Blue Devils Trip in Europe
It is over. What a trip. It was so very exciting, fun and a tremendous experience for all. We hope you enjoyed the diary and thank you for reading and all of your support!
Wednesday/Thursday - June 28 & 29, 2000The corps arrived at BD Hall at 10:00am to pack and leave for the airport. We chartered 3 busses for the ride to the airport, but surprise, surprise - six showed up. After sorting out why we had six versus three, we left for SFO at noon. We made it to the airport, took a couple of laps and made our way in to the terminal. We were only missing two people out of 150 - success to this point. We passed out all the tickets, checked for the 100th time to make sure we all had our passports and then made our way to the gate. We were still missing two members. One pit member looked like he would not make the plane, so arrangements were made to get him to Europe on Friday. The other member was found 1/2 hour before the flight, and he made his way quickly to the gate.
The plane trip took around 11 hours to Frankfurt, Germany. We had to switch planes and divide in two groups for the short flight to Amsterdam. The first plane arrived and everyone waited for all of our equipment, and nothing arrived. The second flight landed unfortunately with out our equipment, sleeping bags and few of the members/staff suitcases.
We all got on busses for the ride to Bad Munder Germany and arrived around midnight, 30 hours after arriving at Blue Devil Hall. Much to our surprise the temperature was nothing like we anticipated. Somewhere in the low 40s, it was cold!! The corps slept in a closed down hotel owned by the city (that had only a few ghosts and water leaks). Because we did not have our sleeping gear, our hosts and the local Red Cross provided blankets and pillows.
Friday - June 30, 2000The equipment finally caught up to us on Friday as well as our missing pit member. We rehearsed during the day and did a performance, along with our hosts the Starriders, for the town on Friday night in the park next to the hotel where we were staying. It seemed that everyone enjoyed the 2000 BD show. The weather cooperated today, it was a perfect night for an outdoor concert.
After the concert the corps had a couple of hours off to explore the pretty town of Bad Munder. It is a quaint town, and was perfect size to walk around. The members and staff enjoyed the time off.
Saturday - July 1, 2000We woke up Saturday morning and traveled 45 minutes to the town of Hamlen. We rehearsed in the morning and conducted a clinic in the afternoon. After the clinic we rehearsed for a short time and then had some time off to eat (split pea soup with German sausage) and got ready for the field performance in the evening. The show that night was the German Open with about 16 performing groups. The Blue Devils performed last and also did an encore standstill after the results were announced. The corps did an excellent job and seemed to pick up where they left off in California. We had a corps meeting after we changed clothes, and then we traveled back to our housing site and went to bed. It had been a long day.
Sunday - July 2, 2000Sunday we traveled back to Hamlin to prepare our On-stage production. We rehearsed until 2:00pm. We had lunch and prepared for the performance at 4:00pm. Hameln is the home of the piper that chased the rats out of their city. During the warm-ups the piper made an appearance at the guard stretch out. He then tried to get in to the horn arc, but some of the brass players decided to stop this fun loving piper. After some encouragement by the staff, he made his way in to the arc, and played along with the brass section.
The show started at 3:00pm. The Starriders and Jubal drum corps performed before The Blue Devils. After intermission the corps gave a very entertaining show. The crowd continued to clap after the corps had exited the stage. Finally after a long couple of minutes the Blue Devils came back On-stage for an encore. We finished around 5:00pm and the corps had the rest of the night off in the historic town of Hamlen. The streets are closed to automobiles and it was a very beautiful city to walk around and to explore. Many of the members had the opportunity to watch the final match of the European Soccer Championships on the many televisions set up in the shops and restaurants.
Monday - July 3, 2000Monday we had a full rehearsal day. At dinner, the sky opened up and a big thunderstorm rolled through. The night block was moved inside. The guard had a fun rehearsal at the Starriders hall and the brass and percussion did ensemble run-throughs in a circus tent next to the hall.
Tuesday - July 4, 2000Tuesday the corps had a long 5-hour morning block from 8:00am-1:00pm. After the rehearsal we went to Marienburg Castle located on a hill in the beautiful countryside surrounding Bad Munder. It was great to experience this historic structure built in the 17th Century. The people that went to the castle had a group photo session on the steps. Some of the members were adventurous and skipped the castle tour and went by train to the city of Hanover. After the castle, the busses took the rest of the corps to Hanover for the remainder of the evening. Hanover was the biggest city we went to in Germany. It was great to experience all of the sights and sounds of a large German city.
Wednesday - July 5, 2000Wednesday we traveled to Holland and stopped in the town of Munster for lunch and the members had a chance to walk around the town. We arrived in the town of Eindhoven, Holland at 6:00pm. We are staying in a GIANT in door sport hall. Big enough to do the field show inside. It is a great facility. We had a rehearsal that evening until 11:00pm and went to bed at midnight.
Thursday - July 6, 2000Today the corps had a very good three-block rehearsal. We made a couple of more addition and changes to the show. Every place we go there is a very large crowd watching rehearsal.
Friday - July 7, 2000Well ? the weather is pretty cold and rainy. But, it is great that we have an in door facility that we can do the entire field show. We had a 5-hour rehearsal block this morning. We had to start the rehearsal inside with everyone until it stopped raining. Then the brass percussion went outside while the guard stayed inside.
In the afternoon the brass and percussion got on busses and went to the city center of Eindhoven to perform for the Mayor. He was a tremendous help so that we could have the great facilities for rehearsal and sleeping. After the standstill the Mayor spoke to the corps and then went around to speak to each member. We then went inside where there was a small reception for the members with drinks (soda) and cheese. We said our Dutch thanks you and departed to head back to the hall for dinner.
The guard and pit stayed back at the hall in the afternoon. The guard added a major section to the percussion feature in Wild Ride.
After dinner it started to rain again. So we had the full corps inside working the end of the show (marching and playing ? loud). It cleared enough to send the corps outside to do a run-through, except for the guard (field was to wet and slippery).
Snack and lights out?
Saturday - July 8, 2000The meals are pretty good. We get to eat on REAL PLATES AND UTINSELS and sit at tables. WOW!!!! It beats eating on paper plates outside in the heat, on the curb, getting bit by fire ants. The meals here in Holland have consisted of cereal, bread and lunchmeat for breakfast, lunchmeat and PB&J for lunch, and variety of hot dishes for dinner.
We had a 4-hour morning block today. After lunch (and tomato soup) we had another standstill at the square in downtown Eindhoven. The local corps marched their show and we got a chance to watch their performance. Unfortunately it started to rain again, so we took cover on the busses. It let up enough to do the performance for the crowd. There was a large audience and they seemed to enjoy the corps, even when it was raining.
We able to come back in the afternoon and have a two hour ensemble block to prepare for the show. We had dinner and dressed, and departed for the show.
This was the first time in a week that we were selling any merchandise. When we showed up at the show site they were going to have us selling in an outdoor hallway. It was really cold and the wind was blowing right through there so we complained a little about space and the weather and they relocated us to an indoor bar area. This was a great place; the only difficulty was that the customers didn?t know where to find us. After we set up and got everything ready, the announcer let the crowd know where they could buy Blue Devil merchandise. WOW?after they knew we were very busy. Right after the Blue Devils performed there was a crowd of approximately 200 people. There were only two people working at the time, so it was a little crazy. We kept pushing people back and asking them to give people their space. We ended up selling out of a lot of merchandise, but on the other hand we were letting some people down because we didn?t have what they wanted. I had no idea what we were in for that night, I wish we could have had a video camera watching us to see all of the madness.
All the corps came back on to the field for a retreat. After the show we did an encore. A very emotional moment for the corps was playing the Dutch National Anthem in Holland. Teaching the Anthem with the correct stylistic interpretation was important. The Blue Devils Horn line performed the Anthem with respect and emotion. After the performance fifteen hundred Dutchmen and women responded with a standing ovation. The performers will never forget the way that we felt at that moment. The corps played the entire show as an encore. After the concert everyone started chanting "We want more, we want more." Unfortunately it was very late and we had to get back and go to bed .... but one last obstacle was in our way. The show organizers put us in a special parking area. And of course, we were the last ones out of the lot. As we started to drive out, we realized they had locked us in the facility. We could not get out. After a call to the Polite (police) and a walk around the entire stadium, we were unlocked, and got on our way back to the housing site. Late night and early morning.
Sunday - July 9, 2000We had to get up at 9:00am so we could start our clinic at 10:00am. We had a full corps meeting. We talked about the show last night, the schedule for the next couple of days, and the all important issue ... DIRTY LAUNDRY. So it was decided to pack all of laundry in to our own pillow cases and do a group clean. Our hosts (thanks Carin!!!) found a service that would clean all of our clothes, so we did not have to do them ourselves. WOW ... someone else cleaning our clothes on tour! That will give more time for sightseeing in Amsterdam. We dropped off our stinky clothes (150 bags) at the door, with the hope of seeing them again soon.
After the meeting, we started the all day clinic with about three hundred people. The marching staff did a huge basic block and the horn line and all of the participants warmed-up together. The Color Guard members helped out, as the guard broke into sections for a hands on clinic.
Once again in the afternoon, we had to stay inside to do an ensemble full corps rehearsal because of the rain. The clinic participants were able to sit in the stands and watch the rehearsal and run-through.
The dinner was GREAT. The organizers had a BBQ for all. Steak, chicken and pork. We were in heaven. The corps had a great evening rehearsal to cap off our stay in Holland and to help us start our tour of Amsterdam and France in good spirits.
We had a corps meeting to discuss the next day in Amsterdam. We went over maps, places to see, time schedule and emergency evacuation procedures (what to do if you get lost). We had a vote to decide when we would depart for Amsterdam and what time we would get picked up. It was decided that we would leave for Amsterdam at around 9:30am. The pick up time varied from 10:00pm to 2:00am. Everyone comprised at midnight. We went to bed excited about the next day.
Monday - July 10, 2000We got in to Amsterdam around 11:30am and everyone hit the exchange banks. Then we were on our way to a day off in Amsterdam. Some of the places that everyone got a chance to see was the Rijksmuseum, The Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandthuis, Canal Rides, The Dam, Restaurants, and of course the famous red light district ... plus much much more.
We all had a great time touring this beautiful city with all of the canals and tremendous history. There was so much to do in such little time.
Everyone was at the pick up place at midnight (which was a relief), and we started our way back to our housing. We got back around 2:00am. To our surprise, our laundry was waiting for us, all clean, and FOLDED IN OUR BAGS! We went to bed smelling good. It is off to Paris early tomorrow.
Tuesday ? July 11, 2000We woke up at 7:00am ? YIKES! I guess we are more motivated to get to Paris rather than a rehearsal field. We traveled 5 hours to Paris with a stop for lunch along the way.
We drove in to Paris and were able to see the beautiful church Sacre Coeur up on the hill (in the Montmartre District where we will be staying), when we got off the highway. The three very large busses made their way through the small streets of Paris. We arrived at our destination around 3:30pm. We are actually staying in three hotels close to each other. The corps divided up in to three groups, received envelopes with 200 francs from the booster club (Thank You Booster Club!!) for our free day, had an orientation of Paris, and discussed final instructions. We all went to get our luggage off the busses and headed to our hotels to check in. All the hotels were in the Montmartre area, which is north of Paris near Sacre Coeur, on a very large hill over looking Paris. The first hotel was at the location where we dropped off everyone. The next group of people started up the hill (very very steep) to their hotel. They climbed, and climbed some more, then turned the corner and went back down the hill (all with suitcases) to the hotel. They arrived out of breath, and then had to get in a very small elevator to get up to their rooms (hardly big enough to fit one person with their luggage). The third group got back on the bus and went to their hotel. It was on Boulevard De Rouchechouart. Home to the Moulanrouge. Definitely some interesting sites on THIS street. After we all got settled in, we went out to see Paris.
About 50 of us went together as a group with Dave to get familiar with Paris and the Metro system. We experienced the Metro for the first time together and some of the highlights of Paris. We got off at Notre-Dame and were able to orientate ourselves on the bridge over the river Seine. Next was the famous shopping street, Champs-Elysees where we walked up to the Arc de Triomphe, and then off to see the incredible view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero. We had fun getting on and off the packed metro, with people narrowly making some of the changes. At the Eiffel Tower the tour ended and we all made our way back to our hotels at our own pace. We had to be in at 1:00am. There were some challenges as certain metro trains stopped around midnight. Everyone got back and were in bed by 1:30am.
Wednesday - July 12, 2000The next day was a full day off. Some of the sights everyone saw in the two days were .. Notre-Dame, Musee De Louvre, Musse D'Orsay, Pompidou, Royal Palais Gardens, Hotel De Ville, Chatelet, Madeleine, Versailles, Eiffel Tower (all lit up from the New Years Celebration), Des Invalides, Arc De Triomphe, The Opera House, Champs-Elysees, The Catacombs, The Latin Quarter, The Bastille, St. Germaine, St. Augustine, St. Chappel, The Hard Rock Cafe, Various Restaurants and shopping.
We all met at the end of the evening up at Sacre Coeur over looking Paris ...what a view! We gathered on the steps, did some group photos, shared all of our experiences with each other (some great stories!), and discussed the next couple of days plans. We had to keep some of the local street merchants and others out of our meeting, because we aroused much curiosity.
We will hopefully post some members diaries from their day off in Paris soon.
Thursday - July 13, 2000We had to get up at 6:00am .. OH MY. Pack and drag all of our luggage back out of the hotel to the busses. The entire corps was riding a high; having had plenty of time to see what Paris has to offer. We got on our busses that morning with a couple of unique incidents to start the day. At the percussion hotel (on Boulevard De Rouchechouart), there was a skirmish outside, while the corps was loading the busses, two locals were arguing outside a nightclub, and one got into his car, and tried to run the other man down, nearly taking out a few of our corps members along the way. At the brass hotel, two "rookie" members missed there wake-up knock, and delayed the corps for 90 minutes, while we searched for them!
Once we were finally on the road, it was a long ride to La Flotte. The town welcomed us with a fabulous three-course meal of soup, duck, and dessert. This quaint little resort town had us perform a two-hour street show. We covered a strip of about 300 yards, and did segments of our show for the large group that had assembled. Our magical mystery tour continued that night when the corps was sleeping in three separate hotels, on opposite sides of town.
Friday - July 14, 2000The next morning, we left for Lens France. This was the longest of our bus rides, over nine hours. Once we arrived in Lens, the locals, including lots of table wine treated us to another meal! The performance that day was part of the Bastille Day celebrations, and after we finished, we were able to watch the large fireworks show. That night was another welcome stay in hotels for the corps.
Saturday - July 15, 2000Day three after Paris took us to Brugge, Belgium. This town is one of the oldest in Belgium, dating back to the medieval period. The corps was taken on a guided tour of this beautiful city. Once we had a meeting, the corps was free to explore for a while, before our afternoon performance. This town is gorgeous, but full of twists and turns, as three of our members found out when they got lost, and missed the performance! After we reluctantly said goodbye to Brugge, it was back to Eindhoven, to switch gears from tourists back to drum corps, and prepare for our return to competition in the United States.
Sunday - July 16, 2000Today was a full rehearsal day. The Sportscentrum in Eindhoven turned out to be a great rehearsal facility. We had the indoor arena and the outdoor soccer field, which turned out to work in our favor as the whole corps stepped it up a notch.
Monday - July 17, 2000
The last of our performances in Europe was in Ninjmegen; this was a great
opening ceremony to Holland?s soccer season. Military was in full force
as you could not turn in any direction without seeing a uniformed serviceman.
As the festivity's got under way the stadium was treated to a dozen paratroopers
falling from the sky aiming for a bright neon pink cross in the middle of the
soccer field. The corps could not do the full field show because they did not
want to put lines on the field, so we did a concert for the crowd. There was
probably over 30,000 people who enjoyed the performance by The Blue Devils.
Tuesday - July 18, 2000Well .... this is the last day in Europe. What an experience!!! We are all ready to get back to the United States and start the drum corps tour and get back in competition (as well as see our wonderful food truck). But .. this trip was GREAT. Many, many incredible days.
Today we had a rehearsal day as well as start packing everything up for the trip home. We have to leave at 3:00am to catch our 7:00 am flight to Chicago. Jet lag here we come. We will try to sleep on the plane and then get back on schedule when we bed down at our housing facilities in Europe.
Thanks to all the Europe sponsors who made this trip possible. All the enthusiastic fans who appreciated our performances. All the many volunteers and support staff that helped us in each city. The staff and performers of The Blue Devils that makes it all happen. DCI and Dan Acheson for all their support. The Blue Devil Organization and Booster Club for all of their support. AND ... Pete Emmon and Gail Schultz for their two years of incredible planning that made it all come together. What a project, and what an accomplishment.
Thank you to our hosts in Germany, the Starriders ? Ingo, Anca, Herbert and all who made the stay in Germany so GREAT!
Thank you to Rob, Harry, Caren, Fred and all who have made our stay in Holland so wonderful.
Thank you to Hans for all of your help!!
That is it for our BD Europe Diary. Thank you for sharing our journey with us!
The Blue Devils
Wednesday, July 19, 2000