Thoughts on our Tattoo Experience

MCV March off the Tattoo fieldMCV departed Sydney on February 12th (and returned the same day, at least to San Francisco) and the group that was brought together for this event have scattered back to their home states (and countries), many not to see each other for some time to come.  Yet, despite many obstacles (including an unexpected Cyclone) the members of MCV achieved the ultimate goal of performing in the grand event known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Australia.    We made many new friends along the way and hope to see them again in the future.  Sydney is a grand city and Australia a country bursting with unique architecture, seascapes, landscapes and flora and fauna.  A final thank you to the citizens of Sydney who welcomed the Tattoo cast into their midst for the duration of the show, and showed us every kindness.  No worries indeed.

Stay tuned to this space for additional photos and a video of our Tattoo performance, coming in the next few days.

EMT Finale - the Cast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Australia

Closing Night at the Tattoo/ MCV Storms the Consulate

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo Salute to Australia closed on Sunday, 7 February. MCV posed for an official group photo in front of the Castle and were then addressed by Major General Euan Louden, EMT Producer. We then prepared for our fourth and final performance of the Tattoo in front of a packed Sydney Football Stadium. We were sad to see the show end so quickly and to say goodbye to our new friends.


Monday, 8 February saw us wig up one last time Down Under for a reception and concert at the U.S. Consulate; the Consular General welcomed us and the invited guests enjoyed our concert presented on the tennis courts of the Consulate.


Due to Internet connectivity issues we will be unable to post video of our performance until we return to the States; stay tuned for that link next week!


This place is huge!

Castle MCV finally made it to our performance venue today for a couple run throughs of the show. At one end of the Sydney Football (that's soccer to our U.S. friends!) Stadium a full size replica of the exterior of Edinburgh Castle has been created out of plywood, fabric and other materials.  The replica is so realistic that it even has bird droppings on the short walls and moss on some of the wood!

It is always interesting to finally play in the venue where you'll perform, especially after rehearsing for months in totally different conditions.  The sheer size of the venue, plus the different acoustics, different surface (grass vs. concrete), etc. all contribute to disconcerting one during the first time WiredforSound running the show there!  It's so easy to become distracted with the new sights and sounds (not to mention that some of the fifers are miked for sound amplification!).  That's why we DO the rehearsals in the stadium before the performances start!!  We all have to get used to the feel of the place – not to mention the rehearsing needed to put all the bits of the show together into one seamless production.

SueB2 We'll have another long day of rehearsals at St. Andrews, at the official practice field at St. Paul's College Oval and also at the stadium again.  Might be a good day for a caffeine injection!

We’ve made it Down Under!

After countless hours of travel from various points around the globe, MCV has finally arrived in Sydney! Most of the corps left the morning of January 27 from their nearest airport and flew to San Francisco where we met up for our flight to Auckland, New Zealand and connecting from there to Sydney where we arrived sometime during the morning of January 29 (although it was still Thursday the 28th in Boston!) The flights themselves were pretty uneventful (except that fun turbulence between Auckland and Sydney!) StAndrews and our pick up from the airport by our Tattoo liaisons also went smoothly, as did our registration at St. Andrews College at the University of Sydney where we're staying.  What's wrong with this picture??  This was too easy!!  OK, just so that we can truly be MCV and have some glitch in the proceedings, Australian Customs was still holding all our equipment hostage because the shipping carnet (the document that describes in minute detail everything that was in the cargo shipment) was missing.  So, no drums, no uniforms, nada! (More on this in a moment…)

Now that we have pretty much out entire crew together (we're still missing one fifer – don't worry, we didn't lose her!!  She couldn't leave until a few days after us!) we put the "pedal to the metal" in terms of rehearsing to work out any issues or kinks that might have sprung up from the local contingent making changes to music or marching that our remote members might have missed.  Our first rehearsal took place the afternoon of our arrival (after we all had a chance to shower and get completely horizontal for a little bit – let's face it, you just can't get horizontal in airports and airplanes!).  Progress was made, but it was a little difficult without any drums or any way to mark a centerline on the circular field!

Today ran a bit more smoothly as (after much telephone traffic to both sides of the Pacific on Friday afternoon) the carnet was found and Customs released our cargo!  Hooray!!  All the equipment was delivered to the college this morning at 8am in time for our full day of rehearsing!  We were able to mark a straight centerline on the field, the drums could practice on real instruments and our support team could sort through the uniforms while we rehearsed so that they could hand them out to us once we were finished.

Tomorrow will be our first time playing in front of the Tattoo organizers, as well a s fellow cast members.  More on that later!

One Rehearsal to Go!

Sunday, the 24th will be MCV's final music rehearsal before boarding the plane on the 27th and flying and flying and flying to Sydney. This rehearsal won't be quite the same as last weekend's drill since we don't expect many of our out-of-town friends to be joining us for this one – we'll miss them!!  It is truly amazing how much depth is added to our sound when the whole group is together – wow!  The other amazing thing is how quickly everyone grooves in to each other to make the music and the marching work, even when it's been months since practicing with the group. I know I'm excited at the thought of rehearsing and performing with this group of 42 musicians (30 fifers, 8 snare drummers, 4 bass drummers) as well as with the color guard, guidon and very excellent drum major! We're almost there!!

Just 8 Days before Departure for Down Under

We had our last Drill rehearsal this past Sunday at the Concord, MA Armory with a great turnout and now have just 8 days to go before MCV departs the USA for Sydney, Australia. The group will arrive in Sydney on Friday, 29th January with MCV rehearsals beginning shortly thereafter. The Tattoo starts officially on 3 February with a Preview Show and then the main performances run 4-7 February at Sydney Football Stadium. Stay tuned to this Blog for regular on-site updates.