Day Eleven: Peterborough, England

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What a day! The GLASSMEN took England by storm today – and it’s been an absolute whirlwind ever since! The late night at the Eurotunnel customs not withstanding, and a couple of the usual tour vehicle maintenance issues, and the corps was up and off rehearsing at Peterborough, England’s East of England Showground, for this special first-time drum corps exhibition event.

Nine corps in all participated, including the GLASSMEN: Narpes Show Band (from Finland), Stafford Lancers, Distant Thunder, Forgemen, Black Knights, Northern Star, Kidsgrove Scouts, and Senators. The corps in attendance did not compete against each other – rather, they welcomed the opportunity to play in exhibition and learn and share in the shared language of music together.

The East of England Invitational is the first of it’s kind in the U.K. – and was specifically designed to not only showcase the GLASSMEN as the first U.S. junior corps to appear in England in 18 years – but to also showcase the local (and international) talent of a wide range of competitive groups – all designed for the same purpose – to present a great show to great fans – and that they did!

By noon on Sunday, people had already begun filling the showgrounds, checking out the GLASSMEN in warm-ups and purchasing souvenirs and concessions. When the corps’ ENTERTRAINMENT Clinic officially started at 3:30 p.m. – the stadium grounds were packed! More than 500 students and musicians attended the clinic, many from the groups performing in the evening competition. Several other local bands and corps came out specifically for the clinic, and to enjoy a great evening of marching and music exhibition.

Students were encouraged to bring their instruments and equipment onto the field to join in on certain segments of the clinic – the first part being a "section rehearsal" where they could go off separately and discuss technique and style specific to each section. Of course, with so many people and only so much space, it looked a little more like a massive ensemble rehearsal!

Spending the day with the GLASSMEN ENTERTRAINMENT Clinic (Video on website – by Josh Duggan and Beth Gilliland) option=com_content&task=view&id=168&Itemid=109

After extended sectional time, the clinic moved into visual mode, wherein all the GLASSMEN members and clinic attendees formed a huge basics block on the field and continued to learn technique for the feet. The clinic ended with a GLASSMEN ensemble rehearsal, to show how we put all the parts together – then the enthusiastic crowd was treated to a full run of the GLASSMEN show.

As the successful clinic ran a bit long, there was hardly time to clear the stands before the evening show was to begin – but they filled again rapidly as each corps took the field. There was a general sense of camaraderie and friendship as corps went to watch each others warm-ups and performance. This has been an overwhelming difference in all the European shows, and it wasn’t lost on the members of the GLASSMEN. Some said they wished we could have more of the fun social aspect here in the U.S. – and many of them left with emails and contacts from many of the corps with which they had performed.

All in all, this unique performance was a great success, as were all the performances around the european continent these past two weeks. The corps has thoroughly enjoyed playing for these amazing audiences, and while they will miss the friends they have made thus far, they are looking forward to enticing the U.S. audiences on the national tour in the weeks to come.

Monday the corps will have a short rehearsal, followed by a free evening in London. More to come, as the GLASSMEN wrap up the U.K. – and look forward to the U.S.! Stay tuned to…

Posted by on Wednesday, July 5th, 2006. Filed under DCI World.