The day after Stampede ended, the Calgary Stampede Showband took the Calgary Stampede’s western spirit internationally as they embarked on their 2017 tour to compete in the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. The tour will culminate in a final performance of their 2017 production, Mosaic, for a 20,000 person audience on July 31, 2017. Held every four years, the World Music Contest is like the Olympics of the performing arts – it is internationally recognized as the most significant international festival for music for wind and brass instruments.

It is no easy feat for any group to embark on such an adventure. A marching band relies on the ingenuity and hard work of its members, staff, and volunteers to plan, schedule, and coordinate such a trip.  The Showband will be competing in the Netherlands and will also visit Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom over the 19 day tour.

Here’s a look at what really goes into taking a 150 person marching band on tour. Follow the Showband on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on the competition and to learn more about what is involved with a marching band tour.

3 tour buses

The Showband will be traveling across Europe in three tour buses. One of these buses is a double decker!

12 volunteers

The Showband owes tremendous gratitude to their hardworking volunteers who give their time to make a tour of this magnitude possible. These volunteers are responsible for a range of tasks including first aid, hydration, meals and snacks, equipment and props, truck driving, social media and uniforms.

19 staff

Dedicated teaching staff bring their specialized skills to craft a world-class performance.  Showband instructors include local Calgary music teachers and Showband and Drum Corps International (DCI) alumni.

7000 kg of equipment

Nearly 7000kg of instruments, props and uniforms pieces are shipped separately from the Showband members’ luggage. Every piece of equipment is meticulously inventoried and organized so that the band can quickly unload and resume rehearsal when they arrive in Europe. Members pack other parts of their uniforms, such as their iconic red boots, belt buckles, cowboy hats and Wrangler jeans in their own luggage.

1600 uniform pieces

900 uniform pieces, including the Showband’s black, red and white dress uniforms are part of the equipment shipped to Europe. Another 700 pieces are packed in the students’ luggage including their red western uniforms, belt buckles, distinctive white Smithbilt cowboy hats and signature red boots.

200 drumsticks

Due to the Showband’s rigorous rehearsal and performance schedules, less durable instrument pieces can easily break or wear out. Each drummer will go through about eight sets of drumsticks!

876.5 hours of rehearsal  

The Showband regularly puts in 12-hour days to perfect every aspect of the performance.