Drop-in hand drumming classes

Voodoo Dave instructing a hand drumming class on Gabriola Island. Courtesy of Voodoo Dave
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By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler

Dave McGrath, also known as Voodoo Dave, is a percussionist, drum maker, and hand drumming instructor.

Voodoo Dave is hosting hand drumming classes on Thursdays from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Kismet Theatre, 112-55 Victoria Road. This current session of classes has been running since November 17, and will conclude on December 8. The lessons cost $15 to drop in, and are open to all levels. Drums will be provided at the event.

“People have a great time playing together,” Dave says. “It’s a good social event, people get to build community, it helps relieve stress, and forget about all your other problems for an hour and a half.”

Dave has instructed a wide variety of students in hand drumming. He has done workshops at elementary schools, universities, office events, and even retirement communities. Dave says that all ages are welcome to his classes, and there is often a diverse mix of age groups at his classes.

“It’s a good way for students to relieve some stress, and it might even help them with their concentration,” Dave says. “It’s good on a lot of levels for your health, it even stimulates your immune system.”

While living in Mexico in 1993, Dave discovered the art of hand drumming, and making hand drums. When Dave returned to Vancouver Island, he was looking for a drumming community, but found there were few teachers and drum circles in the area. Eventually, he moved to Vancouver, and got involved in their community. He played in Brazilian and traditional African music bands, and developed a passion for percussion through his involvement in the drumming community. Dave then brought that passion back to Nanaimo, where he now hosts classes and organizes drum circles in the area.

“I have a motto I use, and that’s ‘building community one beat at a time.’ [Hand drumming] is fun, it’s something everyone should try at least once and see what it’s all about.”


Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.