By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer
The Eastern New Mexico University band recently got first-hand look at a bit of the green with a trip to Dublin, Ireland and a chance to play in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The ENMU band played for the president of Ireland. For many band members, it was their first experience with a culture outside of the U.S.
Band director Dustin Seifert said he simply applied for a slot to march in the parade and was surprised to be picked.
“Part of the trip was educational for the students to get them to a foreign country,” Seifert said. “Allowing them to experience the culture and history of a different civilization and we also marched in the parade.”
This is the second trip the band has taken overseas. The band’s first trip was in 2004 to Great Britain.
“I plan the trip every few years so every student will have a chance to travel abroad,” Seifert said.
Seifert said Ireland is very friendly to American tourists, and called it a very Americanized culture.
“It is a lot different than the United Kingdom, which is much older and more traditional.” Seifert said.
Senior Jamie O’Rorke, an alto saxophone player, said the band was excited about the opportunity and being able to march in front of Ireland’s president.
“We learned a lot thing about their culture, they’re really supportive of our new president Barack Obama,” O’Rorke said. “The country is really green, it was nice being around that as opposed to the desert.”
And there were other refreshing things about Ireland for O’Rorke and some band members.
“The day before the parade we got some time to hang out,” said O’Rorke. “There was a group of us walking along the street, and we were invited by some locals to have a Guinness down at a pub.”
“It was great being around the locals instead of being in a tourist environment,” O’Rorke said. “We went to the Cliffs of Moher when we first got there. We visited a little coastal town called Galway, it has a lot to do with the shipping, importing and exporting of goods for them.”
“Got to see what they call a lunar surface there in Ireland,” O’Rorke said. “It is a part where the sea receded from the land. There was a bunch of limestone and bones of animals and it looked like a shot of lunar surface of the moon.”