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Jewel Hopson

Jewel Hopson has always been enthralled with drums. When she was young her favorite book was about an African man named Drum. She has collected pictures of drums, has been compelled to tap out rhythms on objects around her and even named a cat, Drum. Despite her attraction to this percussive instrument, she had never played a drum, until 16 years ago. At the age of 65, Jewel’s life was transformed when she joined, ConunDrums, a women’s drumming group in Atlanta.

Jewel Hopson has always been enthralled with drums. When she was young her favorite book was about an African man named Drum. She has collected pictures of drums, has been compelled to tap out rhythms on objects around her and even named a cat, Drum. Despite her attraction to this percussive instrument, she had never played a drum, until 16 years ago. At the age of 65, Jewel’s life was transformed when she joined, ConunDrums, a women’s drumming group in Atlanta.“I never thought about playing drums. I just had this fascination with them. At this time I was very lonely because I worked at home and I was by myself all the time. I was trying to find something to do outside my home but nothing was satisfying me.”

When Jewels’ daughter met Amy, the musical director of ConunDrums, she immediately called her mother. Jewel contacted Amy who invited her to their Wednesday night practice.

“I didn’t know anything about playing drums. The first thing Amy told me was that I had to cut my nails. I loved my nails. But I cut them off immediately and I never thought about it again. I was just thrilled about playing the drums. It was the most gratifying thing that I had experienced. That became my outlet and my connection. The friendships were everything.”

In December of 2017, Jewel suffered a heart attack. Although she made a full recovery she decided to take life at a slower pace. At 81-years-old, Jewel retired from the Conundrums. But, like the curved edges of a drum skin, Jewel has come full circle. She co-teaches a drum therapy class in the senior high-rise apartment where she lives. Jewel is giving back to her community that sense of purpose and belonging that she experienced with the ConunDrums.

At times, Jewel is fearful of having another heart attack or dying, but she reminds herself not to dwell on that. She lives by her motto.

“Live your life today, because today you’re alive and that’s the most important thing. There’s nothing you can do to stop tomorrow from happening. So stay in the day, stay in the moment. Be happy. That’s really the way I live.”

 

 

 

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