Posts Tagged ‘mike dolbear’

London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony Drummers interview

Ralph Salmins, Paul Clarvis, Mike Dolbear

London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony Drummers

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics on the 27th July was a spectacle for the eighty thousand people within the stadium and the estimated  four billion that watched from around the world. Danny Boyle, Artistic Director for the ceremony, wanted drummers to feature heavily throughout the event and so used one thousand of them to add drama, movement and intensity to the telling of the history of Great Britain. Many of those drummers were volunteers and some had never even played before.

The task of auditioning and training the drummers was given to Ralph Salmins, Mike Dolbear and Paul Clarvis, as well as 21 drum captains. To tell us more about the event from their different points of view I interviewed Mike Dolbear, Nick Marangoni, a professional drummer who was one of the drum captains, and Gillian Bennet, who moved to the UK from Brisbane, Australia last year and was one of the volunteers.

How did you become part of the Opening Ceremony?

Mike – Ralph Salmins was originally approached by Martin Koch, who was the Musical Director for the whole of the Olympics. Within the second meeting Ralph felt the job was to big for him on his own and put my name forward to coordinate the drummers, which I agreed to be involved. I didn’t really know what I was getting into because of the confidentiality.

Nick – At the beginning of March Mike told me that they had some drum captains who had dropped out. Most of them got together in November and they did the auditions for the volunteers and went to the stadium to test the sound.  In March all the dates of the rehearsals were given out and some captains couldn’t commit to them. At the end of March we were supposed to do some meetings with Paul Clarvis to practise the patterns, just for the teachers. Mike knew that I’m a teacher and I do some percussion groups with my students so he asked me if I wanted to be involved. For me it wasn’t the same as it had been for the others because I was filling in when someone dropped out.

Gillian - I first heard about it in November at a Christmas party because a friend I work with said, ”I got in. I’m going to be in the opening ceremony” and that’s all he could tell me. I thought I had missed my chance to be a part of it and at the end of January, on the last date you could apply to get an audition, I heard someone in the office say, ”They’re looking for male drummers”. I quickly went online and I thought if they only wanted male drummers I”d go for something else.

To read the interview in full click here to visit


Meinl Drum Festival 2012

I’ve just settled back into normal life after experiencing Meinl Drum Festival at the weekend in Gutenstetten, Germany. It was amazing! It was my first time at the festival and the only way I can describe it is by saying it was like being in a parallel universe where everyone is a drummer, everyone is positive and kind and everything runs smoothly.

Mike Dolbear and I met at Munich airport and had a big natter while we were driven to the Meinl factory in this

As soon as I got there I knew it was going to be brilliant because I found these on my hotel bed…Meinl Lindt chocolate hearts!

Then when I got given these I got the feeling the people at Meinl knew me too well…

But I wasn’t there just to stuff my face, I was there to work for in covering the event. I did 5 interviews over the weekend from the comfort of Mr Meinl’s office. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had an office job and any others would just be a disappointment now

The weekend had masterclasses, drum performances and percussion demos. There was something for everyone and the masterclasses ranged from Symphonic Percussion to Progressive concepts for technical metal drumming to Groove design (by Benny Greb).

The variety of styles played by the artists was incredible – there was just no chance of anyone being bored! I met some fantastic drummers from the USA; JP Bouvet (winner of the guitar centre drum off contest 2011), Mike Johnston of mikes and Matt Halpern from Periphery (who has a brilliant website called band where people can book to get lessons from musicians who are on tour). I also had a great time watching and learning from Benny Greb, Jost Nickel, Onkel, Hannes Grossman, Milos Meier, Juan Carlos Melian and Giovanni Imparato. Somehow I found some time to take part in the drum circle, which was led by Charly Broeck

Everyone enjoyed it so much that they queued out in the rain to wait for the signing session so they could meet all the guys who had played

Meinl have been really helpful to me over the last few years in my own playing and it was great to get the chance to do their factory tour and see how everything works.

Thank you to Mike Dolbear for sending me out to work at the event, to Norbert Saemann and the Meinl team for looking after us so well and for organising something so good. Also thank you to Ian, Sam and Rich from iDrum magazine who befriended me when busy Mr Dolbear had to head back to the UK! The drum industry is full of cool people and it’s great getting to know them at events like this.

My full report on the weekend will be up at on the 1st July 2012