Drum Corps International
Brasso continuo -- Great White Stick

Brasso continuo -- Great White Stick

by Drum Corps International

Before important contests back in the 1980s, some corps' drum lines would receive a visit from a paranormal percussion figure known as the "Great White Stick," according to former percussion instructor Larry Blandford. Blandford recalls that various drum lines he was associated with (including the Toronto Optimist, Oakland Crusaders, Canadian Knights,Dutch Boy, Kiwanis Kavaliers, St.John's and the Ventures) would conjure up this "imposing figure" (always dressed from head to toe in all white) with an incantation of sorts. "We would all stand in the middle of the field, the darkest part, and chant, 'Oh Great White Stick, oh Great White Stick, give our chops the strength we need,' over and over again until out of the woods the Great White Stick would appear. This would happen annually at the last camp before tour began on the Saturday night. You can imagine the shock and reaction from the rookies in the line. This was a topic of discussion for many weeks," Blandford said. Like Bigfoot, the Great White Stick can appear in various geographical locations. He can also be summoned with a variety of incantations. Former Phantom Regiment drummer Jason Parent remembers, "The chanting of "the great white stick never ticks -- the great white stick never ticks" over and over would evoke his spirit. We usually played with no ticks after that!" Parent says that "With the gathering of a drum line, alone in the middle of the field late on a summer night and with this weary chant, he may appear!" No confirmed photographical evidence of the Great White Stick exists, just like the Loch Ness Monster. Parent says, "No one I know was able to take pics of this 'stick' man running across the field." Blandford's last run-in with the Great White Stick was in 1989, when he was teaching the Ventures. "After a late night of rehearsing, walking back to the school, a tall figure in white ran in front of the drum line. To this day I still don't have any idea of what or who it was." If anyone else out there has witnessed the Great White Stick, or a parapsychological drum corps phenomenon along these lines, let us (dave@dci.org) know. In Brasso continuo we'll explore the traditions, rituals and folklore surrounding the drum corps activity. If you know of a ritual, bit of folklore or tradition associated with a corps, e-mail the details to dave@dci.org. If you have a picture of that particular ritual or tradition, e-mail that as well. Thanks!

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