Remo music center offers programs for all ages

Daily Sundial

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Nestled in a warehouse in North Hollywood is a music recreational center that brings the community together and promotes well being.

Hundreds of drums line the walls waiting to be played by those who walk through the door and are waiting to escape the everyday complications that life brings, by musical expression.

Remo Recreational Music Center is the only center of its kind offering a giant playground for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The center is open because of a couple’s generosity and also by the small fees they charge for some of the classes.

Remo Belli, who revolutionized the drumming world forever in 1957 with his invention of the world’s first synthetic drumhead is the founder of the drum manufacturer, Remo Inc.

He started the center several years ago, with the help of his wife Ami. They turned one of Remo’s old factory warehouses into the center.

What started as a small program with only a few people attending once a week has now blossomed into a multitude of programs ranging from after school drum circles to “women-only” circles.

Remo’s will offer a “women’s drum day” that consists of drumming, dancing, and an array of presenters on Sept. 10 from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a fee of $50.

People ranging from ages between two and 80 can come to the center to participate in free Community Drum Circles.

Other events they hold are Remo Rhythm Jam night where the center offers drum circles for adults; a Health RHYTHMs drum circle; and open-mic on Friday nights where artists come to jam and hangout.

Remo also offers a free drum circle for kids and the entire family.

Remo’s also opens for people who just want to play music whenever they want.

Christine Stevens, a board certified music therapist, was recently hired by Belli to set up a program called Health RHYTHMS, which is designed to reduce stress and strengthen people’s immune systems.

This center also focuses on using Music Therapy as a way to heal people.

Music Therapy is a creative arts therapy that uses music along with a therapist as a treatment for improving the lives of people who are disabled physically, emotionally or even intellectually.

Music Therapy is a profession that is expanding and CSUN is the only State University that offers a degree in this field, which has an on-site Music Therapy Clinic in the Music Building.

Lauren Daniels, a music therapy student at CSUN, holds the Health RHYTHMS class on Thursday nights.

“This type of program can help people who have autism, are physically disabled or even people who have had a stroke,” Daniels said. “It helps them communicate through music.”

Daniels has worked at Remo’s a little over a year and has been drumming since the age of nine.

The center’s popularity has spread through word of mouth with minimal advertising. Part of the center’s motto is, “Group drumming is not about inspiring successful drumming-it about inspiring successful living.”

Remo’s offers its “community” an outlet for creative expression, which enables them to be well rounded.

A drum circle is when people play drums with no teacher and no audience. It is a circle that makes creativity come alive and supports self-expression.

“It offers a window of opportunity making all who come here welcome,” said Mike DeMenno, manager of the center.

The center offered DeMenno an opportunity to work there one day when he walked through the doors to borrow a drumset.

DeMenno said he has seen how the center has expanded.

Remo’s participates in the Rose parade each year with its larger than life Gong drums.

This year a huge column with a platform surrounded by Remo drums of all different sizes will be added.

The center will also be participating in the World Festival of Sacred Music that honors the sea from Sept. 17 through Oct. 2.

“It’s so great to see how people’s faces light up when they play and powerful they feel they become while playing,” said DeMenno.

Hearing kids in the background playing on the different drums makes DeMenno’s statement ring true, the rhythms that come forth can be moving and empowering.

He is still very active in the center and you can often see him and Ami on Thursday nights for Health RHYTHMS.

Candice Mitchell can be reached at ane@sundial.csun.edu