Day Two: Paris, France
Jet lag was not an option for the GLASSMEN as they began today at 6:00am CEST en route to their first European performance at the Paris Country Festival. This unique event is held each year in Le Grand Dôme, just south of Paris, and is filled with the sights and sounds of all things American – at least of the country and western sort.
It was a sort of "twilight zone" moment to arrive at the event, knowing that you are indeed in Paris, France – but are surrounded by ten gallon hats, Jeeps, horses, line dancers and Harley Davidsons. Nonetheless, the crowd was just as enthused to have a real american drum corps on the scene to help kick off this massive event.
The GLASSMEN perform at the opening ceremonies of the Paris Country Festival.
The corps gathered around the entrance to the Dome, and performed a few selections in honor of the opening ceremonies. Director Brian Hickman was introduced by the event promoter Jean Luc Gouillard. Hickman said a few words about the corps, and after the encore performance, was able to shake hands with other dignitaries at the event, including the U.S. Ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, and the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë. Both noted how excellently the corps played – and how overjoyed they were that we could join them for the grand opening.
Members enjoy a nice lunch courtesy of Planet Hollywood in Paris, France.
With the rest of the day free, the corps had a quick bus tour of the major sites of Paris, and was then let off at the base of the Eiffel Tower to roam the city for eight hours. Members and staff took in the breathtaking views on what was a perfect sunny-blue-sky day. They traveled up the Eiffel Tower, thru the Louvre, across the Seine, around the Arc de Triomphe, along the Champs-Elysées, and in and around the souvenir shops and hundreds of cafes and pâtisseries of Paris. This was truly an extraordinary experience for the corps – and a once in a lifetime chance for many. Even drum major Bo Sodders declared it as "absolutely the BEST free day ever!"
The members and staff of the GLASSMEN take a moment to pose in front of the monumental Eiffel Tower.
We’ll see about that – as the corps will still have 2 more free days during their trip here – to Bruges, Belgium and London, England. In the meantime, the corps is preparing for a very busy weekend of performances here in Saint Quentin in celebration of the La Vaillante Show Band 100th Anniversary. Stay tuned for more information about these special events this weekend – www.glassmen.org.