DRUMline: more than just a half-time show

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DRUMline: more than just a half-time show

Americans may associate marching bands with football, cheerleaders or at least, well, marching.

But when DRUMline Live comes to Seoul this week, they’ll be up on stage instead.

The name may be familiar from the 2002 hit Hollywood movie “Drumline,” about a fierce rivalry between two university marching bands.

In fact, it was Don Roberts, the producer of the band in that film, who first thought of putting these performers on stage. But DRUMline Live isn’t exactly the movie come to life - instead, it’s a concentrated batch of songs without a narrative.

With eight percussionists, nine trumpeters, six trombonists, five tuba players, two saxophonists, and of course the marching snare drummers, the live show presents “riveting rhythms and bold beats.” But that’s not all this band can do - dance and acrobatic performances are also part of the show.

“Most of the performers started to play instruments when they were 10, and they began their careers in marching bands at 13,” said Yu Jin-sun, a general manager at New Venture Entertainment, which promotes the DRUMline Live show.

It was Marilyn Magness’s job to bring these various artists together to create an organized, non-verbal musical performance. Magness, a former show director for Disney, is a veteran in the field and has produced numerous shows and parades for Disneyland parks worldwide.

The roughly 40 members of the band had to go through an intense training program to prepare, practicing their skills and choreographed routines at least 16 hours a day.

DRUMline Live finally kicked off its grand tour this January, marching its way across the U.S. from Texas to New York with stops in 60 cities. Last week, the crew flew to Asia to play a sold-out extravaganza in Japan.

In Seoul, the band will be performing many hit songs by popular groups such as Earth, Wind, and Fire, Tower of Power, the Jackson 5 and Ray Charles. The show runs from Friday to Sunday.

Performances will take place at Olympic Hall in Olympic Park, starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday. To get to the venue, go to Olympic Park Station, line No. 5, exit 3. Ticket prices range from 22,000 won ($16) to 88,000 won. For more information, visit www.drumlinelive.co.kr or call 1544-1681.

By Lee Hae-joo Contributing writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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