Junior Ashley Otte has been a member of Marching Mizzou for three years. She serves as the president of Tau Beta Sigma, an honorary service sorority for band members, and she was in charge of the new band uniforms this year. She recently traveled with about 240 other Marching Mizzou members, faculty, staff and alumni to Ireland to perform in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.
Her Campus Mizzou: What were some of your favorite memories of the trip?
Ashley Otte: My favorite memories of the trip were the short, sometimes long, bus rides back and forth from hotels to tourist sites to the starts of parades. I was on a really cool bus with an awesome bus driver named Dennis. He taught us the songs “Molly Malone” and “It's a Long Way to Tipperary,” which has the exact same tune as “Every True Son,” and we sang on the bus almost every morning. My favorite site that we stopped at was this random spot on the side of the road after we left the Cliffs of Moher. The entire ground was covered in limestone. It's actually quite impossible to just describe.
HCM: What did the people of Ireland think of your music?
AO: The people of Ireland seemed to really enjoy our music. “Every True Son” is actually originally an Irish song with different lyrics, of course. Mostly, I think they were amazed by the size of our band. I had several people come up to me and ask just how many of us there were, and when I said about 220, their eyes would get bigger. They'd say something like, "I've never even heard of a band so big!"
HCM: What did you do on St. Patrick’s Day?
AO: On St. Paddy's day, as they would say, we got up early, loaded the instruments on the buses and drove into Dublin City Center. We got ready to step off and then stood around for a couple hours waiting for our turn. We were last in the parade for the grand finale, as we were told. After marching in the parade, we had a few hours on the streets of Dublin to eat food or shop. The atmosphere was insane! Thousands of people were on the Streets of Dublin drinking and celebrating. There were music performances, street performers such as a man on stilts, and a lot of green.
HCM: How did you feel while marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade? How did the rain affect your experience?
AO: The parade was an amazing, great experience that I am so happy I got to be a part of. Thousands of people were looking at us; there were people sitting on building tops, hanging out of windows, climbing up statues and trees. Little kids were sticking out their hands for high fives and some of the faces in the crowd looked mesmerized. The rain didn't really affect us at all. As we were standing around waiting for our spot in the parade to come up, it started to drizzle. It was small and hard, and the wind didn't help. But about 15 minutes after it started, it stopped! One of the coolest things about the parade was that five or six times you could hear "M-I-Z!" and the band would respond "Z-O-U!" It was so cool to know that there were some Tigers there who had no idea we were coming, and then there we were!
HCM: What did you learn from the trip?
AO: I learned to appreciate others' cultures and environments as well as my own. While we were driving around Ireland, whether it was in the cities or the country, we were told about the history of the land and the area. It's amazing to think that the majority of their buildings and history happened thousands of years before our country even existed.