Michael Fitzsimmons

  • Omaha, NE
  • Music

Multi-Cultural, Percussion


Islands in Paradise is a performance that will have your feet tapping, your body swaying and your heart soaring to joyful Latin rhythms. I feature the hand pan instruments to produce uptempo, cheerful, and dance rhythms through delightful percussive melodies. Besides the hang drum, you will hear the kalimba (African thumb piano), and a variety of Latin percussion.

Concert options include a 90-minute concert with intermission or a 50-minute concert with audience participation, followed by interactive drumming. (My drum circles are a “hit” with young and old alike!) Concerts are often combined with workshops and residency programs.

Age Range – Suitable for all audiences; can be tailored to meet specific needs

International touring artist Michael Fitzsimmons presents his Drums of the World concerts featuring rare instruments from Switzerland called Hang (reminiscent of the steel drums of Trinidad). Incorporating the Hang with over 30 years experience as a composer and performer, Michael has audiences spellbound by the beautiful, other worldly sounds of these unique and intriguing instruments. These multicultural concerts also showcase an exciting variety of drums from Cuba, West Africa, Central and South America, flutes from Brazil, China and Native America, pan pipes from Bolivia, and Kalimbas from South Africa. Michael weaves variety into his performances as multi-layered songs unfold before your ears.

Find audio samples of Michael’s award-winning music, reviews of past presenters and general concert information on his web site. Drums of the World delivers the following Music and Educational Elements: Rhythm, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, Form, Structure, Expression, Personal empowerment, Cultural awareness/appreciation, Bio-diversity. Concert options include 90-minute concert with intermission, 50-minute concert followed by an interactive group drumming session (Michael’s interactive drum circles are a ‘hit’ with young and old alike). Concerts are often combined with residency programs. Contact Michael to create an event suited to your needs.

I have taught for over 30 years and yours was the best performance I’ve seen in my time here. The kids were mesmerized, as was I. Thank you so much for a very enjoyable afternoon.
– Karen, teacher, Rock Springs, WY

We so enjoyed your performance today at St. Boniface. Thank you for working with our students. We were amazed at how well they all stayed together! You’re very talented.
– Lindy, teacher, St. Boniface Elementary, Elgin, NE

Very impressive, unbelievable performance! To hold the attention of 750 students for an hour takes a remarkable talent!
– Kris Vodehnal, teacher, Human Elementary, Lincoln, NE

In collaboration with John Campin, principal at Gomez Heritage Elementary School in Omaha, Michael has developed Drumming with Dads, a highly successful program targeted to engage fathers in school programs with their children.

The Drumming with Dads program can be structured in a variety of ways. The one hour sessions are designed to build upon each other, and can be tailored to meet your group’s specific requirements.
• Make and decorate drums. The participants are encouraged to decorate their drums with meaningful words, phrases and symbols. Once drums are made, the group participates in open drumming.
• Learning and playing rhythms. Participants explore a variety of rhythms, how to create a unique rhythm, and ways to play their drums to produce different sounds.
• Group rhythms. Participants learn a three part rhythm, how to create stops, and showcase a solo rhythm.
• Performance. Participants practice and perform, either for themselves or for a larger audience. (Optional: 2 sessions)

Drumming With Dads delivers the following Music and Educational Elements: Rhythm, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, Form, Structure, Expression, Personal empowerment, Cultural awareness/appreciation, Bio-diversity.

Starting the Drumming with Dads program here at Gomez Heritage with Michael was one of the top parent involvement programs I have ever been involved in. Seeing how proud the students were to be at school making and playing drums with their father figure was a sight to see. It gave me goose bumps the first night when I looked out and there were over one hundred students and dads strengthening their relationships with one another!

This year Michael and I thought of a Family Music Night. On three different evenings we are making kalimbas, rain sticks and drums. The parents and students have really enjoyed themselves so far! The kalimba is not something an every day person would know about. By providing this opportunity, students and their parents are now playing the kalimba at home and talking to their friends and family about the instrument. Another opportunity that we provided with much success!
– John Campin, principal, Gomez Heritage Elementary School, Omaha, NE

*Drumming with Dads is an all-inclusive program. The focus is engaging fathers in a program with their children, but all are welcome.


Technical Requirements: 10’ x 12’ minimum performance area, grounded electrical outlets, lighting if available, sound system with two microphones if available, two boom microphone stands, table for CD sales

Maximum negotiable fee: $1,700. Material cost to make drums not included.

Availability: No travel limitations or schedule restrictions at this time.

Virtual Option: Michael has worked with the Nebraska Arts Council on a 20 minute workshop called Found Sounds. He is currently working on virtual performances of Drums of the World and Islands in Paradise.


Watch Michael on YouTube

Grand Island Independent Article

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