Over a year ago, the 2014 Marching 110 sat at round tables scattered around Baker University Center’s Ballroom for their annual end-of-the-year banquet. After general thank yous and section awards, Dr. Richard Suk stepped up to the podium.
I can’t remember his exact words, but they were something like “the 2015 Marching 110 will be performing in Paris and Normandy, with an optional day-trip to London in May, 1-10.”
At that moment, the entire room gasped together and exhaled with various reactions, mine being squeals and tears of excitement. I couldn’t believe it; my first trip to Europe would be with almost 200 of my friends in an organization I love, performing at some of the most iconic venues in France—the Eiffel Tower, the American Cemetery in Normandy, and Disneyland Paris. The year couldn’t go by fast enough.
The 2015 marching season was a great time, especially with all of the build-up to Paris, but the real preparations didn’t begin until after we returned from winter break in January.
The band teamed up with the Global Opportunities Office on campus in order to get the best deal possible when paying their way to France, but there were some stipulations. Marching 110 members who were going on the trip had to enroll in a special class, which was held almost every Thursday night from 7pm – 10pm, during spring semester.
At first, band members weren’t sure what to expect from this “band goes to France” class, but after our first meeting during syllabus week, everyone realized it was going to be extremely helpful for our journey overseas.
From the construction of the Eiffel Tower to the beautiful pieces of art residing in The Louvre, assistant director Josh Boyer made sure to cover it all. We were even visited by some special guests—Don Jakeway, a WWII veteran who parachuted to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day told his story and students from the Global Opportunities Office gave us travel tips for having the most efficient time in France.
After distributing uniforms and shipping larger instruments to Paris, the 110 was ready to make their French debut. Finally, after a year of anticipation and suspense, the day to board had arrived.
Preparing for this trip has been a long process, but it will all be worth it soon as band members take their first steps in Paris and explore the city by a bus tour before checking into the Mercure 5 hotel in La Défense. Older band members remember the 110’s first European tour of Italy and Ireland in 2013, but under and upperclassmen alike are ready to show France what Ohio University’s Marching 110 is all about.
Check back tomorrow for a blog post about our performance in Normandy, featuring selections from last season’s patriotic show and a few new tunes to honor the lives of American soldiers that were lost so many years ago.
Written by Amanda Weisbrod
**The author of this blog is also a member of the Marching 110.