Now almost fifteen and a devoted percussionist, he and I attended opening night of a three day engagement at the Fox Cities P.A.C. to watch the group who jump started my son’s percussive journey. I was curious to see if STOMP could still create the same magic for him today as it did so many years ago.
STOMP debuted on the U.K. stage in 1991. It was the culmination of a ten year collaborative effort between two street performer friends. Since then, STOMP has appeared in more than three dozen countries and has been one of the most financially successful off-Broadway shows in history.
The novelty of STOMP is its ability to reappoint everyday objects like brooms, matchboxes, folding chairs, tire tubes and paint cans as instruments to create rhythmic sounds. More importantly, they demonstrate rhythm can be created not only by “drumming,” but also in motions such as sweeping, opening and closing chairs, sliding objects and clicking lighters. It expands the concept of what can become music. It was a landmark experience for us then, and has remained so ever since.
Opening with their classic broom scene, STOMP shares another important experience with us, which is a recurring theme in their pieces. Music can be started or created by one, as in
this case of a single sweeper, but it can easily be expanded to include many, thus creating a community, each with their own variation and the ability to come back to a common whole. It shares with us the value of a group experience when creating and participating in music.
And yes, STOMP still holds as much magic for Max as a teen as it did when he was a toddler. He enjoyed the old and new pieces as much now as he did then, but viewed them in a new light with his ability to recognize identifiable percussion rhythms in them. I was reminded of what a thoroughly enjoyable performance STOMP is with its choreography, comedic elements, and unrelenting infectious rhythms. In fact, as we walked into the night, I’m quite certain a few more young percussion converts awaited as they drummed on thighs, doors and light poles, and I smiled for nostalgia of my own experience as well as the thought that STOMP once again may have very well forever changed the destiny of someone else in that crowd tonight.