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DeKalb Fundraiser will support local organizations

Gregory Beyer holding the berimbau instrument during Zoom interview.
Screenshot via Zoom - Yvonne Boose
Gregory Beyer holding the berimbau instrument during Zoom interview.

A northern Illinois music group’s concert will help some DeKalb organizations.

The Transformation through Rhythm concerts have taken place for almost a decade. Gregory Beyer is the director of percussion studies at Northern Illinois University and the artistic director of Arcomusical. A nonprofit aimed to introduce people to an instrument called the berimbau.

“And what's fun for us as percussionists is that it's a percussive stringed instrument,” Beyer said. “So, when one plays a berimbau, yes, the string is vibrating, but it's vibrating as a result of playing it with a stick.”

He said the idea for the concerts came from a local music therapist.

“Jen Conley’s original idea was to bring percussion music together," said Beyer, "because the drum circle, which is a really common activity for music therapists who are working in hospice care, is a very effective tool to engage people who otherwise can't engage musically.”

Beyer said Conley worked for DeKalb County Hospice and there was a hospice in African that served as a sister hospice to the one in DeKalb.

“Her idea," he explained, "was to start a fundraising event here in town that would raise and that would generate funds to send to the sister hospice for their various needs and that kind of thing, their operating costs in in South Africa.”

He said this was done through 2019 and then the pandemic happened. Last year, the concerts were resurrected but instead of the fundraising focus being on the African hospice, it changed to a local focus. The proceeds now go to the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership and its Give DeKalb County Bonus Pool.

The musical group will be joined by the Harambee Ensemble, the DeKalb High School Percussion Ensemble and the Northern Illinois University Percussion studio.

The Transformation Through Rhythm fundraising concert will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at DeKalb High School. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.