On 29 August 1865, an audience of critics and the general public gathered at the Salle Herz in Paris to witness and pass judgment on the results of an experiment set up three years earlier by the instrument manufacturer Alphonse Sax Jr, who aimed to demonstrate not only that women were capable of playing brass instruments, but that it was in their interests — on moral, health and potentially even career grounds — to do so. Although this concert of brass-band music, with supplementary items for harp and voice, marked the band's third public appearance (they had performed at the Palais d'Industrie in December 1864 and at a brass-band competition in Orbec earlier in August 1865), it was their first appearance at a major concert venue and represented their début in front of the massed Parisian press. When they walked on stage, members of the audience sniggered at the sight of a group of young women carrying brass instruments covering the entire range from the portable cornet to the heavyweights of the bass section. Plainly dressed, with only moderately full skirts, they proceeded to play an arrangement of Partant pour la Syrie, a popular romance set as a quick march, which was then thought to be by Eugénie de Beauharnais, and which under the reign of her son Napoléon III had gained the status of a national hymn. The march had been arranged by the group's conductor, Laure Micheli, who directed the ensemble in two other pieces. To wide acclaim, Émilie Lacroix then played a set of variations for cornet à pistons, arranged by J.-B. Dias, on the tune Le carnaval de Venise. The remaining members of the sextet are shadowy figures: Mlle Dias on second cornet (presumably the sister or daughter of the arranger Dias), Mlle Suzanne Legrand and Mme Neckra in the alto section, and Mlle Marie Legrand (presumably the sister of Suzanne) and Mme Worms playing bass instruments. The supporting artists were all women: the singers Mlle Marcus (also referred to in the press as Mlle Marens or Mlle Marius) and Mme Neulat de Chambon, and the harpist Mlle Waldteufel (a joint first-prize winner at the Paris Conservatoire and former pupil of Antoine Prumier); Suzanne Legrand doubled as accompanist for the singers.