2016 Summer Rhythm Renewal

2014 Summer Rhythm Renewal

4 Phenomenal Days of Rhythmic Bliss

2016 Instructors + Program Descriptions

Jim Donovan M.Ed. : Director

New! World Drumming Workshop

World Rhythms & Songs. Music Creation Techniques. Energizing Fun!

Learn and play exciting traditional rhythms and songs from countries all over the world. Discover new ways to express yourself using your drum through “in-the-moment” original music creation. Experience creating your own rhythms and finding out how to connect them with others.

Tibetan Chant Workshop

Learn how to use simple Tibetan sound healing techniques to access a clear mind, an open heart and an energized body. Learn how to use sound to cultivate more joy and compassion in your life. Experience the power and support of intentional group chanting.

New! Drum & Chant Workshops

Ecstatic Drumming, Meditative Chanting. Sound Healing Techniques.

Sound Empowerment / Drum & Chant Workshops show you how to:
Learn how to use drumming to raise your energy and lift your mood. Discover the power of creative group drumming to expand your conscious awareness. Feel lighter as you experience the ancient practice of vocal toning, chanting and mantra to energize your brain clear your mind and become deeply relaxed. Learn effective ways to slow your brainwaves and enter into a meditative mind. Find out how to use powerfully effective sound healing techniques to help you easily relieve anxiety, get better sleep, unblock energetic and emotional congestion. Learn how to use sound to quickly create a calm, balanced state of mind.

Jim Donovan M.Ed. Leadership, Faculty member at Saint Francis University, is a master facilitator, inspirational trainer and world-class musician with over 25 years of leadership, teaching and performance experience. Donovan has presented hundreds of events across the US and Europe where he has helped many thousands of people learn effective ways to consciously lead, connect and live healthier, more productive lives.

As a member of the 3-time platinum band Rusted Root, he co-wrote and performed “Send Me on My Way,” a song whose unforgettable whistle has been featured in both Matilda and Ice Age. His touring work with Rusted Root provided ample opportunity to share the arena stages with rock legends such as Carlos Santana, members of Led Zeppelin and Sting, among others.

He is the author of the book “Drum Circle Leadership” and regularly offers trainings to organizations that teach people how to facilitate creative group music-making as a way to enhance wellness and social connection. These trainings include specialized, evidence-based programs for people who work with individuals with disabilities such as Autism and with those in the addiction and recovery environment.

as Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, and Sting, among others.




Rachel Allen

NEW! Sound and Movement of Life

Combines Singing, Conscious Dance, Expressive Movement and Sound Healing!

We will explore gently guided movement, sound and expressive dance to access grounding into the earth, igniting our core and opening our hearts. We will explore various ways of being in the body with breathing, singing, sounding and movement allowing freedom for individual expression. This is about reclaiming presence! This is a joyful deep integration of Mind, Body, Spirit and Community!

West African Dance

Learn a traditional rhythm, song and dance from Guinea, West Africa. West African Dance is a vibrant, joyful, expression that is both grounding and energizing showing reverence for life and connection in community.

NEW! Doun Doun Dance

INfluenced by traditional West African practice of dancing and drumming with sticks together! We will enjoy a vibrant practice that combines these two expressions together in one

Rachel Allen, is a Certified Music Practitioner, Sound Healer, Reiki Master, and Registered Yoga Teacher with a trauma informed/social justice framework. She has 20 years experience of working with some of the most amazing people on the planet; hospice patients and their families, patients in a variety of health conditions, survivors of sexual abuse, adults with mental illness and most recently, incarcerated women. Rachel is also passionate about supporting and working with caregivers to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. Locally, Rachel teaches Creative Movement at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Regionally and nationally, she teaches and presents at conferences and retreats, weaving live music, yoga, and creative movement into themes of compassion, self acceptance, and transformation. Rachel is committed to engaging people from all walks of life in the healing arts to create healthy, diverse, and joyful communities. Visit her on the web at www.yogasong.net


Harry Pepper Ph.D

Shamanic Journeying Workshop

Shamanic Journeying is a set of ancient techniques dating back, according to archaeologists, about 30,000 years. Many indigenous cultures throughout the world have used these techniques to access healing and spiritual realms. In this introduction workshop we will utilize a specific tempo and rhythm on the drum, producing a particular sound frequency, which consequently produces a theta state in the brain. This state, usually associated with sleep and dreaming, produces deep relaxation, healing, and often brings profound insight through creative imagery. This unique healing experience can allow participants to unlock new dimensions of personal power in their lives. No previous experience with journeying is necessary as this class will include both basic instruction and a journey
experience for all participants.

Harry Pepper, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the Adult Program Coordinator at Common Ground The Cindy Nord Center for Renewal. Harry also maintains a private practice with Palmentera and Associates, Inc. and has a growing life coaching practice, working with clients across the nation. He worked for eight years as a Staff Psychologist in the Oberlin College Counseling Center and is an experienced presenter on a wide range of topics including holistic and alternative healing approaches, shadow work, relationship issues and men's issues. He has more than 10 years of experience providing individual, couples and group therapy to a diverse population of clients.


Kim McElhatten

Wild Writes: Nature Writing

Explore the natural surroundings of the Saint Francis campus with Kim McElhatten.  In her workshop Wild Writes: Nature Writing, participants will combine nature walks with the art of journal writing to practice mindfulness and to reaffirm their connection with the earth.  Everyone is welcome to join this class.  No experience in writing or nature identification is needed.  Come to this class prepared with a journal and ready to experience Mother Nature in a new way. 


Kim McElhatten is a writer, teacher, and drummer in Central PA where she offers meditation and writing workshops at HeartspaceWellness Alliance.  There she also facilitates The Second Sunday Drum Circles and is a Reiki practitioner specializing in  Reiki for Relationships.


Her principal philosophy in life is that each of us has a responsibility to design our own happiness.  Her workshops focus on techniques to quiet the mind, allowing participants to connect to the inner, ancient wisdom that leads to happiness and manifests a universal condition for everyone to experience joy.   


Jaqui MacMillan

Drum For Joy!
"If you can say it, you can play it" ... These are the famous words of Jaqui's first drum teacher, Babatunde Olatunji, and also the foundation for all of her drum classes.  In the Drum For Joy!™ classes you will learn the language of the drum, basic hand drum technique and how to make your drum sing.  Jaqui presents the drum songs in a way that make it fun and easy to learn.  By building and playing drum compositions in all of their parts, (rhythms, breaks, solos and vocals), you will experience the magic of music making and the joy of drumming in a group! 

All levels of experience are welcome.  From the "beginning beginner" to the experienced player, the Drum For Joy™ classes are enjoyable for everyone!  Jaqui specializes in djembe drumming, but other hand drums are welcome, (ashikos, bougaraboos, congas, etc.).  Recording and note taking are welcome and encouraged.

Jaqui MacMillan found her passion for African drumming in the early 1980’s. She has since studied with many masters, including Babatunde Olatunji, Mamady Keita, and Sam Turner and at the Tam Tam Mandingue School in Washington, DC. Having performed and recorded with some of the top names in the business, she began sharing her joy of drumming with others by teaching classes and facilitating community drum circles. Jaqui has taught privately and given workshops around the country for nearly two decades through her program, “Drum For Joy!”

Visit Jaqui's site here

Tina Stroh

Tina Stroh  Yoga for Every Body
Gentle yoga classes to help you wake up smiling.
Private yoga sessions are available with Tina. Individual instruction is the way yoga was originally taught. For the beginner or someone with specific injuries or health concerns, it is very beneficial to have the one on one attention and guidance. After practicing for a while, it is beneficial to do an occasional private session to refine your practice as it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to deepen into poses that have been troublesome or challenging. You may choose to do one or a series of individual classes.

Theatrical Improv for Heart and Soul
You do it everyday. You improv. It’s life. You don’t have to be an actor to experience the joy of improv....“All the world’s a stage”
No theater experience required, AT ALL. This is not about performance, it’s about presence. At the heart of improvisational theater is awareness and attention. This class will take you out of your comfort zone and make you laugh in the process.
In this class you will also:
    •    practice being present and listening
    •    be out of your mind
    •    learn creative ice breakers
    •    explore techniques for raising energy and creating group cohesion
    •    open to new levels of creativity
    •    cut loose, laugh at yourself and maybe even speak a foreign language

Let go of any expectations of yourself and come play.

Tina Stroh, E-RYT®
Tina has eaten Thanks giving dinner in the rainforest of Madagascar, shaken hands with the Dalai Lama, danced with Patch Adams, and gotten kicked out of a Buddhist Monastery.  Not exactly “Eat, Pray, Love” !
Tina as been a student of yoga for over 20 years, completed numerous yoga teacher trainings and workshops, and has a BA degree in International Studies and Theater.  While watching the boom of yoga in the U.S. the rise and fall of popular gurus, and having sat with many well-known yogis and heard their insider stories, she has a very different perspective on yoga.  Through this unique lens, Tina seeks to use her training in yoga and college degree to help dispel the mysticism without losing the power of the philosophy of the yoga practice.  
Tina’s extensive training includes:  three trips to India, 200 Hours Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher Training with Don and Amba Stapleton, and over 400 hours Ashtanga combined training with Beryl Bender Birch, Nancy Gilgoff, David Williams, Edward Clark, and David Swenson.  Tina has also studied Sanskrit, Thai Yoga Massage, Vipassana meditation, Herbology, and Reiki.



New! Crown of Eternity

Gong Bath and Sound Healing with Mike and Galina Tamburo. Crown Of Eternity spend their lives serving people through vibration, sound and music as well as with relaxation and energy movement techniques. Through their workshops, classes, therapy sessions and concerts they have helped thousands of people connect to their life energy, to deeper relaxation and to self healing.

Join Gallina and Mike Tamburo as you bathe in waves of sound from multiple gongs, bells, crystal and metal singing bowls. The deep complex harmonics of multiple gongs quickly silence the mind and entrain the brain into a spontaneous state of deep meditation. The rhythmic sound oscillations penetrate into the body and tissues and are often experienced as a full body sound massage that allows us to let go—letting go of stress, worries, anxieties, doubt, fears and feelings that have a negative effect on our health and life.

New! Tricia Chirumbole

Ecstatic Dance 

Ecstatic Dance is mindfulness-based movement practice that invites you to let go and unleash your authentic, awesome self through free-form movement! Our Ecstatic Dance journey is guided by a playlist moving us through an energetic arch from tuning in, through delving deeper, into unleashing and then back into stillness. Opening & closing circles frame our time together for intention setting and integration. No dancing experience required or dance steps to learn! Come as you are ~ Move as you wish!


Tricia Chirumbole is a dancer, facilitator, and explorer of life, who is passionate about creating opportunities for personal and collective growth through movement, dialogue, and group co-creation. Tricia facilitates events and authentic engagement experiences for community gatherings, conferences, and organizations that weave together expressive arts, mindfulness, and collaborative processes. Her dance and embodiment influences include: DancingMindfulness (trauma informed), SomasourceContact Improv, and Ecstatic Dance. Other influences include: Open Space Technology, soul journaling, compassionate listening, non-violent communication, meditation, yoga, shadow work, improv comedy, and play!

New! Jennifer Gehl

New! Cosmic Harmony, Health and You
Jennifer Gehl, B.M., MHS, is a Certified Acutonics® Practitioner / Instructor, and
principle author of Bringing Planetary Medicine Down to Earth with Marc S. Micozzi,  M.D. (expected publication November 2016).

Experience the higher octaves of our planet and solar system, while gaining
a deeper understanding of how our connection to this music heals the body, mind, and soul.
In Greek, the word “Kosmos” means order.  No matter how chaotic our life becomes, or how helpless we may feel to change circumstances, there is order inherent in every experience that calls us back to the Self and connection to all that exists – from the tiniest
organism to the greatest galaxy.

In this class, we will explore our connection to the music of the spheres, and the ancient arts and sciences within the context of healing.  We will learn simple ways to bathe in the blissful harmonies that restore peace, heal the heart, and soothe the soul. Combining her Bachelor’s in music and
Master’s in Health Science with course work in Reiki, healing touch, acupuncture, yoga, and astrology, Gehl integrates this knowledge to inspire new awareness of ancient

Bryan Fazio

New! Afro-Cuban Drumming: Beyond
A next level intermediate workshop exploring:
  • Variations of Tumbao and Calypso rhythms.
  • Approaches to improvising/soloing
  • Advanced technique and practice exercises

Afro-Cuban Drumming: The Basics

Delve into the world of Conga drumming as we explore the foundations of Afro-Cuban and Latin Rhythms.  Learn the basic techniques for playing conga drums through rhythms found in many styles of music all over the world.  We will also look at making practice methods enjoyable and ways to advance your drumming at any level.

 + Rhythm for the Spoken Word Workshop w/ Matthew Adams (Read the full description in Matthew's in the right hand column.)


A percussionist of unique style, self-published poet and dynamic
teacher and facilitator, Bryan Fazio has been pursuing a life with
music and creativity since the age of 27 when he left his job as a
mailman and decided to play the Conga drums.

He teaches Blissful Drumming at Community College of Beaver
County, facilitates workshops throughout the greater Pittsburgh area
on hand drumming and spontaneous poetry, gives private lessons
and accompanies Yoga classes.

He performs regularly with Jim Donovan’s Sun King Warriors,
Tertium Quid Percussion Ensemble, Faze 4 and as a solo artist. He
performed with dozens of different artists weekly throughout
2010-2011 in the widely acclaimed “Friends of Fazio”.

Fazio released “Poems and Sounds” in 2004 and “Basement Rumba”
with PJ Roduta in 2010. He is also featured on Jim Donovan’s “Live
in Wellsville 2006” and recordings by Faze 4 and McFuzz.
He is the author of “Projections”, a book of poetry and original
mandala artwork.


Mike Deaton

Evening Renewal Jam & Drum Circle Leader

Each night at the Renewal is a time to jam, dance and have a great time together.

Soft Sounds All-Percussion Workshop
A percussion workshop for everyone. My goals include increasing listening skills and creativity, empowering people who might not usually pick up a percussion instrument, and fostering musicality. Bells, shakers, blocks and gongs make up this lively workshop 

Mike Deaton is a performer, recording artist, experienced djembe and hand-drum teacher, and a facilitator of music for all ages and experience levels. In his 15 years of making music, he has amassed a large collection of drums and percussion instruments from around the world, and learned to use them as a way to bring people together in harmony.


Matthew Adams

Transformative Writing

Transformation happens when we embrace those elements of ourselves that keep us immobile and integrate them with clearly defined expressions of what we are capable of becoming.  Writing provides an avenue to both.  In journals we can uncover and reflect upon the potential of the events, people, and objects we find meaningful in daily life, and we can begin to shape that meaning into a liberating and actualizing artistic experience.   At Renewal, participants will be invited to use their journals as an active part of their experience.  We’ll begin each day with some suggestions for journal writing that reflect the themes and topics Jim will be covering in his morning meditations.  Then, in the Transformative Writing breakout sessions, we’ll practice approaches and exercises to journaling that can help us more fully explore what such writing can offer.    


Rhythm for the Spoken Word with Bryan Fazio

Music and literature represent two of our oldest forms of personal and communal expression.  You are warmly invited to join Bryan and myself for a workshop that explores what happens when we bring these art forms together.  In a relaxed, friendly, and energetic environment, participants will be invited to create, both individually and as a whole group, rhythm-based, spoken word expressions of their experiences of the weekend.   Bring a generous and adventurous heart.  Leave your inhibitions at the door.


Matt is a journeyman teacher and writer from Pittsburgh, PA, whose talent lies in helping students find and develop their artistic voices, identify and resolve whatever issues this process uncovers, and replace their doubt and self-consciousness with a more open, honest, and grounded appreciation of what their writing has to offer. 


Jim Gagnon

Didgeridoo and Throat Singing : Ancient Ways for Modern Times

The Australian Didgeridoo is one of the oldest instruments in the world, but there is one even much older- the human voice!
Both the didgeridoo and the voice have been used for thousands of years for prayer, communication, meditation, and of course music! Learn the basics of didgeridoo (instruments provided) and throat singing in a way that is easy and fun! This class is designed for musicians, health care workers, and anyone interested in the healing use of music in everyday life!

Jim Gagnon is a highly acclaimed storyteller and musician, and founder of the Dreamtime Project. Private lessons available.