Micro Magic, a subset of the Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps, enthusiastically brought the spirit of American drum and bugle corps to the people of Japan with a number of performances in Okayama, Japan, a major city a few hours south of Osaka.Under the direction of Rod Owens,the thirteen horns, four percussion, and five guard members who made the trip performed at a variety of venues throughout the city prior to the October 8 Autumn Music Games and Festival, part of the national holiday, Sports Day.Everywhere the ensemble went, they were met with thunderous applause, and afterwards, they were swarmed by enthusiastic mobs seeking autographs. Seeing drum corps members treated as rock stars was quite a sight to witness. The actual festival began with an exhibition by Everland, a Korean theme park ensemble, and Micro Magic. The first competing units are without any parallel in the United States; large drum ensembles of kids as young as 3-years-old. It's almost impossible to even begin to attempt to describe these ensembles, but they are very, very good and are an unforgettable sight.. Most march with flags and synthesizers, and do a great amount of drill.The festival also includes marching bands and baton twirling units of all age levels, proving that a variety of marching activities are thriving in Japan.One thing that strikes someone who hasn't traveled to Japan before is how good all the groups play. All performers pull their weight on the floor. Music training in Japan is first-rate.As for the reference to "on the floor," Japanese drum corps competitions are all indoors, on a square floor that serves many sporting activities, about the length and depth of the length of a basketball court.The drum corps and older marching bands were judged by a combination of Japanese and DCI judges; including Joe Allison, Jeff Prosperie, Bob Thomas, Paul Hinman, Phil Madden, and Todd Ditchendorf. Todd had presented exhibitions of his DCI I&E winning technique with the mace, and would go on to present a clinic in Tokyo. This event was sponsored by Dynasty USA, coordinated by R. Allan Murray, Vice President, as part of the company's commitment to take the positive message found within the marching music activity and spread it around the globe. The local coordinator of the event was Sadao Yokota, no stranger to DCI events.
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