Posts Tagged ‘ralph salmins’

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


West End Drummers Part 2 – James Powell (Legally Blonde)

James Powell

West End Drummers Part 2  – James Powell – Legally Blonde

James Powell has been the drummer on the West End production of ‘Legally Blonde’ since it opened at the Savoy Theatre in December 2009. James’ slick, tasteful playing provides a driving force for an incredibly tight band with a playful sense of camaraderie.

What is your musical background?

My father is a great British jazz singer called Georgie Fame and he’s really a big part of my background musically. I started drumming when I was about 12, playing with him at home and I learned by playing along to records and working things out that way. I had a little bit of training at school but I never went to college so I dived in with him and his band when I was about 14, then when I left school I played with him all the time.

I think Ralph Salmins was responsible for a fork in the road really. I depped for Ralph when he was doing ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ probably about 13 years ago, so that’s when I started doing this kind of thing. I went from show to show, always learning more stuff and so far I seem to have got away with it!

Did you have any favourite drummers when you were growing up?

All the usual ones and when I was in my early teens that was when Weckl was amazing everyone for the first time so I’m massively Weckl damaged! Weckl and Vinnie, Tony and Elvin; that’s really what I like to listen to. Jack of course. Gadd obviously; it’s all about Gadd. Keith Carlock, I’m nuts about at the moment, with Wayne Krantz”s trio. It just makes perfect sense!