from a welding and maintenance shop, features ample room for a drum circle and will soon be equipped with sensory experiences and high-definition cameras to deliver Remo’s various training programs from the Santa Clarita Valley center to locations across the United States and, potentially, around the world.
The local impact will be equally rich. The RMC will host a weekly community drum circle on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., beginning Feb. 6, and a children’s drum circle on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., beginning Feb. 10.
The center will also be available for corporate team building exercises, among other activities.
“There’s been so many studies done, and just anecdotal evidence, that drumming is good for you. It releases stress. It draws families together,” Remo President Brock Kaericher said. “Nobody’s judging (you). You don’t have to know how to be a professional drummer. From my standpoint, I’m not a drummer and I always feel it’s great because it’s anonymous. If I’m sitting there and playing, nobody can hear me anyway. You’ll find, as you get into it, everyone has rhythm. Everyone has rhythm.”
There’s years of evidence of music’s positive influence:
– A 2001 Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine study concluded: “Drumming is a complex composite intervention with the potential to modulate specific neuroendocrine and neuroimmune parameters in a direction opposite to that expected with the classic stress response.”
– A 2004 report in the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship showed that recreational music-making had a “28.1% improvement in total mood disturbance” in a test of first-year nursing students.
– The Medical Science Monitor, in a 2007 test, found that music therapy – including drumming – had “significant potential for utilization in the corporate wellness environment.”
“There’s been so many studies done, and just anecdotal evidence, that drumming is good for you. It releases stress. It draws families together. … You’ll find, as you get into it, everyone has rhythm. Everyone has rhythm.”
– Remo President Brock Kaericher
In the lasting words of Remo Belli, who died in 2016: “It’s time to stop thinking of the drum as just a musical instrument. Start thinking of it as a unifying tool for every family, a recreational tool for every community, a wellness tool for every retiree, and an educational tool for every classroom.”
Added John Fitzgerald, Remo’s manager of recreational music activities, “Rhythm is a powerful organizing force in life.”
While the ceremonial ribbon cutting elicited joy – Kaericher and Belli shared a warm embrace to celebrate the end of their journey from North Hollywood to what Kaericher called “our community, finally” – RMC’s special drum circle, fittingly, aroused the greatest emotions.
As attendees began banging drums – using percussion mallets, drumsticks or simply the palms of their hands – the room filled not only with noise but with a vibrant energy. The smiling visitors followed the lead of Mike DeMenno, the center’s manager, for much of the unrehearsed show before Fitzgerald stepped to the center of the circle after about 20 minutes.
“I have a question: What just happened?” he asked.
“We made music.”
“We had fun.”
Others expressed a sense of connection and community.
As the conversation continued, Fitzgerald was interrupted by drumming.
Knowing well the power of music, Fitzgerald smiled and asked, “You just can’t help yourself, can you?”
At a glance
What: Remo Recreational Music Center
Where: 28101 Industry Drive, Valencia
On the web:www.remo.com
A journalist of 25 years, Steve Kiggins is editor of the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal. Prior to joining The Signal in December 2017, Kiggins was based in Utah as an executive editor in the USA TODAY Network and worked more than a decade in media and education in Wyoming.
Follow him on Twitter, @scoopskiggy.