New experiences this week, both involving drums...
In the department of "We're going where to do what?!?" I was taken along to an event called Drum Beauty - a drum corps competition in Stillwater, by our two friends with whom we traveled to North Dakota last year. It was...well, different. Certainly one of the more unusual things I've attended out doors at a football stadium. I don't have any friends who currently play in marching bands, much less a drum corps (apparently, there is a huge difference, and one must not commit the faux pas of referring to the competitors as "bands"). Therefore, I was amazed at the huge number of people who turned out to see this event that I'd never heard of. Just goes to show that as long as I live, I'll never get to know all of the hobbies and entertainments that occupy the hours of little sectors of the population. I'll ignore most of what happened before the intermission, as this was the "seniors" division competition, and frankly, wasn't all that interesting. After the intermission came the Division I teams, all of whom came from out of state (again - there are hundreds of people in these corps - all practicing, climbing on buses with mountains of equipment and driving all over the country - yet completely off my radar).
The first troupe was the Blue Stars from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, who put on a fine show of Americana. Lots of flag-waving Copeland, declarations and celebrations of freedom (from want, of speech, to worship, from fear, and, well, to be free). It was not as obnoxious as I've found most things of this ilk over the past eight years, because it did sneak in a fair amount of diversity in the worship portions, and in the groupings of
dancers, er color guard members, which were not always boy-girl. It was subtle mixing, but I think it was intentional. At any rate, not bad, but not as stunning as what was to come.
For me, though, the hit of the night was next: a performance by The Cavaliers of Rosemont, Illinois. The Cavs are an all-male drum corps and color guard, and performed a very masculine and innovative set called Machine. Set to original music, they explored an ominous future of mechanization that borrowed freely from Tron, I, Robot, and Rube Goldberg. Loved! It! Unfortunately, the Cavs wuz robbed, losing in the overall competition by half a point to the Blue Devils of Concord, California. We were shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
The Blue Devils performed a set called The Godfather, Part Blue, and while it was probably techically better in some ways that I'll never care enough to understand, it just wasn't that exciting. So congratulations on your half point victory - I'll still praise the Cavs. After all, a quick little search on YouTube reveals that they rehearse shirtless (that's three different links, because I love you, my readers...) And that's worth at least a full point from me.
Not even a week later, I found myself at the Mu Daiko student recital, watching taiko drumming. I love taiko, but have only in the past month gotten to watch it live. It really is an experience, and it really makes you want to pound on something because it looks so crazy fun.
If you want more pix of this week's drumming, I should have some up on Flickr later this week. I'm still sorting.