They say it takes 10,000 hours to become the best at whatever it is you want to do. I have no idea how much time military musicians spend rehearsing, but upon close inspection, there's no question they start at a young age.
The annual International Festival of Military Bands, held last week in Quebec City, demonstrated just how young they can be, and just how good uniformed musicians can sound. The best part was the end-of-festival parade, which wound through Old Quebec City, drums rattling windows, horns echoing off cobblestones, and bagpipes whirling flags hanging overhead.
The music was mighty compelling, and I find myself toe-tapping and tearing up at turns (the brass section always gets me). For a moment, I wished I was that good at any of the instruments I (used to) play.
Then, I got a hold of myself and kept shooting photos. Because, photographs keep the bands marching, and the tunes lively, in my mind. And, those images make it out into the world, carrying the cadence along with them.
Besides, those poor musicians were marching, huffing and puffing, hardly got a break, and did it all in thick dress uniforms under a blazing sun. They surely train for that, but it appeared we spectators had the better end of the deal.