Performance & Teaching

Drums of the World

Performed by International touring artist Michael Fitzsimmons

DrumsOfWorldLG

My Drums of the World concerts are comprised of all original compositions and arrangements.

Featuring the unique and intriguing instruments from Switzerland called Hang – reminiscent of the steel drums of Trinidad. I incorporate the Hang’s beautiful, other worldly sounds with over 30 years’ experience as a composer and performer.

This multicultural concert is a showcase for an exciting variety of drums from Cuba, West Africa, Central and South America; flutes from Brazil, China and Native America; pan pipes from Bolivia; and kalimbas from South Africa. I weave variety into my performances through improvisational works using a loop station. These multilayered songs unfold before your eyes and between your ears.

Concert options include a 90-minute concert with intermission or a 50-minute concert with audience participation, followed by interactive drumming. (My drum circles are a “hit” with young and old alike!) Concerts are often combined with workshops and residency programs.

Age Range – Suitable for all audiences; can be tailored to meet specific needs
Non Profit Organizations – Grand Funding may be available – find out more

Live concert – Omaha Healing Arts Center, Omaha, NE Photo:  Sandy Aquila

Live concert – Omaha Healing Arts Center, Omaha, NE Photo: Sandy Aquila

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

“I met with my colleagues yesterday and as we discussed plans for the year, we all agreed that your performance affected us in a profound way. Two of us felt resolution and release in regards to some powerful emotions. We will be asking you back. Thank you.”
Mo McAndrews, Hospice Volunteer Appreciation, Omaha, NE

“I have taught for over 30 years and yours was the best performance I’ve seen in my time here. The kids were mesmerized, as was I. Thank you so much for a very enjoyable afternoon.”
Karen, Teacher, Rock Springs, Wyoming“Hey Michael! It was a treat to see you perform in front of several hundred young folks this morning. It is clear they were all in awe of the spirit in which you guided them along introducing them to many of the instruments you demonstrated and played. It is also clear you are a master musician and a good soul.”
Ward Peters, Omaha, NE

“I really enjoyed your music during the weekend intensive we just had! You have opened my ears to a new and inspiring way to listen. Thank You so very much!”
Tracy King, Student, Universal College of Healing Arts

“I am a student teacher at West Lincoln Elementary and was at the assembly where you played a variety of your instruments. I just wanted to say thank you because the kindergarten students I am with were very excited to be part of the assembly. They enjoyed your music and I saw several tap their hands to the beat!”
Kristine, Teacher, West Lincoln Elementary, Lincoln, NE

“I had so much fun today when you came to the school. It was a blast!!! I never knew that I had all of that in me. Thank you so much for everything…It was amazing!!!”
Roy Paden, Universal College of Healing Arts

“We so enjoyed your performance today at St. Boniface. Thank you for working with our students. We were amazed at how well they all stayed together! You’re very talented.”
Lindy, Teacher, St. Boniface Elementary, Elgin, NE

“I felt very honored by your performance at UCHA today. You are like the Bernie Siegel of rhythm. Namaste.”
Shirley, Student, Universal College of Healing Arts

“I saw you perform this afternoon at Camp Munroe and I was blown away by your performance. Thanks for making such a difference to the campers!”
Nate Hall, Omaha, NE

Mr. Fitzsimmons, we saw you Sunday at the Joslyn and enjoyed all that you shared. You are SO TALENTED! Thank you! I look forward to seeing and hearing you again!”
Jennifer Borelli, A is for Art Preschool

“I really am glad that Paulette was able to get you to come to UCHA because it was a wonderful experience for me as an artist but also as a massage therapist.”
Cassie Bachman, Student, Universal College of Healing Arts, Omaha, NE

“You make and create miracles with your music!!!”
Julie Hoffman

“We really enjoyed your performance and the interactive time in the courtyard. The grandkids really got into it. Thanks! Wishing you continued success in all that you do.”
Ken & Linda Johnson, Participant at Holland Center for the Arts, Omaha, NE

I am including some comments from students. Young people don’t often take the time to express their appreciation. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Hi! I am 12 yrs. old, and today you came to my middle school and played for our anti-bullying assembly. You were SO good! My favorite part was the Hang drums. They sound SO COOL!! You are very talented!! Thank you so much for visiting our school!”
Darcy, Student, Sabetha, Kansas

“You played at Dodge school! It was really fun!!! Thank you for preforming for us! It was the best time of my life.”
Kaylea, Student, Dodge Elementary, Omaha, NE

“I love your music – it’s the best. Make more music.”
Cole, Student Participant

“Dear, Michael Thank you for visiting us at the South Omaha Public library. I love your Music and my mom loves your music too. I hope that I meet you again.”
Enrique, Student Participant

Find out how to bring Michael to your Location

Improv Studio Performance

Improv Studio

Performed by International touring artist Michael Fitzsimmons; may include guest performers

My Improv Studio performance is filled with improvisational compositions. Generated ‘on the spot’, no two are remotely alike. I start with a base rhythm generated from a variety of instruments, then build layer upon layer using a loop station. The loop system allows me to vary the length of any of the tracks. Sometimes this includes audience participation. I really enjoy developing music in a way that allows the audience to experience the creative process.

Guest performers often join me, depending on availability. In the past, I have included cello, sax, flute and woodwind artists. If you are a performing artist, and want to know more about how to join me, contact me here

Performance options include a 90-minute session with intermission, or a 50-minute session. This may be combined with workshops and residency programs.

Age Range – Suitable for all audiences; can be tailored to meet specific needs
Non Profit Organizations – Grand Funding may be available – find out more

Trio Performing - Kaneko I enjoyed watching the musical and intuitive chemistry your trio had enormously last night. It was a pleasure being part of an audience that was brought into the music making in so many great ways.
Hal France, KANEKO, Omaha, NE

God bless you, brother! Wish I could be in Omaha for the next show. This music is beautiful! Blessings,
Omprakash Connor

Find out how to bring Michael to your Location

House Performance

In The House 2

House Performances are so much fun! Whether it is a special birthday celebration, anniversary, neighborhood picnic, holiday event, or just friends deciding to get together to do something different, my House Performances are always talked about long after they are done. Combining a mini performance and interactive drumming, people come together in a new and refreshing way. We celebrate, we appreciate, and well, dang it – we just have FUN!

Age Range – Suitable for all audiences; can be tailored to meet specific needs

3 HangWe thoroughly enjoyed Michael’s concert at our house, and our guests did too!  His music provided just the right backdrop for a festive celebration of family and friends. We recommend his concerts to everyone who is looking for a novel, engaging evening at his/her home.
Tom & Evelyn McKnight, Fremont, NE

Thanks for a wonderful evening drumming. It was the perfect activity for a home party. Everyone was engaged and joyful. The rhythm speaks to the soul, and unites all in attendance.
Janis Opperman, Omaha, NE

Find out how to bring Michael to your Location

Drum Circle

Drum Circle Black

I really love how drumming brings people of all walks of life and experiences together. For years a good buddy of mine sponsored me, during the change of each season, to lead drum circles at his farm. Friends old and new joined in, bringing drums or using the drums I made available. We gathered under the stars around a fire, and drummed for a few hours. Each drum circle developed its own rhythmic personality. People often express having a spiritual experience during a drum circle. Whether on the ocean beach, forested grove, lakeside, riverside, park, backyard or living room, the drum circle experience is one that is never forgotten. I have personally enjoyed all these venues! Bring a few friends together and have a blast!

Drum Circle

Age Range – Suitable for all audiences; can be tailored to meet specific needs

I had so much fun today when you came to the school. It was a blast!!! I never knew that I had all of that in me. Thank you so much for everything…It was amazing!!!
Roy Paden, Student, Universal College of Healing Arts, Omaha, NE

“Hello Michael, I really enjoyed your performance Thursday evening at Doane Lincoln. Thanks for taking the time to educate our classes. The drum circle was such a great experience. Thanks again.
Megan, Student, Doane College

My son just attended camp with you & he loved it. I’m enjoying the sound of the drum beating thru my house!
Krista, Parent of Participant

I enjoyed your drumming so much when you were here at Bryan Community Hospital in Lincoln. I have since purchased a drum and took lessons for 6 months. Once in a while I go to a drum circle. I’m glad to know you have CD’s.
Carol

Thank you so much for coming to Doane Lincoln campus Thursday night. I so enjoyed listening and watching you play. When you play you become one with your music. It was a joy to see that. Thank you for helping us make our drums. I am looking forward to the remainder of Kit’s class and playing in the drum circle. Thank you again. It truly was a wonderful experience last night.
Terri Knoell, Student, Doane College

Find out how to bring Michael to your Location

MJF Teaching ArtistMy teaching programs are tailored to meet the objectives and skillsets of the group. Here are some themes to explore:

Innovation and Creativity

Exploring Rhythms

Make Your Instruments

Living Green

– Creating Music From Objects in Your Environment

Composition

– Building Layers of Interest

Multi-Cultural Diversity

Anti-Bullying

Strengthen Community

Intergenerational Fun

Birthday, Anniversary, Celebration

Workshops:

My workshops align with a number of musical and educational learning objectives. Once I understand these objectives, I make sure they are emphasized throughout the workshops. Please be sure to let me know what your specific focus is. If you are looking for a general workshop, with no special emphasis, that’s OK too. We’ll work together to bring your group a fantastic experience.

Music and Educational Elements: Rhythm, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, Form, Structure, Expression, Personal empowerment, Cultural awareness/appreciation, Bio-diversity

Tailored for groups K-12; college

Drums and Rhythm Workshop

Drums and Rhythm

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I start this class with a mini-performance using a variety of percussion instruments and drums from around the world. During this workshop, participants gain an understanding of how instruments are made, how different tones/notes are generated, origins of the instruments and how different instruments can create a musical mood.The participants learn and perform various rhythms, explore improvisation while interacting with others, perform in lead and solo roles, develop personal expression of rhythms, and perform as a group in a multi-part rhythm.
Students have the opportunity to have ‘hands on’ exploration of a variety of percussion instruments from around the world.

I provide drums for participants to use. This workshop can be combined with Make Your Instruments workshop and Living Green workshop.

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Drumming with Dads II
Group Workshop
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Make Your Instruments Workshop

DIY Final

I offer three percussion instruments to make. This workshop enables participants with hands on experience in making and decorating their own instruments. The students learn about the construction of the instruments, and how different variables affect the sound produced. By creating instruments from easily accessible materials, the imagination is sparked, and additional learning opportunities can follow in the classroom after the workshop.This workshop can be combined with the Drum and Rhythm workshop and the Living Green workshop.

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Kalimba
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Quotes:
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

Living Green Workshop

recycled-materialCulturally, many instruments have their origins from materials in the environment, even discarded materials. The Living Green workshop focuses on the cultural history of many wonderful instruments to ignite the imagination and spark creativity. I present a variety of examples from our everyday world to demonstrate just how creative our minds can be once we start looking and seeing things in a new way. Participants explore their own environment to discover sounds and create instruments uniquely their own. Weather permitting, this can include outdoors exploration to find sounds from nature. This workshop can be combined with the Drum and Rhythm workshop and the Make Your Instruments workshop.

Anti-Bullying Workshop

anti bullyingMusic has been recognized world wide as a way to break down barriers. This workshop does just that. Using phrases of inclusivity and empowerment, we add rhythm to the phrases. I then blend these rhythmic phrases into a multi-part rhythm. The students learn to play in unison, and incorporate silent pauses. During these silent pauses, each student performs a solo, then re-joins the group. This workshop focuses on increasing awareness of the unique value each of us brings to a group, as well as the joy of being part of a group. This workshop can be combined with the Drum and Rhythm workshop and the Make Your Instruments workshop.

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Composing and Building Layers of Interest Workshop

Layering RhythmsThis workshop teaches basic elements of composition. Participants learn how to create an interesting beginning, middle and end of a composition using a variety of rhythms and percussion instruments. They will work in small groups to create a short rhythmic piece and perform it for the group. This workshop can be combined with the Drum and Rhythm workshop and the Make Your Instruments workshop. Many Drums

Contact me to discuss your workshop objectives and pricing.

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Residency

I provide a variety of residencies which includes my Drums of the World concert. This may be an all school assembly, interactive drumming using a variety of rhythms, sections of the Drums and Rhythm workshop and other workshops. At the end of the residency, focus groups often perform with me, demonstrating their new skills. I will customize a residency to meet your specific objectives.

Assembly Beatrice Daily Sun - Photo by Gabrielle Lazaro 4  2-2015

Please contact me for more information.