Retired Valley professor leads drum circles to help children, seniors

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Every week, retired professor Lydia Woods brings total strangers together in Sun City to create some sweet music. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Every week, retired professor Lydia Woods brings total strangers together in Sun City to create some sweet music. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Woods started hosting drum circles in the West Valley last year as a way to help seniors relieve stress and provide an outlet for children to feel better about themselves. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Woods started hosting drum circles in the West Valley last year as a way to help seniors relieve stress and provide an outlet for children to feel better about themselves. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SUN CITY WEST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

You can feel the beat, relax with the rhythm, and even stimulate your senses.

Every week, retired professor Lydia Woods brings total strangers together in Sun City to create some sweet music.

"People tell me I have no musical ability. I can't read music. I have no rhythm," said Woods. "I say, then you're the perfect candidate for playing a drum because anybody can do it."

Woods started hosting drum circles in the West Valley last year, as a way to help seniors relieve stress and provide an outlet for children to feel better about themselves.

"It stimulates the heartbeat," said Woods. "That was the first drum you ever heard, was the heartbeat of your mother. It seems to touch everybody all over the world. It also lowers blood pressure and gives you a sense of well-being after you finish, and you feel uplifted."

In addition to playing drums, Woods also makes them, then gives away to homeless children and kids in the hospital and foster care.

Diana Perez was inspired the moment she attended her first drum circle, and saw how devoted Woods was to helping other.

Since Woods' non-profit, Drum Arizona depends solely on donations, Perez reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the woman keeping the beat for a good cause.

"She just has a very generous heart, and a smile to go with it," said Perez. "If there's anything she can do to help anybody she will do it."

A CBS 5 news crew followed along to surprise Woods at a recent drum circle session.

"Lydia is not only giving seniors an outlet with drumming, but a purpose with helping children," Perez told Woods.

"I would like to nominate Lydia to Pay it Forward for her amazing program bringing together the community, and our foster children making beautiful music together. I would like to give you $500 to go towards your goals.

"I love giving to the community, and of course, they're giving back to me in all kinds of love and appreciation," said Woods. "It just feels so good."

For more information about Drum Arizona, visit www.drumarizona.org

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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