It feels good to be Officially Amazing™! But is it worth putting more than a year of planning and two tries before getting the title? Absolutely!
The idea has been floating in the minds of the volunteer committee members of the non-profit society for a couple years. But exactly how to achieve it is not something they are capable of doing and that’s where Choice Communication came in. In April 2017, we started to put the puzzle pieces together.
With certain restrictions, we were not able to use the original idea of having snare drummers represented in various cities or provinces to break a record. After much negotiation, we worked with the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ team to come up with a brand new record of “Most Nationalities in a Drum Circle”. This is perfect as the vision is to showcase cultural diversity, the fact that we can use drums from different cultures is ideal.
Time was not on our side. By the time the record attempt is determined, it’s already June 1st, and we could only secure drummers from 37 nationalities. Despite the shortfall, everyone gave their best and was determined to give it another try.
So we did. We started the preparation much earlier and, with one year of experience under our belt, we were able to recruit drummers from 65 nationalities as of June 30. We used various channels including the website, traditional media, social media, community groups, and, of course, word of mouth.
As anyone experienced in PR and event planning would testify, the two most unpredictable things are weather and people. The setup day was rainy and cold, I couldn’t recall any Canada Day weather to be like this. Even the morning of the day was drizzling and cold, and black clouds were looming. We were fortunate that most drummers showed up nice and early for the final practice. However, some drummers did not; but we had newcomers from hearing about it in the media. In the end, we achieved 61 nationalities with 107 drummers. We had to make improvisation but, again, what’s new for an event of this scale?
Everyone involved was ecstatic not just because of the record but by how everyone’s heart was united through the rhythm of the drums. Even after the five minutes were over, drummers went on for a much longer period just to feel the patriotic spirit, something worth celebrating for.
Did I mention that we also had simultaneous drumming across 12 cities and five time zones? The cities included Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax; with the new cities being Edmonton, Kamloops, Prince George, and Prince Rupert. The idea is to embrace diversity, create understanding, and celebrate unity through drum beats, one beat at a time.
“It’s been a privilege working with the non-profit society that came up with such brilliant ideas of simultaneous drumming and GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ attempt. To be able to overcome the enormous challenges and to achieve the desired results is very rewarding,” says Helen Yu, Managing Director of Choice Communication and national Project Manager of Canada Day Drumming celebration.