Day Five: Saint Quentin, France
Under a beautiful blue sky Monday morning, the members awoke at the sports hall prepared for an ordinary day of drum corps rehearsal and an evening performance. Having transported the corps overseas, many things are far from what we’d call "ordinary" in drum corps. But with five days under their belt in this provincial French city, the corps has adjusted quite well with the local people, customs, and languages. Members and staff have had some time to check out life here in Saint Quentin a bit, as the French have also had the opportunity to check out life with the drum corps. Even some of the local kids keep popping in the corps hall to say "Hallo!" and pop back out. The more adventurous ones head towards the rehearsal field.
The corps circles up around the director and drum majors near the end of the rehearsal block.
But all in all, Monday was as normal as any, as the GLASSMEN continued to work on and tweak parts of the 2006 field production, Mastery and Madness. The show is really coming together amazingly well, and with the help of constant cheering local fans and friends, performance levels are shooting through the roof! Even as the local group was cleaning up parts of the stadium after the show, they still whooped and hollered for the corps during their run through in the afternoon.
GLASSMEN and La Vaillante members joined together in warmup before the evening concert.
In the evening, the corps dressed and prepared for their last performance in Saint Quentin. This was the most emotional of all, as it would be a combined performance with the corps’ hosts for the week, the La Vaillante Show Band. The band (all drums and brass) has been rehearsing several of the GLASSMEN tunes in preparation for this day, and was just as excited as the GLASSMEN were to be part of this special performance.
The two hornlines lined up together on the field before parading up to the Basilica.
GLASSMEN and La Vaillante marched together through the streets of downtown Saint Quentin to the beautiful Saint Quentin Basilica, where they performed a combined concert in the basilica park at sundown. La Vaillante took the stage first, with director Bernard Feignier conducting. Everyone in the crowd was dancing along, and a few of the GLASSMEN even started in singing. Then it was time for the GLASSMEN to perform – and they wowed the crowd with their huge brass sound, and percussion reverberating around the basilica square.
The reaction was incredible – people squeezed in closer to be right up next to the corps. A few brave souls ventured into the drumline arc for some close-up shots. The crowd couldn’t get enough! They were like rock stars – and the crowd kept chanting for more! And that’s what they got – the GLASSMEN played through the new DCI Fanfare, the closer from last year’s New World Symphony production, the entire 2006 production of Beethoven: Mastery and Madness, and a touching rendition of some Pat Metheny melodies played by the front ensemble.
The GLASSMEN played to the crowded park as the sunset on the basilica behind them.
The corps has been so touched by their close ties with La Vaillante this week, that in celebration of the show band’s 100th anniversary, they presented them with an autographed poster from all of the GLASSMEN, signed with "Félicitations, La Valliante!" In return, La Valliante presented the GLASSMEN with some beautiful books about the city of Saint Quentin and it’s rich history. We will miss working with La Valliante, and thank them so much for their hospitality and good wishes while we have visited. We hope that someday they will be able to come to the U.S. – so we can play together with them once again.
La Vaillante’s Nicolas Dufour and Bernard Feignier exchange gifts with GLASSMEN director Brian Hickman.
In closing, the corps came together one last time to play "Time to Say Goodbye" and the GLASSMEN corps song, "Madre" in a combined concert that ended with shouts of "Bravo!" and "Encore!" – but as it was 11 p.m., and darkness had descended over the city, it was time to say goodnight and au revoir – merci and félicitations!
GLASSMEN tubas and La Vaillante sousaphones play together for "Time to Say Goodbye"
The GLASSMEN will wrap up their time in France with a final rehearsal day Tuesday before heading to Bruges, Belgium on Wednesday. Stay tuned to www.glassmen.org for more information as the corps moves onward through Europe! Also check out the DCI Field Pass this week at www.dci.org – as Brian Hickman, executive director of the GLASSMEN, gives Dan Potter an exclusive interview from a secret location in Paris!