About Michael

coverpromo1w70When people want to really experience connection, they engage with Michael. His work engages and touches home with audiences of all ages. He is a master at bringing out the best in all of us, creating a community through rhythm while spotlighting the uniqueness of the individual.

His performances educate and entertain. By understanding the diversity of multi-cultural instruments, we begin to glimpse the true value and meaning of being part of the group. Many instruments were developed because people needed to use the materials that were readily available to them. The construction of drums, flutes, mbiras, shakers and rattles all point to innovation and creativity. The instruments of tomorrow are only limited by our minds, as demonstrated by the newly invented Hang – an amazing instrument invented in 2000.

Workshops are tailored to the needs of the audience. In business settings the themes often include team building, innovation, creativity, improvisation, as well as the health benefits and stress reduction found from participating in a drumming session. Elementary school, high school and college groups explore both creating instruments and creating rhythms, experimenting with talents many never knew they had. Anti bullying, grief, exploration, improvisation, innovation, health and well being, community, empowerment, creativity, and relationships are all themes that past presenters have used as their group’s focus.

Artist Statement
Intuition is the one consistent quality throughout my work as a composer, performing artist, and teacher. When I am composing, I start with a series of sounds, sometimes sensing the need for more brightness here, more depth there, more mystery, more simplicity. I have been drawn to sounds and rhythm all my life. It seems to be innate, as a moth is drawn to a flame.

The same intuition guides me through my performances. Every audience is unique, and I thrive on responding to the energy, emotions and feelings that are present. I include improvisation in my performances to enhance that unique experience. This is one of the things I love about live music – no two performances are exactly the same.

As a teacher that same quality is present on a different level. In a business or professional setting the needs might be exploring creativity and innovation, establishing connections with others in a unique way, or simply re-learning how to play with childlike abandon. In schools we are learning about rhythm, how to cooperate with each other in a musical setting, and empowering the seeds of possibility. With groups seeking healing, there is an introspective, inner journey component to drumming. It calls us to focus only on the rhythm – on this one experience, apart from the other aspects of our life.

Throughout it all – composing, performing, and teaching, there is always the presence of community and belonging. This is one of the reasons I prefer to work with a variety of multicultural instruments…blending sounds from all over the world into a new and fresh existence.

Check out what others are saying about Michael…..

Starting the Drumming with Dads program here at Gomez Heritage with Michael was one of the top parent involvement programs I have ever been involved in.  Seeing how proud the students were to be at school making and playing drums with their father figure was a sight to see.  It gave me goose bumps the first night when I looked out and there were over one hundred students and dads strengthening their relationships with one another!  

This year Michael and I thought of a Family Music Night.  On three different evenings we are making kalimbas, rain sticks and drums.  The parents and students have really enjoyed themselves so far!  The kalimba is not something an every day person would know about.  By providing this opportunity, students and their parents are now playing the kalimba at home and talking to their friends and family about the instrument.  Another opportunity that we provided with much success!
Mr. John Campin, Principal, Gomez Heritage Elementary, Omaha, NE

This multicultural performance is a must see for audiences of all ages.
Bill Pullen, former Assistant Principal of Minne Lusa Elementary School, Omaha, NE.

Michael’s workshop at the 2014 Omaha Young Professionals Summit was wildly successful! Everyone was talking about it.
Sara Tucker, Chairwoman, Omaha Young Professionals

A superb feast for the ear and spirit…and imagination!
Vic Faesser, Pawnee County Arts Council

Very impressive, unbelievable performance! To hold the attention of 750 students for an hour takes a remarkable talent!
Kris Vodehnal, Teacher, Human Elementary, Lincoln, NE

Michael is able to use his many talents to inspire and connect his audience. His enthusiasm in the music and it’s many messages is contagious, which makes for a very dynamic and entertaining evening.
Deirdre Fay, Assistant Professor of Music, Bismarck State College, Bismarck, SD

The recent performance and demonstration on the art of percussion was a HUGE hit. It was a treat to see so many smiles, and it was touching to witness the group share the common bond of music. [Michael] inspired us to start our own drum circles, and we hope he can join us again soon.
Jon Pearson and the Recreation Department, Quality Living, Inc., Omaha, NE

Read more…


Michael Fitzsimmons is a percussionist, an award winning composer, and a performance and recording artist with Dancing Man Music. He is an international touring artist and skilled performer of diverse percussion instruments including drums, African instruments, Mbira (thumb piano), Plains Indian flutes, Brazilian percussion flutes, various bamboo flutes, and Hang

See full bio

Recordings and Videos:
Original compositions and arrangements

    Video link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiJ4RHugB-Y
    Water Flows Over Me (2006)
    Buffalo Run Music Video – producer Chuck Amoura https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuFKpT1o-u4
    (Film Festival entry)
    Skin on Skin (2002), recipient of Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship Award
    Light in the Village (1994), Coyote Oldman records
    In Medicine River (1992) with Michael Graham Allen, Coyote Oldman records; 
    Joydance (1990)

Theatrical Performances:

    Composer and Performer: Robert Bly’s Tatterhood,
    Composer and Performer: adaptations of Snow White, Omaha Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater 
    Composer and Performer: adaptations of Cinderella, Omaha Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater
    Composer and Performer: Storyteller Nancy Duncan’s
    Good Old Crunchy Stories II
    The Cat that Walked by Himself

    Performer: Storyteller Nancy Duncan’s Always/Never Coming Home 


    Drum Circle Leader: Universal College of Healing Arts drum circles and other venues
    Performing Artist: WhyArts?
    Performing Artist/Cofounder: Who’s Art Is It Anyway? for art museums and galleries
    Performing and Touring Percussionist: Sacred Heart Freedom Choir
    Founder: Improv Studio – improvisational trio including cellist David Downing, woodwind artist Frank Lightell
    Performing Artist: Nebraska Arts Council’s Touring Program, performing in schools, communities, and corporate settings
    Performing Artist: Iowa Arts Council
    Performing Artist: Mid America Arts Alliance (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas)
    Master Teaching Artist: University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Arts Are Basic
    Resident Teaching Artist: Nebraska Arts Council
    Teaching Artist: G.A.T.E. (Grief and the Arts Training Experience) for therapists, school teachers, hospital teams, and individual groups
    Teaching Artist/Cofounder: Drumming with Dads

Video segments:


See a comprehensive list of Past Presenters

Greater Omaha Area

Alegent Creighton Health
Alegent Hospice
Augustana Lutheran Church
Avery elementary
Bancroft elementary
Beals elementary
Bellevue University
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Benson library
Bergan mercy hospital
Beveridge middle school
Boy’s and girl’s club
Boystown hearing institute
Brookstone Village
Bryan elementary
Camp Hope
Catlin Magnet Center
Centering Corporation
Central Park elementary
Children’s museum
Christ the King Church
Christ the King School
Clarkson college
College of St. Mary
Completely Kids
Cooper Village Home for boys
Creighton University
Creighton University med students
Drumming with dads
Dundee elementary
Eastern Nebraska library Systems
Emmy Gifford Children’s Theatre
Ezra Millard Elementary School
Field club elementary
Florence library
Florence library
Franklin elementary
Gilder elementary
Girl scouts of Nebraska
Gomez elementary
Greater Omaha Young Professionals Summit
Holland Performing Arts Center
Holy Cross Catholic Church
Holy cross Lutheran Church
Holy name School
Hospice care
House of hope
House of Hope
ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference
Immanuel hospital
Jefferson elementary
Jewish Community Center
Joslyn art museum
King elementary
Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church
Lakeside hospital
LeMay elementary
Liberty school
Lothrop elementary
Lothrop magnet School
Marion high school
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
Midtown Crossing
Millard library
Millard West high school
Miller Park elementary
Minne Lusa elementary
Monro Meyer
Montclair elementary
Montessori School
Morley elementary
Mount View elementary
National Association of translators and interpreters
Nebraska Methodist college
Nebraska storytelling festival
Nebraska storytelling festival
Neihart School
Norris Middle School
Oakdale elementary
Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha playhouse
Omha Children’s museum
Orpheum theatre
Prairie Wind elementary
Quality living
Rose Hill elementary
Ruth Hill elementary
Sacred Heart Church
Saratoga elementary
Sienn/ Francis House
Skinner magnet School
South high school
South Omaha library
Spring Lake elementary
St. Cecilia cathedral
St. James catholic church
St. Margaret Mary School
St. Peter and Paul School
St. Thomas Moore School
Strawberry Fields
Sump memorial library
Swanson library
Ted E. Bear Hollow
Unitarian Church
Unity Church
Unity Church
Universal college of healing arts
University of Nebraska med Center
Uta Halee-Cooper Village
Walnut Grove Retirement Community
Washington library
Western Hills
Westmont elementary
Willa Cather Elementary
Willowdale elementary
Yates school
Zion Lutheran Church


Ainsworth Elementary Ainsworth
Arbor Lodge Nebraska City
Arlington elementary Arlington
Arts are Basic Lincoln
Atkinson elementary Atkinson
Atkinson-Stewart Arts Council Atkinson
Beattie elementary Lincoln
Bennett Martin Library Lincoln
Bennington elementary Bennington
Broken bow School Broken Bow
Calvert elementary Lincoln
Celebrate Wood River Wood River
Cherry County schools Cherry County
Clinton elementary School Lincoln
Columbus public Schools Columbus
Crete Public Library Crete
Culler middle school Lincoln
Dana college Blair
Dawes Elementary School Lincoln
Doane College Lincoln
Dodge elementary Grand Island
Eiseley Library Lincoln
Elliott elementary Lincoln
First Lutheran Church Lincoln
First Plymouth Congregational Church Lincoln
First Plymouth preschool Lincoln
Friend public Schools Friend
Geneva public Schools Geneva
Gere Library Lincoln
Goodrich elementary Lincoln
Grace Lutheran Church Lincoln
Grand Island public Schools Grand Island
Grant elementary Fremont
Hartington elementary school Lincoln
Hebron elementary Hebron
Hillrise elementary Elkhorn
Holmes elementary Lincoln
Human elementary Lincoln
Huntington elementary school Lincoln
Keene Memorial Library Fremont
Lakeview elementary Lincoln
Lincoln elementary Beatrice
Lincoln North Star high school Lincoln
Lincoln Unitarian Church Lincoln
Lux middle School Lincoln
McCook elementary McCook
McPhee elementary Lincoln
Meadowlark elementary Kearney
Merryman Performing Arts Center Kearney
Mickle elementary School Lincoln
Nebraska Lutheran outdoor ministries Ashland
Norfolk arts Center Norfolk
Plattsmouth middle School Plattsmouth
Pound middle School Lincoln
Red Cloud Opera House Red Cloud
Resurrection evangelical Lutheran church Gretna
Rialto Theatre Fairmont
Rousseau Elementary Lincoln
Sandoz elementary school Lincoln
Scottsbluff public schools Scottsbluff
Sheldon Art Museum Lincoln
Southwest high school Lincoln
Southwood Lutheran Church Lincoln
St Peters School Lincoln
St.Boniface elementary Elgin
Stoddard elementary Beatrice
Thayer Central elementary Hebron
The Old School House Avoca
Trinity early childhood Center Fremont
United Presbyterian church Pawnee
Valentine public Schools Valentine
Walt Library Lincoln
West Lincoln elementary Lincoln
Wilber Public Schools Wilber
Wood River public Schools Wood River
World day on the mall Lincoln


Bismarck State college Bismarck South Dakota
Bismark State college Bismarck North Dakota
Bloomer elementary Council Bluffs Iowa
Boone Schools Boone Iowa
Cedar Falls public library Cedar Falls Iowa
Council Bluffs Public Library Council Bluffs Iowa
First Night Council Bluffs Iowa
Jackson public Schools Jackson Wyoming
Learn 2 Live Green Plano Texas
McAuliffe Eelementary Highland Village Texas
Northpark elementary RockSprings Wyoming
Overland Rocksprings Wyoming
Sabetha public Schools Sabetha Kansas
Sharon Springs schools Sharon Springs Kansas
Sioux Falls Arena Sioux Falls South Dakota
Teton wellness festival Jackson Wyoming
VODEC Council Bluffs Iowa
Western Wyoming Community college Rock Springs Wyoming


JFC Air Force Base Naples Italy
Rome catholic churches Rome Italy
Siena catholic churches Siena Italy