Glassmen Arrive In France

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The traveling is complete! After almost a full 24 hours of travel between the U.S. and France, the corps is finally running full steam ahead out of their housing location in France. "Although the trip was long," says Brian Hickman, director of the GLASSMEN, "the travel was really a breeze, aside from one passport glitch, which was eventually fixed." The corps arrived yesterday in England with a couple of flights that landed within a few hours of each other, and then they boarded three busses and two trucks to France.

Along with viewing the beautiful countryside of England, the corps was treated to the unique experience of riding on the train through the Eurotunnel from England to France. This was a new experience for everyone – as this is no ordinary train ride. The busses the corps were on literally drove "into" the train itself – and then rode along on the tracks under the English Channel. Since the vehicles cannot run while in transit, it got a little warm up in the top of the double decker bus – but the staff survived by walking around the train a bit for some "fresh" air.

A bus prepares to enter the train for the Eurotunnel.

By the time they came up to the surface in France, the usual "bus mode" and a little "jet lag" set in a bit, and most of the corps napped happily along until they reached their final destination in Saint Quentin late last evening. First on the list after unloading the busses into the housing facility (a lovely sports hall near the city center) – was to finally sit down and eat dinner. The caterers here in France were a little surprised at the amount of food it would take to feed 135 members plus 40 support staff. Needless to say, a few trips to the market around the corner, and they had enough food to supplement the two trays of spaghetti they had originally prepared for them. Good thing the corps packed it’s own peanut butter and jelly for the tour – can’t leave home without it!

The GLASSMEN stretching inside the sports hall this morning.

After a restful night, the corps woke up early – 7:30am local time – and began a "normal" rehearsal day with warm-ups and stretch. The breakfast feast laid out was more plentiful than dinner – full of french pastries, cereals, fresh baguettes and plenty of strong european coffee – although they’re still working on the right quantities of plates and cups (at home they use 750 napkins, 600 plates, and 500 cups per day!)

The caterer prepares some fresh baguettes for the corps’ breakfast this morning.

The corps then moved into rehearsal mode, with the drumline and color guard warming up on the main field at Stadium Philippe Roth, where the tattoos will take place this weekend. The brass line warmed up on our second field, just behind the sports hall. Everything has been so convenient here that the corps and staff can walk just about anywhere they need – eliminating the need to worry about driving around the (very) narrow streets of the city. We’ll give you more information about as they days go on – this is our home base for a few more days before we travel to Belgium next week.

The hornline rehearses with the 500-year-old Saint Quentin Basilica in the distance.

The front ensemble got an early start with a camera crew from a local television station.

Things are heating up quick for the corps first European performances. The stadium crew at Philippe Roth here in Saint Quentin is feverishly putting up thousands of extra bleacher seats to hold the record crowds for the celebration that will include the corps’ performances this weekend. And although the corps will wrap up a long rehearsal day at 10:00 p.m. this evening, they will depart at 6:00am sharp for the Opening Ceremonies of the Paris Country Festival in Paris, France, tomorrow. After their performance, the corps will enjoy the rest of the day in Paris, taking in the sights and soaking up the life here in France.

We’ll tell you more tomorrow about our great adventures – stay tuned to for more updates

Posted by on Friday, June 23rd, 2006. Filed under DCI World.