How to prepare for DRUMSTRONG’s 12-hour drum circle

In 1997, my then boyfriend, (now husband) Ryan and I went for a celebratory drink at Fat City in Historic North Charlotte. We had just signed a contract on a dilapidated 80-year-old home on 37th Street. I don’t remember the details, but somehow we met Scott Swimmer that evening over hummus and muffaletta. That serendipitous meeting connected us to Swimmer and his strong and inspiring family.

Photo 2 Credit Jeff Sochko
Harry, Marilyn, Scott, Toby and Carola Swimmer, Grace Lotrecchiano and Mason Swimmer

In 2004, Swimmer’s oldest son, Mason was diagnosed with bone cancer at 15 years old. Mason fought the disease and has been cancer-free for more than 11 years. Not surprisingly, the Swimmer family was forever changed by the experience and started DrumsForCures, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in 2007.

DrumsForCures’ mission is to raise awareness and funds for cancer initiatives. On May 21, their annual festival, DRUMSTRONG, will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. At the heart of this event, is a 12-hour non-stop drum circle.

Swimmer said, “Banging on something, setting vibrations in motion and doing this for the past 10 years with thousands of people globally focusing their rhythm full of upbeat intention results in an extremely positive outcome.”

Photo 3 Credit Jeff Sochko

The experience is deeply personal for Mason, now 27 years old.

He said, “My encounter with cancer and the resulting positivity that came from such a seemingly negative experience has inspired me to use music as a powerful and righteous vehicle for good. It propelled me into a career as a music therapist.”

Photo 4 Credit DrumsForCures

Photo 5 Credit DrumsForCures


– Saturday, May 21

– 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 12 hours of non-stop drumming

– Misty Meadows Farms, 453 Providence Road South and Ennis Road, Weddington, NC 28173

– Rain or shine

– Admission online or onsite: $25 individual, $50 family with children under 12 years of age

Photo 6 Credit Jeff Sochko


– Gates open at 8:30 a.m.

– 9:45 a.m. Opening Ceremony

– 10 a.m. Drum Circle to beat cancer kick-off

– 11:45 a.m.-10 p.m. Featured bands like The Kruger Brothers, Jeff Sipe Trio, the Get Right Band and Of Good Nature

– 4:15 p.m. Hair-cutting ceremony for hair donation to Children with Hair Loss (Rumor has it that Scott and Toby Swimmer are cutting their hair.)

– 10 p.m. Drum Circle Finale

What to Expect

– Health expo, food vendors, drums, souvenirs and art for sale

– Tai Chi, massage and percussion instruction

– 12-hour YogaThon

– Professional drummers

Photo 7 Credit Jeff Sochko

Do good

– Volunteers needed now to distribute posters and flyers around Charlotte and surrounding areas.

– Volunteer three hours during the DRUMSTRONG event and get free admission.

– Form a team of drummers and ask people to sponsor you.

For more information on volunteering, email

Photos: Jeff Sochko, DrumsForCures