Johnsonville Santa Parade

Merry Christmas! (again)

The Johnsonville Santa parade has been a fixture on Wellington Batucada’s annual gig list for quite a few years now, and I can totally see why. It’s completely delightful.

I think what the Jonhsonville Parade has in abundance is a sense of community. It has a real small-town feel that takes you right back to your childhood, and there’s a sense of magic in the air somehow. It’s a real pleasure to be a part of.

Before the start of the parade we were waiting in line next to the local Boy Scouts’ float, so we gave them an impromptu preview of our show, which they seemed impressed by. Apologies mums and dads if any of your kids were all “What?” when they got home that afternoon…

The parade route isn’t very big – just four streets that make up four sides of a square, beginning and ending at the local school, and it was pretty much packed the whole way along with families and people out for an afternoon in the sun, waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa (and us, of course!).

At one point, for reasons best known to himself (yeah thanks Tim!), Tim decided to get the surdos to speed up a bit during the samba – but instead of signalling them to maintain a particular pace once they’d reached the band’s max velocity, he just let them keep on getting faster and faster, which they were more than happy to do (yeah thanks surdos!).

Mayhem ensued, as those of us with *cough* more difficult instruments (which require us to play more complex rhythms with more notes than the surdos) struggled to keep up with the killer pace – the caixas transitioning from samba clavé down to straight samba and then, as the pace continued to increase, dropping a note within the simpler pattern, from four to three beats in a bar.

Eventually, just as the entire band was just about to keel over from exhaustion (and the surdos were about to keel over with uncontrollable giggling) Tim brought the piece to a merciful close, much to the amusement of the crowd. And the surdos.

Excellent fun! Let’s do it all again next year!

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