Weaving between the towering apartment buildings and skyscrapers, the Marching 110’s charter buses bounced along the cobbled streets of Paris on their way to a once in a lifetime performance.
As we turned around a corner, my breath caught in my throat and my eyes grew wide. The massiveness and elegance of The Eiffel Tower overwhelmed me as I saw it up close for the very first time. At this moment, I felt something absolutely incredible was about to happen.
Clear blue skies and bright sunshine contrasted with the dark steel beams of Paris’ engineering masterpiece as Marching 110 members moseyed their way to the wide open grass lawn, the nearest possible venue to the tower. Glancing around and taking in the scenery, I noticed a young French boy holding a wooden picket sign, larger than him, wearing a huge smile on his face. His picket sign proudly advertised the 110’s uniform jacket emblem painted in green and black for all of Paris to see.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this young French boy and his older sister had been following the Marching 110 on YouTube for months, counting down the days for their chance to watch the band perform live in front of their nation’s great monument.
The duo’s parents even took off work and let the brother and sister miss school for a day in order to experience the Marching 110 in person. And the older sister has her heart set on studying abroad at Ohio University solely to play her trombone in the band one day, even though she still had many years of schooling left before eventually deciding on a university.
Writing this now, I wish I would have had the chance to talk to them both about why they loved the band so much, how they found us, why she was willing to cross the Atlantic to be a part of our band… But instead, I only smiled at the boy and continued to mosey with the band towards performance block, excitement and anticipation rapidly collecting in my chest.
An even larger crowd than Tuesday’s show in Normandy gathered in front of the Marching 110 as band members came to attention, the Eiffel Tower looming majestically in the background. From our Four Step warm-up to our final chart, the crowd went absolutely wild for any and everything the 110 performed.
Classic 110 standards like Ain’t Been Good, Long Train and Cheer, along with a dance chart, Kiss You by One Direction, and pop-hit Uptown Funk filled the long courtyard with an excitement unparalleled to anything the band or the French audience had experienced so far. As our horns snapped up for the beginning of Long Train, I realized I would never have this experience again—truly, once in a lifetime.
After the performance, the 110 broke for a group photo and then headed back to the buses to get ready for exploring The Louvre, a famous art museum in Paris.
The Louvre not only houses timeless works of art such as the Mona Lisa and the Wings of Victory, but it’s also a work of art itself. Beautiful portraits decorate every ornate ceiling of the former palace turned art gallery. After an afternoon of art appreciation, the band and family returned to the hotel to rest for the next day at Disneyland Paris.
Overall, it was an unforgettable day—a day that everyone involved will cherish and look back on with pride for the rest of their lives.
Written by Amanda Weisbrod
**The author of this blog is also a member of the Marching 110