The Little Girl and the Drums

I have spoken about the desire and mission of Sherwood being the development of a sense of tribe or community.  It is a core value of our business and our souls.  The transmission of traditions, values, mores, and rituals from generation to generation is paramount for Sherwood to be enduring.  The time since we closed the faire this year and today has intensified my feelings of this matter…as I have found myself wondering why we are not all together on an ongoing basis if we truly enjoy each other’s company and the extended family we are creating.  I have actually found myself sometimes floundering in my 8-5 job of late without the escape come friday evening when I would otherwise be traveling Highway 21 to find myself amidst your love and comradre.

Enclosed is a beautiful articulation of the hope we have for Sherwood as an enduring and passionate expression of family…from one of our very own fairies regarding an experience her daughter had within the magic of Sherwood.

Read, enjoy, know that Sherwood is yours.  Embrace the vision.  Bring your best to Sherwood!

Love and respect (and see you in July at the next Gathering),



The Little Girl and the Drums

Faire has always given me a sense of “coming home” – a sense which is renewed each and every time I set foot upon those familiar, hallowed grounds, surrounded by a family made up of friends with open arms ready to welcome me back to where I belong. To welcome me back home.


This year I was able to share that experience with my daughter, Cayley. She fell in love with faire, with Sherwood Forest, the second she walked through those gates on the way to the Greenwood Stage for rehearsals. I recognized the expression that came over her face — the awe, the sheer wonder of it all, and that sense that there was something truly magical lingering beneath those giant trees.


That same expression returned one Saturday night in January, the weekend that was to be the final gathering before Sherwood opened its gates to the public for its second season. This time, however, it was coupled with a gleam in her eyes and a flush on her cheeks. There were drummers at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem that night, and she was positively mesmerized by the music they made, by the way their hands moved over their instruments.


Cayley never moved far from that stage, eventually finding enough courage to actually go and sit by those men and women she presently revered, drumming with fingers on her thighs in some effort to replicate the rhythms. When one of the drummers put his drum in her hands and another sat next to her and taught her some basics — and continued to offer pointers throughout the evening — I knew she was hooked. I had never seen her as happy as I had that night. Her smile was a permanent fixture, and I of course, was telling everyone I knew — or anyone I didn’t know, but was within earshot — that that was my baby up there, with a similar expression. She played for hours and was still tapping out beats in the car on the drive home. Imagine her disappointment then when she learned that the drummers weren’t going to be at the pub every single Saturday night from there on out.


Those familiar tribal beats would lead us to the Seven Sisters the following weekend, however, to linger around the fire, to soak up the sounds, to watch people moved to dance to the rhythm of those drums. It was there that she sat as if she were entranced, eyes fixed on the drummers, and said that she had to have a drum in a voice that wasn’t much more than a whisper. I’m still not sure if those words were meant to be heard by me, or if they were some sort of wish whispered to the trees or to the magic weaving its way through that circle of stones — it was heard all the same. There was no demanding in those words, no pleading. Instead, there was an undercurrent of something that I can only describe as pure need.


It was only right, then, that Cayley be presented with the drum in that same circle where she’d hoped for it. She wouldn’t be contented with standing on the edge of the crowds gathered around the Seven Sisters to watch the drummers at the close of the day, nor would she be happy with dancing in the sand along with other members of the faery group. She made her way to the other side where the drummers sat playing, watching them yet again with wide eyes. I remember grinning to myself because she had no idea that she was standing less than ten feet away from a drum of her own — it was sitting in its case on the end of the bench, hidden from the world.


I was watching her when one of the drummers stood up after a song had ended to announce that they had something that they wanted to present to a very special faery on behalf of her mom. Those hazel eyes of hers got wider and her head snapped in my direction, just long enough to see the small smile on my face. Judging by the way she was glancing around, I don’t think she fully realized that that was her drum being pulled out of that case on the bench, at least not until he’d placed it within her arms. I thought she’d be beaming, but that didn’t come until later. Cayley clung to that drum. Embraced it as if it were some long-lost piece of her returned and wept.


A few minutes later, with a big hug from mom and a kiss, her drum strap adjusted carefully over her shoulder and through her wings, she went and sat on the bench with the drummers and begin to play. I don’t think she stopped crying until just before the crowds began to march towards the front gate for the fire show. She didn’t stop playing until we were back at camp and it was time for bed. And even then, I think she stared at that drum for half the night before sleep finally overtook her.


There hasn’t been an opportunity missed to play it since, whether at Sherwood or at home. The neighbors in suburbia here south of Austin don’t seem to mind the near-constant thrum of that doumbek either. And “Gypsy”, as she has been christened, has made numerous trips to the 6th grade Band Hall as well, where Cayley plays percussion in beginner band.


She’s been asked to play a solo at her band concert next week.


My whole-hearted thanks to everyone who shared their time, their knowledge, and their passion for music with my daughter during this, her first year at Sherwood. We are truly blessed to be a part of this growing family and this magical world.


Much love to you and yours.

Tara Koonce
Sherwood Forest Faire Cast Member


Category : All Posts & Rengypsy's Blog

2 Comments → “The Little Girl and the Drums”

  1. Barry son of Watt
    7 years ago

    A great letter! The kind of magic that Sherwood offers to all. It was a joy to read.

  2. Pyromaster
    7 years ago

    The people are the magic of Sherwood. Where they gather, magical things happen.

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