Drumbeat of welcome for arts director

Linda Shoemaker welcomed, Jan. 30, 2014.Linda Shoemaker welcomed Jan. 30.

At least 100 people crowded the lobby of the Arlington Center for Arts on Thursday, Jan. 30, to welcome Linda Shoemaker, the 25-year-old center's new executive director.

The evening's theme was enthusiasm for Arlington's arts as Shoemaker, a veteran of the center on Foster Street in East Arlington, expressed her best wishes going forward.

Emphasizing high hopes was a display of Shoemaker's talents on drum and in leading those gathered in a call-and-response titled "Baba's Prayer/Sotemabandanin."

So was the voice of Louise Grasmere, who wrote the words based on a traditional Malinke song from Guinea and inspired by the words of Babatunde Olatunji.

Welcoming photos >>

Shoemaker shared her fervor for drumming, which she took up about 15 years ago. "It changed my life," she said.

Well-wishers sang a Fanga song of welcome from Liberia.

Musicians included Matt Jenson, keyboard; Liz Penton, Barbara Gosselin, Carlee Blamphin, drums.

Jenson, who teaches at Berklee, pointed to a wall where many stood in the lobby and said he has had a studio there for 20 years -- "cheap." The hideaway has been for him a place of creation.

Jan. 15, 2014: New arts director aims to listen: Let her know what you want

 This story was published Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.

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