I had the absolute pleasure of going to Pasadena, California this past New Years to cheer on my alma matter marching band (Burlington Teen Tour Band) in the World famous Tournament of Roses Parade. 10 years ago, when I was in the band as a Snare drum player, I had the opportunity to march in the nearly 9 km parade on New Years Day. The band represented Canada beautifully this time round with an amazing version of Big Noise from Winetka as well as an amazing visual and musical display of West Side Story during their field show performance earlier in the week. However there was a moment for me on this trip that was absolutely breathtaking, and it was Kyoto Tachibana High School Green Band.
The Tachiban band was one of the most moving musical experiences I have witnessed live. Their perfection and musical ability almost brought me to tears. Allow me to put their talent into perspective. This band has approximately 125 members and is the oldest female marching band in Japan. The group is now 95% female which was a nice little cherry on top of how amazingly talented they were. The average band does between 120-140 movements a minute during feild show. Tachibana destroys this statistic by doing approximately 244 per minute! They look like a professional dance troop who has the almost magical ability to play instruments at the same time. Their movements and music were flawless and perfectly in sync. Their field show and marching order was littered with skill, humility and humour. They do all this with the largest smiles on their faces. They perform not to be the best, even though they were; they do it because they love it, and it is obvious! On top of all that they are all teenagers. I seriously suggest everyone take time out of their days to watch a few videos and if they ever come to town, see them!!