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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday July 15th 2024

Heart of May Day

People ”“ gathering in workshops, conversation, rehearsals, and celebration

HOBT/MayDay artist and staff member, Ramon Cordis and those quoted helped collect these testimonies.

May Day Workshop 2019, by Bruce Silcox

36 Parades later (for me), I keep participating because it is so much fun work! My favorite aspect of the entire MayDay season, is the workshops. We  create miracles of imagination.  I love assisting an enthusiastic kid in designing a mask and costume ”“ together transforming the refuse of society into a beautiful creation. The kids who come year to year become masters of their ideas, visionaries and engineers of the impossible.” ~ Greg Leierwood

Your MayDay Community Band” used to be called, “There Goes the Neighborhood ”“ Band.”Â  We would gather by meeting on the street or in the park. Now we are on the internet. We always defy authority and almost never march in step! In the early years, there were usually fewer than 10 players.  When we rehearse, we have 10 to 12.  At the Parade, we often have 20 to 25; sometimes more than that. I missed the first two years. My first year in the band was the third year of the Parade. Some people from the Street Band join the Ceremony Band at Powderhorn Park, but the core members of the Ceremony band generally do not march in the Parade.  Tom Wells has been the leader of the Ceremony Band for the last several years. He used to march in the Parade, but the task of leading the Ceremony Band has kept him away recently. Steve Sandberg does most of the Street Band organizing and is the main decision maker during the Parade. Other people often decide what step or movement we might make at any given time. There is a large portion of Anarchy. We usually have five or six songs which we repeat during the Parade in no particular order.” ~ Jim McCreary 

(Watch for Jim playing an E Flat Soprano Clarinet that he plays now in the Street Band after playing the French Horn up  until 1982)

May Day Workshop 2019, by Bruce Silcox

MayDay is a chance for my family to come together every year to celebrate our community and give thanks to the Earth. As an aspiring artist, I am not only inspired by what I”'ve seen in the Parades past, but being part of the workshops has taught me new methods for eco-friendly art practices.” ~ Ivy Stewart

I”'ve been in 27 MayDay Parades. I”'m involved for the creativity, the tradition of celebrating Spring, and because many of the people I admired growing up now are involved. Memorable experiences are: being a skunk when I was about 8 years old and spraying people with Rose Water (and some fart spray!) all along the Parade; it is a moment of celebration and release when the Parade and Ceremony are over and the next few hours are for eating, meeting friends, and relaxing; watching a thunder storm roll across Powderhorn Lake from a ladder as we desperately un-tied banners from trees ”“ we didn”'t beat the storm and ended up soaked through, so we decided to dance in the rain; learning to stilt-walk in the yard of the Church behind In the Heart of the Beast Theatre ”“ I held onto the wall way longer than my brother who decided to start running up and down the hill with his best friend, Ramon.  I have stilt-walked in the Parade every year since then. I was 8 years old when I started!” ~Gaea Dill-D”'Ascoli

To be honest, I”'ve never seen the MayDay Parade in entirety, but I”'ve led a MayDay Parade Section for 22 years. I jumped in and immersed fully in the “Magic.” The “Magic” is actually in the “making” of the Parade and Pageant ”“ of course, in the “making” of puppets, masks, floats, and costumes; but, more so, in the making and deepening of relationships between neighbors, strangers, friends, families, and communities. That kind of “Magic” seems rarer each year and we can only make it together. That is our joy and responsibility and I have faith that this “making” will continue in our communities. How MayDay will evolve is an invigorating mystery that we will explore together.” ~ Bart Buch

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