LETTER- Drumming is key communication
I attended the City Council meeting about allowing African drumming on the Downtown Mall again. [July 10: "Drumroll, please: Group exiled until Council acts."] Mayor Dave Norris and present Council members expressed support for the drumming and seemed confident that something would be worked out and that the ordinance stemmed from complaints about amplified guitar music.
What I feel is so important is helping the public understand why there should be an exception for this form of communication, which is what the drumming is. I can understand why we need to avoid a cacophony. But as I suggested to Mayor Norris, if an exception is made, and others whose music may rise above the decibel level want the same consideration, let them apply and let the merits of the request be judged on a case-by-case basis.
One thing that may not be as well known to all is that Whit Whitten has given tirelessly to this community by playing and teaching at schools, rehabilitation facilities, Camp Holiday Trails, workshops for children, almost all of it free. He simply loves to work with children and share his gift of this wonderful infectious sound.
There's a reason Whit Whitten was chosen one of the Charlottesville's distinguished citizens by the Daily Progress last year.
When we were playing the night in question, we had reports from many observers that after going one street away, you couldn't even hear the music over the sounds of the people and life on the Mall.
To not allow him to continue to drum on the Mall as he did for many years would truly be a great loss. And to have this happen just as we are becoming a sister city with Winneba, Ghana, is even harder to understand. As they learn more about our culture, we should be embracing and learning about theirs.
It also helps to develop a sense of community and diversity, and isn't that what the premise of the Downtown Mall is supposed to be about?