Drum at the Olympics!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


On June 29th the entire DRUM! cast and crew gathered at a beautifully decorated Cunard Centre in Halifax to perform for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip.

It was a spectacular night hosted by Premier Darrell Dexter, his wife, Kelly Wilson and the Honourable Peter Mackay, Minister of Defense, representing the federal government.  Highlighting four of the founding cultures of Canada through vignettes strategically placed along the route where the Royal Couple greeted about 1500 invited guests followed by a grand finale of the full DRUM! cast, the evening celebrated Canada’s inclusiveness and cultural diversity.

After the performance, producers Brookes Diamond and Fiona Diamond were introduced to Her Majesty and His Royal Highness who subsequently greeted each member of the cast and crew.  The cast and crew were dazzled by the grace and charm of the Royal couple and will long treasure the memory of a historic night.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 2

First day downtown experiencing the crowds and Olympic fever around the city. The streets are full – every colour and style of Olympic ‘swag’ from all countries is everywhere. Line-ups are the order of the day but we have met so many friendly, happy people who seem to be having a blast, that it is hard to understand the bombardment of negative press. Yes, the weather has been more akin to summer Olympics and there have been some unfortunate issues such as the refunding of 28,000 tickets from Cypress (which apparently has occurred frequently at other Olympics) but overall the mood here seems upbeat and full of nationalist fervour.

Hockey fans filled the streets heading to the first men’s hockey games – again all decked out in sport regalia from a plethora of nations. It is very exciting and a real high to be here. The concerns of the high cost to the country of putting on an event of this size and the risks involved, are put aside when one feels the pride and positive energy that is swelling in this city…. and hopefully is spilling to the rest of the country. Experiencing a medal ceremony for the first time is a highlight I will never forget …. and seeing our wonderful snowboarder, Mike Robertson, receive his silver medal to the thunderous cheers of a full BC Place stadium was a one-of-a-kind thrill. And when the U.S. athlete stepped on the top of the podium to receive his gold medal – he received a similar (okay not quite as thunderous!) welcome. The crowd here are welcoming all the athletes from all nations with arms wide open. It is a beautiful thing to see.

DRUM! had a seminal moment at BC Place playing on the massive stage with state-of-the-art technology around it and screens as big as buildings. Playing to 20,000 + exhuberant brand new fans, the show rocked the house. The inclusion of 12 Acadian dancers from Baie on Joie and Dixacadie along with our Drums of the World added a wonderful dimension to the show which filled the stage in a fitting salute to Nova Scotia Day.

For cast and crew it was a long and challenging day but all made worth while with the great response. We could easily get used to playing 20,000 seat stadiums!

A shout out to some East Coasters who have been snapped up by VANOC to help run these technically complex and challenging shows. It was great to see Carl Gosine and Danny Thomas who although worked to a frazzle, are a couple of the best East Coast ambassadours we could have.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1

Day 1: Monday: crew and cast gather at Atlantic Canada House for tech run-throughs and rehearsals. The place is buzzing with activity. Line-ups are everywhere at ACH as the word has spread that some of the best entertainment at the Games is right here.

On the eve of Nova Scotia Day, Premier Dexter welcomes 400 excited guests to experience DRUM! on stage at the Arts Club Theatre. The DRUM! cast is Joined for the finale by several members of the Vancouver cultural community – including Lion Dancers from China; drummers from India; dancer from Cuba; Japanese drummers; and two members of the western host first nation community in their beautiful regalia (pictured with our own Trevor & Hubert)– for a spectacular DRUM!s of the World. The excited audience leaps to their feet in appreciation and the room is electric with a spirit of community. Bringing together the Western cultures with the Atlantic Canadians on stage is an emotional experience which demonstrates what Canada offers to the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympics Here We Come

We arrived at the airport at the unearthly time of 5 am to take off for Vancouver – all 26 of us. We got checked in and through security no problem and in jig time were headed to the wild west!

After a long 11 hours of flying with a layover in Toronto, we arrived at Vancouver International Airport to be met by the efficient VANOC team of transportation volunteers. We were bused to our delightful hotel on the waterfront of New Westminster where we will be ensconced for the duration of our 7-day stay. A troupe of inspiring youngsters from The Spirit of Uganda are staying here as well. They have quite a story which can be accessed at vancouver2010.com/…/spirit-of-uganda. The Cultural Olympiad has done a remarkable job in bringing some of the world’s best arts and entertainment groups to Vancouver for the month and we look forward to experiencing some of them throughout the week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Welcome to the DRUM! blog.

We are readying for the adventure of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.  Last minute preps abound as we gather merch, props, gear etc for the long plane trip that begins at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning.  Our group of 27 cast and crew are full of excitement and trepidation (have we remembered everything?!) for the 7-day excursion which will include dizzying logistics, heavy security, little sleep, and some wonderful opportunities to enjoy the highs and lows of the Olympic experience.  Our detailed schedule can be found on the DRUM! website under “shows and tickets”.  We start at Atlantic Canada House on Monday night – among friends and family.  It should be a blast!