Independence Day Parade – Bands

“Quince de septiembre” (fifteenth of September) is the more common name kind of like “4th of July” is probably used more in the states than “Independence Day.”

There is a nation-wide strike going on in Costa Rica, so it affected some aspects of the parade this year with nothing from the university in parade but all the local and neighboring schools were happy to make it almost a nino parade, which is fine! Today’s post is just some of the bands with other aspects of parade in the next few days. Note that here bands are all dominated by both drums and boys, though more difficult instruments are more likely played by girls. Another day I will show dancing which is almost all girls and so it goes as cultures, femininity and masculinity struggle everywhere, especially in schools.     🙂

Slideshow: School Bands in Atenas Independence Day Parade

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For all aspects of the parade see photo gallery 2018 Independence Day Parade Atenas 

Primary School Band Practice

I’m guessing that only 6th & 7th Graders are in the band and maybe 5th Graders. And it must count as PE or Physical Education because those green & blue uniforms are their PE uniforms, while the two boys in white shirts and black pants are in their school or classroom uniform.

It is almost all drums in all the bands here, this one with cymbals and some kind of scrappy rhythm instrument on the back row. I’m guessing again that is because of lack of money for instruments and music teachers or a priorities thing. The high school bands usually have a few girls playing xylophone with some bigger cities adding brass and reed instruments, but not many.

The group above is practicing in the city sports park across the street from the Primary School, Escuela Central. And I suspect they are getting ready for the September 15 Independence Day Parade and subsequently the December Christmas Parade. I admire the few girls who play drums which the boys tend to dominate here (and maybe everywhere).

Life in a small farming town in Costa Rica!    ¡Pura Vida!

See also my PEOPLE & FIESTAS Photo Gallery for the bands marching in the parades.


Cirque du Soleil
It is impossible for a cell phone on the back row to capture all the mind-blowing visuals, acrobatics, music
Just a hint here!

One outside sign seen as we were leaving.

Cirque du Soleil took a week or more to install the huge theater tent, with Porta-Potties outside.

Of course we entered through a smaller tent with plenty for sale to eat, drink, or remember your experience!







Like Cirque du Soleil has done in the states with Elvis, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson, they have here developed a documentary/remembrance music/acrobat show about the greatest of Latin American Rock Bands in the 80’s and 90’s, Soda Stereo in Argentina. Since most Americans and other foreigners cannot possibly understand the significance to Latin Americans, an excellent description in English is provided by Cirque du Soleil in their FASCINATION NEWSLETTER.  In short, it is about a young man who thirsts for meaning and social justice and dreams of a better world, feels trapped. When he plugs into the music of Soda Stereo, he is whisked away to an inner world and is set free. Most adult Ticos here know the significance and know the songs, singing along with the performances. Moving and powerful!

For official photos and great videos of the performance see the Cirque du Soleil Website. 
And of course I have a TRIP Photo Gallery: SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCANSARÉ
¡Pura Vida!

Pre-parade Dancing is Most Colorful!

In some ways this was my favorite part of the parade today because it was so colorful and new! We did not have this during the last two years’ parades. I love latin music and dance and the color! Nice!
Music is the best cure for a sorrowing mind.
Latin Proverb

Primary School Band Practice Marching

The other day I caught the public primary school (grades K-6)
older kids band practicing on the move in the recreation park across the street.
The masks are usually used for a Catholic religious ceremony, but don’t know here.
Getting ready for one of the many parades we have here, I guess.


Escuela Central (Grades K-6) building built in 1886

Motown Fundraiser for Su Espacio

Tonight (Saturday) I helped Gail & Susan who planned a Motown Music Fundraiser Dinner at Etnia Pub here in Atenas with DJ playing Motown Music by a dance floor and we raised a good amount of money for the community center while having fun! Here’s a few pix:

Thanks to Gail & Susan for all the hard work to make it happen!

Nashville Costa Rican Maestro Starts with Rock Here

Giancarlo Guerrero
Nashville Symphony
Music Director

Giancarlo Guerrero helped me to love classical music more than anyone as the conductor of the Nashville Symphony and his pre-concert “Conversations” I attended every time with my season ticket! Well, if you did not know, he is from Costa Rica! And his love of music started here as a fan with his brother of the Canadian Rock Band Rush. Read this interesting article in the 21 January edition of The Tennessean, my first day of a renewed subscription to digital.

Ticos love music of all kinds as indicated in this interesting article on the wide variety of Costa Rica Music.

It is fun to keep learning about Costa Rica and what it means to me.  🙂   Pura Vida!

Where words fail, music speaks.
~Hans Christian Andersen

15th of September Post 2: BANDS!

Though the volume made you think there were more, there were only 4 full-size bands in the parade and they were mostly drums, since there are few teachers or classes for other instruments. They were scattered throughout the parade with several small ensembles in-between, like 3 to 8 persons with multiple instruments.  There were more flag bearers than band members. Bands are bandas in Spanish.

Banda Escuela de Musica is a community band for all ages (child-adult) that meets, learns and practices after school.
It includes my Spanish teacher, his son and son’s nanny, and another friend. I help raise money for their Panama trip.
Notice, like others, they are now all drums except for 2 saxophones and 3 xylophones called marimbas here.

I like their spiffy uniform shirts
which they are wanting to replace with “real” uniforms sometime.
It is a community activity requiring donated money not easily obtained.

It is an after-school, community music school that teaches how to read music,
how to play other instruments when they can be obtained, and the band will
add more instruments over time as they can. It could become big in Atenas. 

Banda de Colegio San Rafael is a suburban high school smaller than Liceo
but sharper looking uniforms. All drums because of lack of music teachers.

Ticos teens like to dress sharp and appreciate cool hats!

Banda de Colegio Liceo is the largest from the largest school with golf shirts
as uniforms and again mostly drums because of few music teachers. 
All drummers are cool and since nearly all of the band are drummers . . .
Boy! My band director would never have allowed sunglasses!  🙂
So maybe this is why Ticos are the happiest people on earth!?
They are followed by and overshadowed by the largest troop of flag bearers in the parade, also a part of Colegio Liceo.
More flag photos tomorrow! 

By now you may have learned that high schools are called “Colegio” in Spanish in Costa Rica. If not, that is your new Spanish word for today!   🙂

Unknown school with 8 boys on drums – what I was calling an “ensemble.”

Escuela Central Elementary School
As with the others, mostly drums with a few marimbas (xylophones);
smaller and less organized than high school bands.