I am at least 3 posts behind on this blog. We just went on another trip last weekend of June 17-19 so I’d better get caught up!
April 22, 2016 we left for Norfolk to see the Virginia International Tattoo. It should have been an easy 3 hour drive that took us nearly 7 due to construction, rush hour, rain and accidents (not ours).
On the way, we stopped at a Denny’s. I managed to insult waitress by saying that probably most of the customers were off the highway. She said that there were lots of regulars, not just off the highway – in a very huffy tone. Oh, well.
We eventually got to our AirBnB thanks to our Waze app.
We never would have found it otherwise.
Since we got there pretty late, we did a bit of grocery shopping at a former 7-Eleven. Dinner was just cereal and we went to bed…after watching a few episodes of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime.
I loved this poster in our AirBnb:
Saturday was the Day!
We got up in the morning and headed to the Scope Arena just after noon.
There were all kinds of Bagpipe groups in competition (a Tattoo Hullabaloo). We wandered around the Scope arena and watched some of the bands warming up. Here’s one doing their competition numbers:
The Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps (sorry some of this got sideways)
There was this really neat carillon:
Beyond offering star performers from many disciplines, the Virginia Arts Festival is literally announcing itself this year by ringing the bells.
To mark its 20th anniversary, VAF will unveil a 23-bell mobile carillon, something of a mobile ambassador that will be playable by everyone. It’s roughly the size of a semi truck with a car carrier, serving as both mammoth musical instrument and sculptural art. The bells are mounted on a frame that spells out “VAF” that will be driven to venues to ring home the point that each event is associated with the arts festival.
The instrument is engineered so that a person can play it at a keyboard or ring the individual bells by pulling levers.
Impossible to miss, the carillon, which cost $415,000 and was funded by an anonymous donor, will be parked in front of 12 events during the festival, including opening night tonight at MacArthur Center.
“This iconic structure speaks to the tradition that church bells have played in the history of greater Norfolk,” VAF Perry Artistic Director Rob Cross said in a statement.
VAF went with a venerable manufacturer for the structure. It was made by the Verdin Co., a Cincinnati-based company that has been making bells, carillons and large clocks for 173 years. Verdin’s work can be seen at Walt Disney World, the University of Notre Dame and other spots around the country.
While the framework is custom-made, the bells are old and carry an interesting history. They were refurbished from a carillon built in 1928, commissioned by graduates of the now-defunct, all-female Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn., to honor troops killed in Flanders, Belgium, during World War I.
The 23 bells, cast in England, were mounted in a converted water tower. The carillon was dedicated during homecoming week at Ward-Belmont in 1929. Five years later, the bells pealed “Hail to the Chief” when President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt visited. But in 1951, as financial woes mounted, the carillon was dismantled and the school closed.
The bells stayed silent for more than six decades. Belmont University, the successor institution, built a new carillon for its campus, and the Verdin Co. acquired the old bells, which were refurbished for the VAF structure.
VAF’s Cross said: “It is a beautiful marriage of the past and the future. What a wonderful way of continuing our goal of taking the festival beyond the concert hall.”
About 4:00, it started to rain, so they moved us all indoors. The Jordanian Armed Forces Bagpipe Band (they played outside, above) kept us entertained while the bands prepared to move inside.
When the rain stopped, they moved us back outside to finish the competition and name the winners. The New York Metro Pipe Band won their category and both bands from Scotland (Inveraray and District Pipe Band and Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band) won theirs. In the DrumLine Battle, it was an easy winner since all but one dropped out.
We were right up close for the walkoff:
At 7:00 the show started.
Here’s my video of part of the closing program with Colin Powell:
A bit of a sing-a-long:
Here’s the entire show, in one long playlist:
In case you’re wondering – yes, we have tickets for next year!
Sunday was pretty uneventful coming home.
Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Competition Noon-5:00 PM
Awards and Massed Piping Performance 6:00 PM
SCOPE PLAZA, NORFOLK
No other event in the United States will feature this many top-level pipe bands.
The Virginia International Tattoo will host the first annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship on Scope Plaza in Norfolk, Virginia. The competition, which coincides with the Tattoo performance weekend, will feature Grade 1 and Grade 2 pipe bands from around the world.
Bands will compete from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Scope Plaza, and awards will be presented at 6:00 PM followed by a massed piping performance.
Vendors will be on- site for all of your food and drink needs.
GRADE 1—Top Grade
Virginia International Tattoo Hullabaloo
April 23, 2016, 4:30 – 7:30
Scope Plaza, Norfolk
April 23, 2016, 5:00 PM
Scope Plaza, Norfolk
DrumLine Battle is back! A favorite event of the 2015 Hullabaloo, DrumLine Battle showcases marching percussion ensembles of any instrumentation and any skill level year-round, spotlighting their unique talents and creativity in a high energy face-to-face competition. You might see a Canadian pipe band versus a German military band or a Swiss drum corps versus an American fife and drum band!
The 20th Annual Virginia International Tattoo
A Time to Celebrate- 20 years of Spectacular Performances
A Time to Remember- 20 years of Service and Sacrifice
Saturday, April 23, 7:30pm
The 2016 Virginia International Tattoo will celebrate the past 20 years with an extraordinary, once in a lifetime cast of performers and a recorded video tribute by General Colin Powell with script by legendary war correspondent Joe Galloway.
Included are the Swiss drum corps Top Secret, a Dutch Band on Bicycles, world champion pipers from the Highlands of Scotland, a massed choir of EPIC proportions, and the very finest performers the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have to offer.
The heartbeat of the Virginia International Tattoo is always its extraordinary international cast. Every year, the Tattoo includes military bands, drill teams, bagpipers, drummers, celtic dancers, choirs and more from around the globe to create a spectacular performance.
Each year the cast is different but the spirit of the cast remains the same. We invite groups from the U.S. and our key allies who epitomize talent, discipline, hard work and pride. Whether they are young civilian dancers from Canada or military pipers with combat experience from Scotland or our local Navy Band nicknamed “The Finest of the Fleet”, these performers and their passion for the traditions and cultures that they represent will inspire you.
51 ACU Swan Regiment Drums and Pipes
In 2002, the 51 Army Cadet Unit was formed when the 2/28th Battalion and the 24th Anti-Tank Company Association members donated funds for the purchase of 21 drums and 21 Australian National Flags. Each flag was a representation of the 100 former members killed in action in World War II. When bagpipes were added to the mix in 2011, the Drum Corps transformed into the Drums and Pipes, as seen today.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band
The Presbyterian Ladies’ College was founded in 1915 in Perth, Western Australia, with a strong Scottish heritage. In 1934, the Black Watch tartan uniform was introduced. The Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band was formed in 1980 and today these two icons have become tangible reminders of the heritage.
OzScot Australia Highland Dancers
First established in 2000, the OzScot Australia Highland Dancers is a team of 24, ranging in ages 15-25. What is so interesting about this team is that the first time they work together is upon arrival at the international event they are performing. These dancers all have held or are currently holding titles and all hale from various parts of Australia, representing the Celtic community of Australia and promoting the country, highland dancing and friendship.
8 Wing Trenton Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums
The Canadian Forces Base 8 Wing Trenton Pipes and Drums represents the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Canadian Air Force and is comprised of both current serving members, some being veterans of the Bosnia conflict and the war in Afghanistan, and civilian volunteers. The band carries with it all calibers of players from beginners to those who compete professionally and at the World Pipeband Championships in Grade 1.
Heeresmusikkorps Kassel, German Army Band Kassel
The Heeresmusikkorps Kassel was formed in 1956 and is the only military band of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces of Germany) in the state of Hesse. This Army orchestra plays all over the globe, performing in both modern and traditional styles while “presenting musical culture in its most beautiful form.”
Jordanian Armed Forces Bagpipe Band
The Jordanian Armed Forces Band was established in 1921 with a core of 10 musicians. In the decades to come, the full band, seven musical groups including an orchestra, was formed includes more than 500 musicians today. Forty members of the Bagpipe Band are participating in this Tattoo.
Band of the Netherlands Mounted Arms Regiment
The Band of the Netherlands Mounted Regiment is one of the two professional orchestras within the Royal Netherlands Army and the only full-time professional military fanfare orchestra in the world. The band continues the traditions of the Bicycle Music Corps, sporting uniforms issued in 1914, playing on the period-correct bent instruments and even performing while riding bicycles.
Top Secret Drum Corps
Formed in 1990 by a group of enthusiastic, talented young drummers from the Swiss city of Basel, Top Secret’s energetic and unpredictable drumming performances incorporate the traditions of Basel, Scottish and American styles. Top Secret’s members are highly dedicated drummers with diverse backgrounds.
Inveraray and District Pipe Band
Stuart Liddell, one of the world’s top solo players, began coaching 5 younger pipers in 2003, calling itself the Inveraray Piping Project. The Inveraray and District Pipe Band were officially formed in 2005. Their first performance took 13th of 17 spots in the Novice Juvenile Division at Cowal Games with borrowed drums and its young members in uniforms of various colors. Fast forward to 2015 and the Inveraray and District Pipe Band has become a leading competitor in Grade 1 Division competitions.
Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band
The Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band is a Grade 1 pipe band from Fife, Scotland, and was established in September 2007. The band’s first competition at the Dunbar Highland Games in May 2008 saw them awarded first prize in Grade 1. In August of the same year the band made their first appearance at the World Pipe Band Championships and gained entry into the Grade 1 final, having achieved second place among fourteen bands in the morning qualifying round. Consistently a top 12 competitor, Police Scotland Fife is a band to watch in the 2016 competition season!
Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums
The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are musical ambassadors for Colonial Williamsburg and perform there nearly 500 times a year. The Fifes and Drums are composed of boys and girls from the local community aged 14–18. They represent the Virginia State Garrison Regiment of 1778, whose field musicians were vital to commanders for marching the regiment in proper cadence and for beating daily ceremonies—Reveille, the Assembly, the Retreat, and the Tattoo.
Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
Established in 1972, Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the largest NJROTC units in the Hampton Roads Area. They were recognized with The Navy League’s 2011-2012 Most Outstanding NJROTC unit in Area 5 and the #2 NJROTC in the nation and awarded the Naval Service Training Command Distinguished Unit award with academic honors.
Hampton Roads Police Color Guard
With a mission to protect and serve, members of the Chesapeake and Norfolk Police Departments proudly represent their cities in a display of integrity and honor.
Quantico Marine Corps Band
Established in 1918, the Quantico Marine Corps Band is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. With an authorized strength of one officer and 50 enlisted Marines, the band has performed at many recognized civilian events; including the Super Bowl XLI Pregame Show, the 9/11 Memorials at Carnegie Hall and the Town Arts Theatre, Times Square, the Macy’s Thanksgiving and Columbus Day Parades in New York City, numerous appearances at The Virginia International Tattoo, and the Opening Ceremony for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The band’s mission is to provide musical support that will encourage community relations, enhance troop morale, and promote the Marine Corps recruiting program through its demanding performance schedule. As well as musical support, the members of the band also fulfill their duties as Marine Riflemen. In support of the War in Iraq, 17 members of the band were attached to Task Force National Capitol Region and deployed conducting combat operations. These Marines returned to the band in June 2008.
Rhythm Project All Stars
The Rhythm Project is a world percussion ensemble dedicated to the nurturing of self-esteem through individual and cooperative achievement. Founded in 1996 by the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rhythm Project consists of four elementary and middle school groups along with the premiere high school ensemble, the All Stars, who will be performing at this year’s Tattoo.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band
The TRADOC Marching Band supports larger reviews and parades for Headquarters TRADOC and Fort Eustis. The TRADOC Band’s mission is to provide music for Headquarters, TRADOC’s areas of interest by fostering Soldier and family morale, ‘Telling the Army Story’ to the civilian community, and supporting the strategic messages of the Commanding General, TRADOC. The Marching Band is featured at the Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk, Virginia every other year, where it performs for over 30,000 in the largest military tattoo in North America. The Marching Band can also be seen at many area Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day Parades.
U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team
Members of the Drill Team have double duties in the Honor Guard where their duties include Firing Party, Body Bearing Team and Colors. When not involved with their Honor Guard duties, the Drill Team is on the road, representing the Coast Guard in a wide variety of parades, competitions and celebrations.
Coast Guardsman who apply for a position on the Drill Team work closely with members of the present Drill Team to prepare for their first performance. Once a prospect has advanced in his or her initial training they are placed in an actual Drill Team performance. If the member successfully completes the performance with no flaws they are then accepted on the Drill Team where they continue to hone their skills.
In order for the team to become one cohesive unit they practice five days a week for a minimum of two hours each day.
U.S. Fleet Forces Band
Known as “The Finest of the Fleet”, the band is the musical representative for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. The band provides musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries and community events throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley areas of the U.S. and also regularly deploys to Central and South America.
U.S. Marine Corps FAST Co.
These highly trained Marines provide limited duration expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces in support of designated component and geographic combatant commanders in order to protect vital naval and national assets. Conduct other limited duration contingency operations as directed by the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command. Their Mission Essential Tasks are to provide forward deployed, expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces to support designated commanders, protect vital national assets, establish or augment security and to maintain permanent forces to provide security for strategic weapons at designated facilities. At the Tattoo, FAST Co. will provide a military skills demonstration that illustrates the fitness of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus
800 singers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Virginia International Tattoo. The Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus is the largest gathering of voices ever to be in the Tattoo! Dr. Craig D. Jessop, Professor of Music and founding Dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University and former music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will conduct the chorus in performing a premiere piece created just for this event. Participating choruses include: Booker T. Washington High School Chorus, Churchland High School Chorus, Granby High School Chorus, Kempsville High School Chorus, Lake Taylor High School Chorus, Landstown High School Chorus, Maury High School Chorale, Norview High School Chorus, Old Dominion University Concert Choir, Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School, Virginia Children’s Chorus, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Wake & District Pipe Band
Based in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, the Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (Wake & District) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to improve piping and drumming quality, culture and tradition in the region. Established in 2006, the program honors those who sacrifice their lives while serving others, standing for the motto “FOR OUR FALLEN”