100 REMO Eggs and Counting!
by Julie Corey, DCF, The Village Drum
We drummers are an interesting breed. We find ourselves in the most
unusual and creative venues at times! Recently, I was reading my local paper,
“The Hippo Press,” and noticed that our city was putting out a call for parade float registrations for the local Christmas Parade. Ding! My mind went warp speed with visions of drummers dressed in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, drumming blissfully to the crowds as we passed them in our cheerfully decorated float. I was hooked. I marched into the downtown office and registered our local drum community for a group float. I then spent days trying to ‘round up’ a flatbed to be used as a float, folks to decorate it, and drummers to ride on it!
Thank heavens for our local drum yahoo group, so I could put the call out to the 100 or
so dedicated drummers who take the time to read their emails. As it turned out, a few said they could make it and would need to ride on the float vs. walking and drumming, due to injuries; others said they could walk, but not too far; some were concerned about walking and drumming for over an hour, but really wanted to try. And finally, a friend volunteered her fireman husband to drive a truck pulling a construction flatbed, so we were good to go with a float! Then came the organizing to see about decorating the float, where to meet before the parade, what to wear to stay warm, and how to get back to our cars after the parade ended – as this parade would only go one way down Main St! I admit, by the day of the actual event, I was feeling pretty stressed out!
To top it off, the day of the parade arrived with high winds and temperatures the coldest of this season. I was concerned about frostbite! But, if the parade was not cancelled, I was determined to drum and smile (even though I would be covered from head to toe in my ski Gortex and a fleece facemask that made me look more sinister than benevolent!) The morning came and went, still no cancellation, but just after 12 noon, the call came in, that the parade was to be postponed until the next day. So, out went the calls and emails to all the folks who were also very grateful to not have to be out in the elements – granted we NH folks are hardy, but we are not foolish!
The next day, 5 of us drummers arrived early to decorate an “SUV,” (our float driver, and subsequent float could not make it due to the cancellation.)
Our drum sister made a really cool banner, “Drum for Peace!”
We also had to help each other get our drum straps situated over our 5 layers of clothing; and sort out who was playing which drum and which percussion.
We also had to figure out what kinds of rhythms and beats we would play, and how we were going to hear each other while we marched behind our float. At 4pm sharp, the parade began, and we were excited with anticipation as to what this experience was going to be like! We soon found ourselves on the Main St. with baskets of blue and green REMO egg shakers that we distributed one-by-one to the wide-eyed children lining the city streets. Each egg was delivered with a “Merry Christmas!” cheer from us.
The kids were psyched! We were too. They shouted back to us, “Merry Christmas!” Over 100 eggs were given away in about 5 minutes, but truthfully next year, I am going to start a fundraiser in July, so that we can purchase at least 1,000 eggs – one for every child watching the parade. We ran out of eggs way too fast, but many thanks to REMO who donated 50 of the eggs and made a lot of kids really happy!
As for drumming, we played together fairly well. At times, we were really behind the float in front of us, because they were all riding on their floats, and we were practically running to keep up with our SUV! I guess none of us ever realized how long Main St. really is by foot, and how vigorous it is to drum, march, and sing for over an hour at break neck speed! There were some memorable sights as we marched though; children and grandparents dancing to the beat; people cheering for us as we drummed near them; the announcer on the main stage telling the crowd that we were from “The Village Drum”
All in all, it was a blast, and I highly recommend volunteering for your local holiday parade. It was a lot of work, but I think that most things are that are worthwhile and rewarding. The next day when I was looking at the uploaded pictures of the event, I felt genuine joy in my heart, and that truly was a gift to me this holiday season.
We hope to make this parade an annual event for our local drum community. We are already dreaming up the next one! Happy Holidays! Julie Corey, DCF, NH
The Village Drum