This month, the Stampede Showband will bring Calgary’s unique brand of western hospitality to Japan to defend its title in the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) world championships. On August 11, the Showband will perform its 2013 field show, titled “Momentum”, in Chiba, Japan. This is the Showband’s 4th trip to Japan, with the last time being 15 years ago in 1997.

The mirrored yoga balls used in "Momentum" are each covered with over 5000 tiny shiny stickers!
The mirrored yoga balls used in “Momentum” are each covered with over 5000 tiny shiny stickers!

Momentum roughly translates to Kasokudo in Japanese, which in itself means to progress through different stages of speed and velocity. The 2013 field show explores the various concepts of momentum including weight, speed, force, chaos, chain reactions, and collisions. During the show, the audience sees the Showband depict a train crash and build a Newton’s Cradle, among other impressive choreography that features the use of yoga balls as props. Check out the Showband’s most recent performance of Momentum from Showbands Live! held during Stampede Week.

Even the Showband's musicians learn complex choreography to make the field show captivating and exciting.
Even the Showband’s musicians learn complex choreography to make the field show captivating and exciting.

The only three-time WAMSB world champions of marching bands, the Showband is composed of 124 musicians and dancers. In 2012, the Showband won the WAMSB world championships at home, performing “The Legend Continues”, a field show that captured the spirit of the Calgary Stampede’s centennial. In addition to the annual Calgary Stampede ten day celebration, the Showband makes over 200 appearances in the community every year!

Showband members take over 15 000 steps during the Ten Day Stampede, walking to and from their performances on Stampede Park.

The Showband has worked extremely hard to prepare for this experience. Over the past year they have rehearsed for nearly 500 hours (not including practicing they do at home and in their school music programs!) and learned approximately 5500 notes of music. They also do physical conditioning to prepare for the intense physicality of the field show and to help with endurance during performances.

The Showband rehearsed for 12 hours each day leading up to the World Championships. Even on their days off, the drumline got together to rehearse on their own because they are so motivated to win in Japan.
The Showband rehearsed for 12 hours each day leading up to the World Championships. Even on their days off, the drumline got together to rehearse on their own because they are so motivated to win in Japan.

The Showband is taking 69 crates of equipment weighing over 15000 lbs to Japan, not including their personal luggage! In addition to the WAMSB competition, the Showband will perform at Tokyo Disney and visit the Yamaha factory where many of their instruments were made. You can follow the progress of this hardworking group as they tour Japan on Facebook or Twitter. Please wish them luck by tweeting at @ShowbandCS!