Members of the Red Deer Royals Marching Band, which recently won a gold medal at the World Music Competition in the Netherlands, perform during the annual Westerner Days Parade. (Advocate file photo)

Strong showing by Red Deer Royals on international stage

Competing against show marching bands from Japan, Colombia, Netherlands

Red Deer’s renowned show band is coming home from Europe with their heads held high.

Competing against bands from Europe, Thailand, Colombia and Japan, the Red Deer Royals showed they could hold their own with a gold medal performance.

The group has spend more than a week in the Netherlands for the World Music Competition. The event, held in Kerkrade (Located near the country’s border with Germany, was expected to draw 350,000 to the city.

Speaking on the phone from Amsterdam on Sunday, band director Michael Mann said he was very proud of what the Royals had accomplished.

“It was a wonderful experience to perform on an international stage,” said Mann. “For us, with the gold win, you have to earn it, they don’t give it away for free.

“We we’re going in knowing we had a good show based on our results from a competition in Calgary. But you never know until you get here and see what the judges are going to think. We were pleased.”

For their performance on July 23, they performed a piece called Elements, one they have worked on since January.

“It has four sections, each for earth, wind, water and fire,” said Mann. “We started in January with both the music and the drill show. We’ve been working pretty steady at it and today was our last performance, in Amsterdam.”

The judges gave the Red Deer Royals a score of 80.83.

Mann said they didn’t have much time to watch the other bands, but they did get to see the Nishihara High School Marching Band, out of Nishihara, Japan, and he praised their dedication and precision.

“Those things that band had are something to strive for,” said Mann.

The Nishihara team took the top spot in the Royals’ category with a score of 95.08. At the end of the competition, the Royals’ score put them in 22nd overall.

“I’m very proud of this organization and what they accomplished and achieved on the world stage,” said Mann.

On top of their performance for the World Music Competition, the band performed in Amsterdam; Bruges, Belgium; Ypres, Belgium; and the Hague.

Central Alberta’s only marching show band has 120 members from the region. They are between the ages of 11 and 21.

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