I’m always a bit wary when artists claim to be available as corporate facilitators and team-builders. Art can certainly be put to many valuable corporate ends, but when promoted on a business card or at an industry conference it sometimes smacks of hucksterism.
That wariness evaporates the moment you enter a drum circle with Otha Day (North Adams, MA). He’s the real deal, a true artist first and foremost: a master drummer, not to mention an accomplished pianist and piano teacher, who also happens to have the warmth and gentle spirit that make him an excellent team-building facilitator through percussion.
I’m not quite sure how Otha persuades the supervisors of plastics engineers and hotel executives and nursing home workers to pay him to lead those employees in interactive drum circles: that’s one kind of sales call I’d love to be able to listen in on. I can’t really imagine Otha doing the hard sell, so I would guess that much of his work comes through word of mouth from clients who have hired him before and recommended him to others.
Otha has yet to invest his matched savings funds in expanding his artistic enterprise, but he has been a determined saver month after month, even as health issues have sometimes kept him from taking on as much work as he would like. The amounts saved each month are never large, and rarely does he deposit the same amount two months in a row: $20; $40; $30; $20; $30; $20; and on and on for more than two years now. It feels almost like there’s a conscious but mysterious rhythm in the amounts deposited one month to the next — like the code for a piece of music that I could hear if I had that talent. Maybe one day Otha will play it for me.