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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Boy Drummed Along with Sheltered Reality

 As the boy walked into the theater at Bridge View Center he stopped to interact with the person at the table representing Sheltered Reality, the group that was about to perform.  He told them that if they needed someone to go on stage they could pick him.  He grabbed a set of earplugs—ironic for attending a musical performance—and took a seat.

I have seen the Blue Man Group twice and have attended many drum and bugle corps performances as I used to live where there were annual drum and bugle corps competitions, but I had never experienced anything like the Sheltered Reality performance.
 Imagine 13 sets of drums on stage, performers of all ages—youth to senior citizen, over an hour of percussion to music with choreography, and a message.  Steven S. Schlosser founded the group 15 years ago while he was working on his PhD in Motivational Psychology.  He had played the drum since he was 11 and wanted to see if drumming could change the world.  Well, he has changed lives with Sheltered Reality with the message that anyone can be successful.

There’s much audience participation during a Sheltered Reality performance from practicing rhythms to dancing to drumming along on stage to shouting out the words to the steps of success.  Here are the steps:
  • Take a chance.
  • Never give up.
  • Do whatever it takes.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Do good for others.

After the first song grabs your attention, the message comes next and you are asked to think about what you enjoy doing the most while listening to the music and watching the intricately choreographed and practiced performance.  So, what do I enjoy doing the most?

Learning the rhythm comes next—right, right, together, right, which becomes a metaphor of how we can act and do good for others.  Do something right, do something right, do something together, do something right.  Get it?
 After the learning and practicing of the rhythm, the performers go into the audience to gather volunteers to demonstrate the rhythm on the drums.  Voila!  The boy is now on stage with drumsticks in his hands displaying lots of confidence.  Steven interacts with him and he interacts back, drums along for 2 songs including some dancing, and makes his way back to the audience, enraptured and thrilled.

The performance and the message continue with even more intricate maneuvers—the drummers’ synchronized movement that allow then to play on almost any drum set on stage, the theater going dark to display the glowing drum sticks, and the performance with tennis balls as a way to show that you can overcome obstacles.  Yep, I was hooked.  Hooked and smiling!  

The question of what do you enjoy doing most kept coming up.  I was still thinking as there were many things that I enjoyed—spending time with my family, traveling, Disney, writing.  Ah, there it was—writing--the activity that gets me up early in the morning driven like a jogger.  Writing, as the words begin to come together in my head just as I am waking up in the pre-dawn hours and haunt me until they hit paper, or in this case, a computer screen. 

Other audience members responded that reading was the activity they enjoyed the most.  Ok, I get that.  Voracious reading is something I am familiar with.  But for me, it was still writing.  Then came the bigger question.  How can you do what you enjoy most and do good for others?  Well, if I had been in stage and responding to Steven asking me that question, I would have told him that I write regularly to inform and communicate with people that I serve in my job.  I would have also told him that I have this blog, you see, where I try to help other people find the magic in travel, especially Disney travel.  That, hopefully, our pool reviews and experiences help other people enjoy a summertime activity.  I’m going to keep that bigger question in front of me more often—how can I do what I enjoy most and do good for others?

The 13 drummers are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are over 2,000 Sheltered Reality members throughout the mid-west and the group keeps growing!  There are practices and performances with over 100 drummers at a time.  Now I get the need for the earplugs!

Sometime during the performance, I went into promoter mode (thinking how do we get this group on Letterman—something like that.)  Then I heard Steven say that the members of Sheltered Reality don’t do this to become famous, they do this to make a difference.  Enter Daniel Pink’s book Drive and what he refers to as Motivation 3.0.  (A brief synopsis—Motivation 1.0 is the drive to live—eat, breath, etc.  Motivation 2.0 is the drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain—often referred to as carrot and stick motivation.  Motivation 3.0 is the internal or intrinsic drive to do something because the task itself is meaningful and purposeful.)

Steven S. Schlosser may not have completed his PhD in motivation psychology but he is living and practicing Motivation 3.0 with Sheltered Reality.  Music with meaning is Sheltered Reality’s purpose.  The rhythms and the message reverberated to my soul and I am forever changed by their performance. 

Click here for Sheltered Reality’s web-site.  Check out their schedule for a performance near you or contact them to schedule a performance in your community.

Here are some clips from the performance the boy and I attended.  Enjoy!

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