By Andy Doerschuk Published November 30, 2010The sound of drums rumbled across North America on November 7 as 15 Five-Star drum shops held the third annual Big Beat. A total of 1,454 drum set players and 199 hand percussionists participated, along with approximately 6,000 spectators at the 15 locations. Nearly $54,000 was raised for charity and about 6,000 pounds of food was collected! The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation will get almost $36,000 to purchase musical instruments for deserving children in Big Beat cities and the remaining $18,000 will go to children’s organizations and food pantries in various Big Beat areas.
Each location had a variety of fun events throughout the day, from demonstrations by drum corps groups to percussion ensembles to Brazilian samba units. Some had guest appearances by major-name drummers like Kenny Aronoff, Jason Bittner, Bun E. Carlos, Rick Latham, Thomas Pridgen, Jeremy Taggart, Derico Watson and Alan White, among others. And one lucky drummer in Minneapolis-St. Paul won the national prize, a Dream Theater replica tour bass drumhead autographed by the entire band just for this occasion.
The highlight of the day was when all of the drummers and percussionists in the 15 cities played the same groove at the same time, a feat that was achieved through a video internet connection, with the director in each city following the conductor in Seattle.