The Drumline Live Holiday Spectacular marches its way into Chandler in December and percussion director Larry Allen calls it a “magical masterpiece.”
“You’re performing on a theatrical stage, so there’s a lot more you can do on the stage than an actual field,” he says. “You get all the elements of HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) plus the glitz and glam of going to a Beyoncé or P!nk show.”
Drumline Live is a theatrical, international tour based on the marching bands at the historically black colleges and universities. The show incorporates a mix of percussionists, vocalists and choreography. This winter, the Drumline Live Holiday Spectacular will showcase modern holiday hits like “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph.” The show comes to the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 21.
“The kids love it,” Allen says. “It’s neon lights and the whole mystery of being pitch black in the theater and you see all these drums lit up and sticks glowing and twirling. It’s a real great experience.”
Aside from the role as percussion director, he is also a drummer, vocalist and trumpet player in the show.
“Not only do we all play instruments in the cast, but we also double as vocalists or dancers as well,” he explains. “Every cast member has two or three talents they provide for the show.”
Allen has been a part of Drumline for nine years. A Houston native, he attended Prairie View A&M University from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in sociology. Shortly after grad school, he was introduced to the CEO and director of Drumline, Don Roberts. Allen sent in an audition tape and the rest is history.
“I started as a cast member playing trumpet and percussion and each year I’ve moved up on the creative staff of creating what the show will be about. It’s been a dream come true,” he says.
Come this December, Allen says showgoers can expect high intensity and great musicianship from instrumentalists to percussionists and vocalists. The holiday show taps into genres like hip-hop, jazz, soul and Motown.
“Music is a universal language and we bring funk, jazz, classical, every element of music into one show and we put it on the stage and give it all we got. 150 percent every night.”
Drumline Live Holiday Spectacular, Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, 480.782.2680, chandlercenter.org, 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 21, $38-$48.