By Sharon Still

The steady rhythm of drum beats echoes through the air as the sun sets every Sunday night at Little Harbor.

More than 200 people gather while a group of about 25 area residents bring drums of all shapes and sizes and keep the beat going. It all starts around 7 p.m., one hour before sunset. Good parking spaces fill up quick.

Sunset Grill Manager Jurgen Wochnik came up with the idea for a drum circle after discovering there were no drum circles in the area, the closest one being in Siesta Key. He said, “Being a drummer since I was 11-years-old, it seemed like a perfect fit since I was running Sunset Grill and we have beautiful sunsets out here.”

The term “Drum Circle” originated in the United State during the late 1960s and early 1970s for any group of people, particularly counterculture groups, who gather informally to play music together.

In 1991, during testimony before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart stated, “The main objective (of a drum circle) is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves to form a group consciousness.”

Wochnik said, “It is a way of bringing people together in harmony, spiritual healing and fun for young and old. Everybody can join. As long as you have a heartbeat you can play a drum.”

While the drumming goes on, people get up and dance and in mid-May, Riverview resident Melissa Schwartz joined the festivities, entertaining the crowd with her hula hooping skills.

“I’ll be back every week if I can,” she said.

Along with the drum circle, there is a bar serving drinks and a grill cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers for participants and spectators.

Sunset Grill at Little Harbor is located at 611 Destiny Dr. in Ruskin. Call 645-7739 or visit for more information.

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