Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra makes big attempt to draw Bill Murray to St. Patrick's Day Parade
ELMHURST — Bill Murray is a famously hard person to reach, even for Hollywood insiders.
He has never had a publicist. Several years ago he fired his agents and replaced them with a voicemail box that he checks infrequently.
But while frustrated movie producers might have difficulty placing scripts in the hands of America's favorite funny man, there is a growing urban legend of the actor showing up at unexpected places — Murray crashing house parties, or sampling a french fry from a customer's plate at a restaurant before saying "no one will ever believe you."
This Saturday, the most colorful entry in the Elmhurst St. Patrick's Day Parade, The Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra, hopes its "largest drum in the world" will find Murray's attention and draw him to lead them.
Rich Reichert and his friends started the EAO in 2009, inspired by Murray's turn in "Stripes" as John Winger, the leader of a shaggy group of Army recruits. In one of the movie's scenes, Winger's unit performs military parade exercises in Murray's typically absurd style.
"We just kind of felt like we wanted to be a rag-tag bunch like his unit was," Reichert said. "We wanted it to be clean, family-oriented and make kids and adults smile."
The kazoo and bucket-drum orchestra now has a membership of about 100, he said.
During the work week, members are lawyers, business owners and financial advisers, among other professions. On parade day, the group's sartorial preference is for shorts and tall dark socks, wigs and hats, and toilet paper rolls for sheet music.
Building the drum, though, was serious work.
After about five months, the EAO finished the 600-pound wooden instrument.
"People are going to see this and their jaw will drop because it's huge," said EAO member Scott Sutherland. "It barely fits out of a (garage door)."
It measures about 9 feet in diameter, has Bill Murray's face on one side, and is mobile thanks to a wheeled cart built specifically for it. The group even made a large mallet to beat the drum, its end covered with a boxing glove.
"It's definitely not a precision instrument," Reichert said. "But it does make noise, and it sounds like a big bass drum."
Whether it is really the world's biggest drum — who knows?
Reichert said Purdue University always claimed to have the world's biggest drum, at 8 feet in diameter.
"I don't think they're the largest in the world," he said. "We're using the same logic they do. I'm sure there's one out there somewhere larger."
The group does not know if Murray has heard the invitation, but they know they've gotten the message close, at least. The actor grew up in the north Chicago suburbs, and the EAO has been able to pass the word on to one of his brothers.
"We would be honored to have him join us, and our current drum major would gladly pass the baton," Sutherland said.
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com