In May of 2016, the Marching 110 performed in Paris, an adventure band members will not soon forget, and were met in front of the Eiffel Tower by the Helleu family, carrying awesome hand made signs and big smiles. So moved by the experience of the most exciting band in the land, the family made a promise that they would come to Athens one day for an authentic show on the band's home field.
Over the past few years, Olivier Helleu kept in touch with and assistant band director Josh Boyer, and on Oct 25 the family finally paid a visit to fulfill their promise to see the band perform in Athens!
Traveling to Athens, OH from Paris, to spend a few days with the band and take in an OHIO football game on October 25th, Olivier, Nathalie, Coline, and Maël Helleu proved to be the truest fans of the international sort, and the band happily treated them to two days of music and fun, as new members of their extended Bobcat family!
“We’d been planning the trip for about two years! But it became a reality maybe eight months ago. After meeting the marching band the first time, two years ago in front of the Eiffel Tower, we were completely stunned and for hours kept asking ourselves, what just happened?”
This first encounter with the Marching 110 inspired their son, Maël, to start learning to play the trumpet, and their daughter, Corrine, who was the lone trombonist in her school, was reassured upon seeing, and hearing, so many trombones in one place!
The Helleu family visited Athens on October 25 and 26. While on campus, the family paid a visit to a class in the Modern Languages Department to engage students in conversational French, and enjoyed a tour of campus alongside members of the band.
They caught the OHIO v. Howard game on Thursday night, finally cheering on the band performing on their home field. Afterward, the family was invited to the field to help perform a song with the whole band, with Coline playing trombone, and eight year old Maël learning to conduct!
Olivier summed up their visit as an important experience for their children, and as a family, they try to travel to new places, and experience new things together— and are often celebrating music’s universal language.
“Even though we may not be able to speak fluently to one another, when we interact see the happiness on their faces—and they can see our smiles—we know we’re having a good time. Music has this ability!”
Video produced by Evann Figueroa, images courtesy of Nick Bolin.