From September 16 to 18, 2022, the 3rd International Rudimental Drummers Symposium took place in Porthsmouth. This blog is not intended to create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) in you, but rather to give you a glimpse of the experiences we as Rudimental Drummers have had. Building on Mark Reilly's thought that we cannot keep our passion, traditions and experiences to ourselves, but can only share them, we are happy to share our lessons from this event. The biggest eye-opener? It is incredibly important to be in touch with drummers from all directions of the earth. Why, you will read further on.
Presentations and a joint concert
First, a brief outline of the events that took place from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18, so you can get an idea of what an international symposium for Rudimental Drummers entails. All participants can relive the moments by reading this. On Friday afternoon there were presentations by drummers (and fifers) from a diverse range of countries: Greece, Argentina, Spain, Chile, Germany, Japan and others. The Greeks showed a special fusion of their traditional folk dancing with today's rudimental drumming. The Japanese told how in their country there is both a rich history of Taiko drumming and also an important tradition of fifes and drums.
On Saturday, presentations were continued by the countries of Scotland, England, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and America. Led by Brendon Mason, the Connecticut Patriots Fife and Drum Corps took us through their rich history as a Fife and Drum Corps. Pipe band drummer Tam Barnes, for example, talked about how the Scottish style differs in musical notation from American and Swiss. Théo Régis teached some special French rudiments. The past two days were a special mix of styles, philosophies and traditions.
"We don't exist because we want to get rich, but we rather have a tremendous passion for the percussive arts, and that's why we like to contribute to events like this."
On Sunday morning followed brief presentations by the main sponsors, including ourselves. Apparently, every sponsor had the same message: we don't exist because we want to get rich, but we rather have a tremendous passion for the percussive arts, and that's why we like to contribute to events like this. That's also where synergy occurs. Instead of trying to make things difficult for each other, our community actually has a core of small businesses that work together to try to strengthen the community. The Symposium concluded with a joint concert in which everyone participated. With nearly 70 drummers and a dozen or so fifers, we played Arabi (Swiss style), Illawalla (British style), Crazy Army and Downfall of Paris (American style) and Taptoe (French style).
Text continues below this picture.
The answers to the questions are changing
You may be thinking now: okay a few presentations and a joint concert: little missed. But don't think too easily. Albert Einstein once spoke the words, "We live in a time where the questions may be the same, but the answers to those questions are changing. What once brought you here does not necessarily take you further." And that's exactly why a symposium like this is vital to our drumming community. Our traditions have brought us where we are today, but that doesn't mean they will naturally take us forward. For that, we need to take action ourselves. Get in touch with other traditions and move ourselves and the community forward. And that is exactly what happened at this Symposium. The different performers of the different styles enriched each other and themselves.
And finally: Of course you can also watch videos and enrich yourself that way. That's good. But music is not only about seeing, learning and performing. Music is also about feeling and experiencing. For that, face-to-face contact is so incredibly valuable. So we can't wait for the next symposium.
"We live in a time where the questions may be the same, but the answers to those questions are changing. What once brought you here does not necessarily take you further." - Albert Einstein