Laughter and Music at the Core of Drum Aerobics

Resident and volunteer come together to lead new program

By Kristian Partington

Take an outgoing resident at the Village of Wentworth Heights who loves laughter and has a penchant for music – drums in particular – and mix him with an energetic volunteer who also loves music, and you might just end up with a new program to benefit many.  

Two volunteers and a resident sitting and raising drumsticks over their heads
Angela Mutoigo (left) and Ken Bohill (right) devloped the Wentworth
Heights drumming aerobics program, bringing laughter and music together weekly.

This is how the village’s Druming Aerobics program came to be and now, the beat of drumsticks pounding on huge coloured yoga balls echoes through the village every Wednesday morning, mixing with the inevitable sound of laughter.

“Music is enjoyment,” says volunteer Angela Mutoigo, who helped develop the program alongside resident Ken Bohill. “Seeing them laugh and seeing them enjoy themselves, that just makes me happy.”

The minute she began volunteering at the village in September, 2013, she and Ken bonded over their mutual appreciation for music, running regular karaoke sessions together, sometimes with no one else to hear them sing but each other. After volunteer coordinator Candice Follest was introduced to the concept of drumming for fitness at last year’s recreation education conference, it seemed only logical that Ken and Angela develop it together.

“They just loved the idea so the two of them, throughout the fall, put together a song list,” Candice says. “Ken taught Angela some different drumming techniques and we just went from there.”

Both Candice and Angela use the word “engaging” to describe the program, bringing a consistent group together every week. The laughter is one of the great benefits, Angela says, with the rewards of exercise a close second. Residents are working their arms and getting their blood moving in the morning, setting the mood for the rest of the day.

“Doing stuff that you enjoy, especially exercise, is always beneficial,” Angela says.

For Candice, one of the sure signs of success is when residents who tend to be less engaged in regular physical activities take up the drumsticks and participate. “Music is the universal language for everybody,” she says. “It’s just an exciting program and I think it’s the music that brings them in and gets them interested.”

The enthusiasm that both Ken and Angela bring to the village every Wednesday certainly helps to boost the engagement, she adds, and it’s inspiring to see a resident and volunteer come together to offer themselves up for those around them.