Meet the Presenters


Lulu Leathley

For the past 20 years Lulu has been motivating children, caregivers, dementia patients, the Elderlies, refugees and people with special needs to express themselves in unique an transformative ways through interactive music making.

Certified by Arthur Hull's Village Music Circles and a Health Rhythms Facilitator, Lulu is endorsed by the REMO drum company.

Her unique approach, relying on her education as an Orff teacher, Music Specialist, Montessori and Baby Music teacher, Lulu creates an experience which allows people to safely and comfortably release and express themselves through music making.

Lulu’s  presentation will centre around music activities for Young Onset, Late Stage Dementia and Intergenerational Jams. Her experience with Paul’s Club, an amazing Respite Centre in Vancouver for people with Young Onset, gave her insight into the benefits of music making for this population.


Jane Bentley, PhD

Dr. Jane Bentley is a drummer and music in healthcare practitioner, consultant, and trainer, based in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2011 she was awarded the first ever PhD based on drum circles and improvisation, highlighting the effects of group music making on human wellbeing.

She has brought music to elder care settings for over 15 years, and has worked in every area of mental health care, and with hospitalised children and adults. Alongside her freelance career, she works part-time for the National Health Service in Scotland, as a musician in mental health occupational therapy services, focusing on older adults. In 2009, she established the ‘Singing Memories’ group – one of Scotland’s first community singing groups for people with dementia and their carers, and has since trained many others to run groups of their own.

As a trainer, she has been delighted to collaborate the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to develop and extend their work with older adults in hospitals across Scotland. She has been involved in training musicians, music therapists, occupational therapists, nursing staff and activity co-ordinators from Brighton to Chicago.

In 2015 she was been awarded a prestigious Churchill travelling fellowship (, to study the role of music in the wellbeing of older adults in Asia, and visited Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

Mary E Knysh is the founder of Rhythmic Connections, ( an innovative company advancing education, health, and creative development through drum circles and music improvisation. Mary is a cutting edge workshop facilitator, trainer and consultant who uses music as a means for personal and organizational transformation through creativity, leadership and non‐verbal communications. She is a professional musician; recording artist and international author. She is endorsed by Rhythm Band Instruments and Remo corporations. Mary travels throughout the United States, Europe and Asia offering drum circle facilitator trainings, performances, and workshops.


Diana Hull, PA, MPH

Diana Hull has been the Associate Director of Village Music Circles, supporting the development of Arthur Hull's Trainings and Playshops, for over 30 years. Village Music Circles has trained thousands of  Community Rhythm Facilitator’s worldwide.

Diana is a professional health care practitioner focusing on disease prevention guiding people into balance and strength so that age can be met with vitality and resiliency.

For the past 9 years Diana has care-partnered with her mother as she lives out her life with Alzheimer’s disease. "From my mother I have learned the art of caring, from her disease I have learned the challenges."

Diana is currently working in community medicine, she is writing a book about how we care for people with memory loss. Diana facilitates a support groups and is a volunteer Advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association.



Phyllis Mueller

Phyllis is committed to “Drumming for Health” with special populations. She is trained in Village Music Circles (VCM) Facilitator’s Hawaii Training, HealthRhythms, HealthRhythms Advanced Strategies, Facilitator’s Rhythms Alchemy Playshop (FRAP) and Developmental Community Music (DCM). She is studied and experienced in working with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, and many special needs populations. Phyllis has served as not-for-profit founder/executive director, pastor, hospital chaplain, speaker/writer, and currently facilitates in memory care centers, special needs programs, and health and wellness settings.  She is a past member of the DCFG Board of Directors and is currently a DCFG member in good standing. She a recipient of the 63rd Congressional District Citizenship Award, The McHenry County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award for Service, and a Judson University Alumna of the Year.  She also plays the piano and hammered dulcimer.

Phyllis has worked with Seniors, primarily focusing on work with Memory Care patients for most of her long career. However, three years ago, her own husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Phyllis now speaks from the perspective of living with someone 24/7 who is in Stage 4 Alzheimer’s. Her insights are first-hand and informed and will offer specific guidance. Although progressing through stage 4 of the disease, her husband Quentin still lives at home. He also assists Phyllis with Drumming at local Memory Care centers, and then joins right in with each group. Last November he even helped her facilitate drumming at the Speak Up Speak Out Conference, a gathering of 500+ adults with developmental disabilities, which is hosted by the ARC of Illinois.


Tomoko Yokota

Tomoko "Tomtom" Yokota is based in Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku in Southern Japan. She is co-founder of a country-wide drum circle group, OrangeBoomBoom, with two other leading facilitators, covering Northern, Central and Southern Japan. As a response to the success and increasing demands for her drum circle work, Tomtom is dedicated to delivering the joy of music making and working energetically towards building a healthy community. Tomtom has founded her own music studio ‘Tomtomny Music’ for rhythm and percussion related music and drum circle facilitator training.

Since 2002, Tomtom has worked with people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles both in Japan and internationally. Her work with children has encompassed circles for working mothers and their infants, kindergartens, elementary, junior-high, high school and college students, as well as learning-challenged students. She has organized successful drum circles for mental health programs, physically challenged groups, hearing impaired students, elders in day care and pregnant women through maternity clinics.

Tomtom has conducted drum circles in corporate settings in order to encourage employees to adopt team building and stress reduction techniques.

She has completed the Remo ‘HealthRhythms’ program in 2002; ‘Change Your Life Through Rhythm’ in 2013, and ‘Music Medicine’ certificate provided by UCLArts & Healing in 2017. Tomtom presented the concept of a drum circle for pregnant women at the first Asian Facilitators’ Conference in Malaysia. In 2016, Tomtom introduced her own Melody into Rhythm event ‘Unwind Your Mind through Rhythm’ for the 3rd the Asian Rhythm Facilitator Conference. Since then, she has successfully conducted the event in a number of therapeutic and community drum circles.

Tomtom has organized, facilitated and participated as a trainer at Village Music Circles (VMC) ‘Playshop’ events with Arthur Hull in Japan, and is a VMC Certified Facilitator. In 2014, she translated and published a Japanese edition of Arthur Hull and Nellie Hill's Drum Circle Facilitator's Handbook. She continues to promote drumming as a means of empowerment, communication and a dynamic force for healing.

She is a student of Tsuzumi, a traditional Japanese drum used in Noh drama, and a keyboard arranger. She is an endorser for REMO drums.