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

We’re almost there!

Hey folks, Beth here. I’m part of the fife section (a life-long dream come true) and I am so excited that we are only two days away from our adventure! I have never participated in a tattoo before. My head is reeling just thinking about all the rehearsing we have coming in the next week. I know it is all worth it, though! Preparing for the show these last few months has been so much fun because of how amazing this group of people is to work with. Everyone is supportive, driven, and hilarious… even during long hours, and even in pouring rain.

Today we had our last run through rehearsal before we step foot on Canadian soil. We also had to pack the trailer because our fearless leaders had to begin their trek north today. So, of course, the weather did not cooperate. In fact we had torrential downpours. Luckily we have a slightly protected area to work in, but we still got wet. Everyone was in high spirits though. I, for one, am over the moon that it’s almost show time! Our hard work is really showing during rehearsal. We work well together as a team both in and out of uniform, and that is reflected in our drill.

As Toria mentioned in her post last week, the to-do lists around here are an insane length. With only one full day left before travel day it’s starting to feel like the world is ending after tomorrow, instead of beginning an awesome trip. I am so excited to make new friends, explore Halifax for the first time in ten years, and above all to perform with this amazing group of people. I can’t wait to hit the floor and soak in the crowd! Safe travels everyone, and we will see you up north in just a few days.

Cheers,

Beth Humphreys, Fifer

Teamwork

MCV has always functioned strongly within its traditional fife sections and drum sections, but through preparations for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, we have had the opportunity to work closely in smaller groups and develop some fun team identities.

Our drill program has been designed to use a system of teams who work together to make our pretty pictures. I think it helps to have a consistent working group to solidify those gates and make those straight lines – and to have some fun, too. The “A Team” took full advantage of their name and worked together to make custom t-shirts with an appropriate character’s name on their backs.

A-Team
The A-Team!
Complete with character names!
Complete with character names!

They also extended an hand to our Canadian guest, Nathan, who was granted his own shirt, the “Eh Team.” A little brotherly humor! Such clever fifers!

The "Eh Team!"
The “Eh Team!”

We’ve been reviewing old photos and videos of the last time we were at RNSIT and are REALLY getting excited to return to the warm crowds, meet old friends and make a lot of new ones.  It’s hard to think about anything else except preparing for that spotlight.6a00d8344e670a53ef01543290153a970c

-Andrea Wirth, snare drummer

On the Road to Malmö: The Journey Begins

 
MalmoTattoo-sm
MCV's next journey will take us On the Road to…Malmö, Sweden.  We will appear in the Sweden International Tattoo in May 2011. This Blog will chronicle our preparations for the trip and also provide regular updates while in Malmö. 

Our Show music has already been selected and rehearsed; drill rehearsal begins in earnest on 16th January. Our Headquarters staff will be flying over to Malmö for a Tattoo Production Meeting just after New Year's Day. This meeting is meant to bring together representatives from the entire Tattoo cast and the Tattoo Production team to work out the actual flow of the show as well as basic event logistics.  Look for our next posting in mid January as we shift into high gear for our next International adventure.

 

In the meantime, please visit the Sweden International Tatto's website for further info and a list of performers. We do hope that some of our European based friends can attend the Tattoo!