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Moose Jaw musician breaks world record with over 25-hours spent playing box drum

Local musician Jared Dormer has cleared the world record for longest time spent playing a box drum, the first person ever to do so

Local musician Jared Dormer spent his weekend becoming the first person to break the Guinness World Record for the longest time spent playing a Cajon — another name for the box drum — with a drumming marathon that lasted over 25 hours.

Dormer sat down with determination on the evening of Jan. 15, where he proceeded to play the box drum for a consecutive 25 hours, 42 minutes and 34 seconds, concluding late on Jan. 16.

This particular record had never been attempted, according to Guinness World Records, which makes Dormer the first person to have his name attached to the achievement.

“It's still kind of sinking in, but it's quite the feeling to think that I’m the first one to do this ever,” said Dormer. 

Dormer first contemplated the idea of attempting a world record in drumming back in the spring, as the COVID-19 isolation measures left him with more downtime than usual. As a longtime percussionist, he knew he wanted to take a shot at a record in that area.

“This (record) was there, available, and it was either never attempted or never successful, so it was just sitting there ready for someone to take it on,” said Dormer.

Pursuing the record

Dormer has been playing percussion since childhood, which played another large part in his decision to pursue a record with the Cajon.

“I’m in a Celtic band, West of Mabou, coming up five years now, and that’s when I started picking up the box drum more professionally (and) I’ve been playing drums since I was a kid,” said Dormer. “And other record holders say you don’t really need to start with something new, you just need to take (what you know) to the next level.”

After successfully applying to Guinness for the record, Dormer said he spent the next six months preparing for his attempt, which ended up being live streamed on Facebook to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.

Organizing a rotation of witnesses was the trickiest part of his prep work, he admitted, as there had to be two witnesses present at all times who had no professional connection or family relation to Dormer. 

In terms of training, Dormer agreed that he approached it with the mentality of training for a marathon: regularly practicing for a few hours at a time, with a longer test-run to get a feel for the experience.

“I was something I’d never done before (so) I played for two or three hours at a time, just to see if I could keep up to the pace and that went well, so then I took a day and tried to play as long as I could, which was about 10 hours,” said Dormer. “And that kind of gave me the confidence I needed.”

Because it was a record with no previous attempts, Dormer said that Guinness set the threshold at 24 hours, which prompted him to set his own personal goal at 25 hours just to push his limits.

He also put together his setlist with Guinness in mind, purposely choosing a wide variety of musical genres to show the record keepers that he was doing more than just the same range of movements.

“I really wanted to prove to Guinness that I’m not just picking a certain style or a certain speed of music,” said Dormer. “I picked some slow, some fast songs. I did some top 40 stuff, some traditional Celtic music, some gospel music. I really tried to mix and match.”

The aftermath

Although the feat left his arms exhausted and his left hand swollen, Dormer said the feeling of not only reaching but surpassing the record was unlike any other.

“It was awesome. It was really nice to play music in front of people again, because we’re coming up on a year with COVID keeping our band from doing anything,” said Dormer. “It was such an adrenaline high (at the end), I was kind of flying high.”

He also said that he was a little surprised and bolstered by the heartwarming show of support he received through the live stream, as the community rallied behind him.

“It was definitely more mentally tiring than I thought,” said Dormer. “I hit a few mental walls at the five-hour mark and then again Saturday in the afternoon where I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do it,’ but that’s when some of the comments on the live stream from family and friends who couldn’t be there, they really pushed me through those tough spots.”

It will take another few months to hear a confirmation from Guinness about the record, said Dormer, but he’s very confident that those checking his facts will be pleased with what they see. 

“I think we’ve got everything we need,” he laughed. 

As for the future, Dormer can’t rule out more attempts at other drumming records just yet, as there are already a few that have caught his eye.

“I’m still letting this one sink in, but there’s definitely opportunity there. There’s some cool ones that deal with multiple drummers, like a marathon tag-team thing,” said Dormer.

For now, Dormer is pleased that his successful attempt has brought a little excitement to his area.

“I didn’t expect that kind of impact, for myself and also for others. I saw a few people saying that this was such a nice distraction (from the pandemic) and nice to see some kind of normalcy,” said Dormer. “I was really blown away by the impact that it was able to have, and I’m glad I was able to reach a lot of people.”