Thursday, June 18, 2009

76 Trombones in Right Here in River City

As of last week we still weren't sure summer was coming. We had a very cool spring. The weather is now closer to normal and it started raining and everything is green. One of the signs that summer will officially start, besides the calendar, is the Drum Beauty Pageant in Stillwater.

Drum Beauty has been performing in Stillwater for decades. Before we moved here, Jon's aunts and parents attended this local performance yearly. His aunts had been in drum bugle corps in high school. His mom described the events as "thrilling". It's not a rap concert and might appeal more to the mature audience, but the sound of the brass, the flash of those flags and the sight of the precision routines is indeed a thrill at dusk on a warm summer night.

It is part of a national competition of drum and bugle corps from around the country. We look forward to seeing some of the best return year after year. My favorites are the Blue Devils from Concord, CA and the Madison, WI Scouts and another from Revere, MA.

These "band kids" tour on buses and sleep on gym floors on their summer tour. They hone their skills and thrill fans. About fifteen years ago, when performing in Stillwater, they ate a bad batch of spaghetti sauce or something and ended up flocking to our local small hospital with food poisoning. I had been at the performance with my parents. Toward the end my dad, ever the astute observer, noted a guy or two looking a little ill and predicted what was happening. As soon as I got home I was called to duty. Those poor kids were sick. The worst were kept in the hospital overnight. Some were treated and when well enough to stand and walk, released. They probably went back to sleeping on the gym floor. I'll bet that group remembered their trip to Stillwater.

My friend Barb, who hails from St. Peter, MN, also was a drum beauty fan. One of corps stops on the summer tour was a performance at Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter, MN.

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