I would like to thank the following amazing people who have been an integral part of my rhythmic and life path. If it weren't for these gifted and wonderful
friends affecting me in some way, I would not be the person I am today, and for that, I am humbly grateful.
Mr. John Hartzell, for being an
incredible percussion instructor, expecting as much from a 9-year-old girl as
you did the boys. Thanks for having the confidence to place me in the snare line my freshman year, and for your gentle but strong guidance in pushing me to my best abilities. Those were life lessons.
And, thank you for your awesome and original marching scores, and as band director, taking us to win the MBA Eastern U.S. Regional Championships! Don't forget the pitchfork!
My parents, Bob
and Marlene Finch, for never complaining about all that driving to get me to every practice, concert, and
competition, plus all my other activities.
Mr. Robert Jarvis, for being one of the greatest band directors in all the land, and drilling us hard and expecting nothing less than excellence. For that effort,
our little "farmers' school" marching band received First Places and Grand Champions in competitions across the
Eastern and Central U.S, putting McGuffey High School and
Claysville, Pa., on the map. We were the best because YOU were the best! Your teachings have gone far beyond the marching field and continue to show up in many aspects of my life.
Clifford Amos, Jeffrey Stoner, and Scott Harrington, for being my best friends and drum buddies in high school. Remember how we kept our drumsticks in our back pockets all the time? On the ready to play, all the time….
Paul Gemme, as my first hand-drumming instructor, and planting that fateful first inspiration that has led me down my hand drumming path that has forever changed my life! You are a great friend and maker of beautiful drums.
Bob Bloom for teaching me
your impeccable djembe playing style, passing on the teachings of Babatunde Olatunji, and for the camaraderie of Drum Ride, Bloomfield Drum Festival, and other joint ventures,
your friendship, mentorship, and your endless supply of puns!
Layne Redmond, for your amazing teachings of the deeper, universal, elemental, and historical aspects of drumming, and honoring women's historical role as rhythmic leaders. For being such an inspiration for making a major life change "later" in life, and for teaching me many personal and spiritual virtues (like simple, intentional living.) For guiding me through my personal block of not being able to speak and drum at the same time! For inviting me to share the stage with you in the Spring Equinox celebration honoring the birth and renewal time of the spring season, during which I was pregnant with my daughter. And for the beautiful and honored gift of a linen dress from your infancy for my newborn. I am forever grateful for your amazing teachings and all that you've shared.
Morwen and Jimi Two Feathers, of Earth Drum Council, for your guidance as I explored my spiritual connections to drumming, and to Morwen for your ongoing friendship and support.
Babatunde Olatunji, the father of the hand drumming movement in the United States, who has now journeyed on into the spirit world. We are all forever grateful for your “Drum, Dance, and Pray for Peace” influence. You have the softest hands of any human being on this planet – which demonstrates to me that when you play love, you feel love, you are love.
Randy Crafton, for your calm and patient teaching approach that continued me forward in my frame drum studies, and for expanding my awareness of the mathematical and geometric functions of rhythm in all things. By the way, your recording "Inner Rhythms" is much better than Lamaze!
Read the liner notes from Randy's "Inner Rhythms" CD
here, containing Randy's view of relationships between
vibration, energy forces, and rhythm.
Barry Bernstein, for your playshops and Unity With A Beat teachings of the wellness applications of drumming within and beyond the community drum circle. You are a true pioneer, having blazed the path in the drumming-for-wellness movement.
May your spirit live on in rhythm forever.
Read the liner notes from Barry's "Spirals: Unwinding For
Vitality And Health" CD here, containing Barry's view on
rhythm and healing.
Christina Boiano, beacon of light, best friend, and soul sister. I can't put into words how deeply you have affected my life. As a gifted healer, stage-mate, and friend, your presence in my life has been a gift beyond compare. We've shared many wonderful projects and grown together – as students, performers, and workshop leaders. We are now separated by distance, but you are with me every day in spirit!
Glen Velez, for paving and leading the path of frame drumming in the United States, and being an incredible teacher and inspiration. Your patient guidance as I struggled through the initial stages of Handance – stepping, playing, and speaking rhythmic language at the same time – allowed me to finally get there! Thank you for the opportunity to share the stage with you in concert and honoring Liberty Grace.
Reinhard and Cornelia Flatischler
for guiding me through some of the most incredible rhythmic experiences I have ever had, which have led to divine transformations.
Judy Taylor, Joyce Teed, Craig Norton, Ruth Tracy, and Michael Harris, my best buddies in the Connecticut drumming community. Remember our first circles together ten years ago, and how amazing it is that we are all still connected by the drum through all these years.
Imani King , founder of Weaving the Wisdom in Hartford, and dear friend. You are a visionary leader and inspiration! Thank you for being a model of intentional and conscious living.
Joa Agnello, for your friendship, healing work, grace, and inspiration.
Jonathan Edwards, for the most amazing jams aboard the Yankee Clipper
Barefoot Cruise in the Grenadine Islands in the beautiful
Carribbean Sea. Thanks for inviting me to share the stage with you in concert a few times for some incredible music-making. It's been fun!
Listen to Jonathan and Toni play "Shanty!"
Listen to Jonathan drum with Toni
Christine Stevens, for your wonderful energy, enthusiasm, and support, and of course your ground-breaking research and development of the HealthRhythms™ protocol and training. Your light shines throughout the world.
Tahya, for your inspirational beauty and daringness to follow your bliss. It is interesting how our paths have crossed so many times on the rhythm path, and how that has led to a wonderful friendship of sharing support.
Pastor Susan Hyland, for your vision, friendship, and enthusiasm for hosting the first “Community Drum Circle” one month after I moved to Southeast Ohio. We have shared some wonderful projects. May our creative endeavors continue!
and Jonett Haberfield, for your ongoing support
of my work in the Cambridge (OH) community, and for your
never-ending enthusiasm, vision, and friendship.
Andy Hall, Molly
Watson, Andy McVey, Ali Pearce, and Matt Smith, members of Groove Project. Thank you for inviting me to join GP on that fateful day we first met! Since then, my life has been deeply enriched with great friendships, creative endeavors, and good drumming!
DCF (Drum Circle Facilitator) community of friends,
for sharing your spirit, knowledge, and good times! The list is
a full and continuous circle, and impossible to
"list." If we have shared a smile, you are one of them
– thank you!
for sharing your knowledge and passion of integrated music and
arts education, facilitation, and Drum Circle Music path. Oh,
and the thoughtful discussions about fractals, quantum physics, what makes us
tick, and a refined taste for Patron.
John Fitzgerald at
for inviting me to be a Remo Endorsed Drum Circle Facilitator,
and being the coolest corporate guy I know.
for your professional and personal friendship, inspiration,
support, and long but enjoyable conference calls. You are both
Check out this amazing resource documenting the hand
drumming world and more! Launched by Eric in 1996, it is
incredibly full of information and links -- one of the most
comprehensive drumming sites on the World Wide Web. Many thanks
to Eric for devoting such love and energy to this site for more
than 10 years! And may his spirit live on in our rhythm.
and Twenty Thousand Drums
in South Africa. Your visionary work is truly an inspiration for
Greene, a.k.a. "Shakerman," for
being my best buddy. TAG -- You're IT!
Cogliandro, for your beautiful spirit, excellent
craftsmanship, and always making me feel so grounded.
The Reverend Susan Lehosky,
for your deep friendship and always being game for a
rhythm-experience road trip!
Steve Kellar, my husband, for your solid and continual support of everything I do. Thanks for holding down the home front and being my number one roadie!
You are my rock. I love you. Thank you from all my heart.