International Marching Show Bands in Lecco

We spent the weekend watching marching bands – appropriate for the 4th of July, though that’s not a holiday in Italy. The association of Italia Marching Show Bands had its championship in Lecco, with special guests the Concord Blue Devils, one of America’s premier drum and bugle corps. The presence of the Blue Devils in Lecco was the crashing together of two very different parts of my life. I know something about this drum and bugle stuff because my college boyfriend, Keith, had been a member of the Blue Devils. He took me to the DCI Championships back in 1982, which I never forgot. A good drum corps exhibition is a combination of the biggest marching band you’ve ever seen (over 100 musicians), plus 40 dancers and flag twirlers, all of them choreographed to make Busby Berkeley proud.

I often miss events because I’m not paying attention, but I heard about this one months ago from our friend Ravil, an opera singer now living in Milan, who also used to be a member of the Blue Devils (and vaguely remembers Keith – small world!). So I was prepared for this event, and very excited about it. Saturday evening the bands paraded through Lecco; the footage above is from the Blue Devils’ warmup before the parade. When I have time to wade through the remaining hours of video I shot, I will post some more clips.

My family were a bit taken aback by my enthusiasm before the event, but they understood once they actually saw it. The Blue Devils gave the final exhibition performances at the end of Sunday’s morning and evening competitions. I knew there would be an encore after the prize-giving, but we were out with a friend and her small, tired kids, so decided to go home rather than sit through the speechifying. As it turned out, we could hear the music perfectly well from the stadium, about a kilometer below our house.

later – The Blue Devils’ European tour generated some controversy among their fans back home; here’s my thought on the matter.

July 3, 2005

Sunday was the actual competition of the Italia Marching Show Bands. I had a front-row, center seat for the morning’s events and was able to get good footage; in the evening the center seats were sold out and I had a lousy point of view, to my great frustration.

July 3, 2005, 6 min


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