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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Drummer ran off to join the circus

When Alex Hilton decided to run off and join the Royal Hanneford Circus (at the York Fair this week), it wasn't the family scene you might expect with wringing of hands, crying, and wailing in fear of a bleak and uncertain future.  Just the opposite.  "Can we help you pack?"  An entertainment family, they understood that this is just another way to make a living.

Hilton, born near Altoona, has been playing drums since he was two years old, and 20 years later, he's now the show's percussionist, having worked up from a stage hand.

He's seen the show hundreds of times, hit more rimshots and cowbell accents he can imagine, but if you watch Hilton during the performances, he's still smiling, laughing with the trampoline comedy bit, and shaking his head in amazement at the balancing acts.

It's a heck of a show at Memorial Hall. Balancing acts that make 'America's Got Talent' look puny and amateurish, contortionists that make you hurt just watching them, high wire acts, and of course, the beautiful and glamorous costumes for the trapeze artistry of Annngelllllllla! 

It's still remarkable that Ringmaster Billy Martin can do his job with as much freshness today as he did years ago. What a great voice.

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