An American abroad


I’m sure that my fellow tattoo first-timers will agree with me when I say that being an American at an international tattoo is life changing. I have never identified as patriotic, or even proud of my country. It is not that I am ashamed of my heritage, I have just never had strong feelings one way or the other. While my identity has always been strongly influenced by my country and its history, I haven’t been excited to share that part of myself with people.Beth and Melena

Ever since we arrived for our first rehearsal here my attitude toward patriotism and national pride has changed. As a member of one of only two American groups performing in the tattoo I have been identified as my country. Acting as a representative of the United States, even in such an unofficial capacity, has reminded me how important kindness and friendship are. I am not a member of MCV to the members of the Kings Guard of Norway or Club Piruett of Estonia. I am one of The Americans. I belong with the red, white, and blue uniform and flag. When they see me backstage it is clear that they do not see me… they see the whole country. That is an incredible responsibility, and we all take it very seriously.

Every tattoo participant clearly feels the same way. We are ambassadors, proud of our roots and eager to reach out across borders to form bonds. Every member of the over twenty performing groups can be seen backstage when they are not rehearsing, talking with members from other countries. We laugh, shout, and wave our arms around to help communicate through the language barriers. We compare uniforms, ask questions about logos (fun fact: the Home Guard Band of Eslöv has three crowns on their shirts because it is a simplified version of the Swedish coat of arms), and talk about flag etiquette in different countries. We are making friends and having fun.

We are all representatives, and proud of it.


A Humbling Experience

After the first full day of rehearsals yesterday, I am, and I’m sure many of my fellow MCVers are as well, completely humbled to be here in Halifax. I am humbled to be able to play and march with some very skilled musicians who put in countless hours to achieve perfection.

I am humbled by all the other groups that are also actively working to achieve perfection. The talent and determination that the cast has is remarkable.

I am humbled by the arena. Having never been able to play in a location as big as the ScotiaBank Centre, I am so excited to be able to play for an audience as large as the Tattoo’s.

I am humbled by this opportunity. Not very many people get to spend 2 weeks with 52 of their closest friends playing for 60,000 people. We are lucky enough to have that opportunity.

Above all, I am humbled to be able to represent the United States. Blogs from other tours have noted the ambassadorship that comes with performing abroad. We are not only representing our country, but its history, Boston’s relationship with Halifax, and the whole fife and drum community.

I look forward to seeing more of the other hard working performance  groups over the next couple rehearsal days as we ramp up to opening night on June 30th.

-Nick Johnson, snare drummer

Reflections on the Halifax Tattoo

Drum Solo during MCV's Show Our latest "Tattoo Experience" is now over and the majority of our membership is now safely home. MCV was a hit not only with the audience but also the cast of 2,000 that were quartered backstage at the Metro Centre.  We now have new friends from Sweden, Belgium, Wales, Denmark, Germany, France, Canada and Estonia. The photo to the right shows the spotlight on our drummers during their roof raising drum solo.

Fortunately this is an Indoor Tattoo as Halifax was plagued with wet and cool weather for nearly the entire run of the Show. However the Haligonians (residents of Halifax) always were cheerful and were quite pleased to see the USA represented once again in their annual event.

RNSIT finaleEach night's Tattoo proceeded with nary a hitch and concluded with the dramatic Finale, when the entire cast was assembled in the arena one last time. 

   All in all this was another successful Tattoo experience for MCV; stay tuned for details for our next big adventure on the International stage. 

—George March, MCV Fifer/Webmaster

Live, from Halifax


Today marks Day 2 of this year's edition of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and MCV's debut appearance at the largest indoor Tattoo in the world.  We have settled in nicely, finished up rehearsals just this past Tuesday and were well received at both the Canada Day Parade on July 1 as well as the Opening Night performance at the Metro Centre.  MCV executed it's show to warm applause and excellent post-show reviews.

Several of our performing members were featured in the Tattoo Finale. 8 fifers leading the cast of 2,000 onto the floor in Ode to Joy, drummers accompanying pipers on MacPherson's LamenDrea-tympani-RNSITt and Andrea Wirth as solo tympanist for the entire finale presentation.  MCV is presenting a small outdoor concert this afternoon then it is back to the Metro Centre for tonght's performance. 

–George March, MCV Fifer/Webmaster