The trip for the Central High School Music Department to Chicago was an outstanding accomplishment. Orchestra President Eype John (275) commented, “Traveling has always been a huge part of the music department’s legacy, so when we got the opportunity to go to Chicago, everyone was excited. The students used that excitement as a fuel to prepare for this trip. We spent months fundraising to make this trip more affordable for everyone and the experience was even better than expected. We all had a blast and learned so much.”
Students were able to make new friends within the department and see the splendid sights that Chicago had to offer. The students departed for their trip on Sunday, March 20th. After a twelve hour bus ride with no wifi or charging outlets, and a causal 1:00 A.M. pit stop at McDonald’s, they had finally reached the “Windy City.”
As the buses pulled up into the Navy Pier, the students gawked at the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan. Upon arrival, there was an opportunity to explore the pier and head to Lincoln Park Zoo. On their way there, they received a guided bus tour of the city. At the zoo, the choir, band, and orchestra performed, despite the strong winds and smells commonly found at zoos. Their next destination was the “Magnificent Mile”; a mile-long block of high-end department stores, similar to New York’s 5th Avenue. Dinner was at The Rainforest Cafe, where the students dined among animated trees among the scarily realistic monkeys. They ended their day by visiting the top of the 360 Tower, officially known as the John Hancock Building, and viewed the city night lights from every possible angle.
The second day began with the students performing at the Field Museum of Natural History. Across the street from the museum was the Shedd Aquarium where the next activity on the itinerary took place. Both the musicians and chaperones examined in awe the otters, frogs, and many exotic sea creatures. By the time the students were done at the aquarium, their stomachs were grumbling, so dinner at Gino’s East was next on the to do list. They were served various types of deep dish pizza and signed their names on the walls. After dinner they went to see the magical musical of Matilda. It was a fun experience for many and was educational on what it means to be a young performer as well as inspirational to the music department.
The next morning the music department went to Glenbard East High School for an orchestral and choral exchange. At the school the Central orchestra got the chance to perform with Glenbard orchestra, whereas the choir did a workshop with the school’s choral department. “I feel it was really educational and I had a great time,” said Joe Trachtman (278).
The students were all able to socialize once the morning was over. After saying goodbye to Glenbard East, they went to Morton Arboretum. Located in Lisle, Illinois, Morton Arboretum features several gardens along with activities that people may investigate for their own pleasure. Students from Central reveled in trying to solve the labyrinth offered by the arboretum and eventually started a large game of “manhunt.”
Afterwards, the Central students went to a leadership clinic at Vandercook College of Music. The clinic discussed how students can be strong leaders as well as how being a leader is effective in specific music-related situations. As the students left Chicago to go back to Philadelphia, they went to Main Event, which is popular site for different activities like bowling and lazer tag. At Main Event the students were able to make new friends by bonding in playing laser tag, climbing on a high ropes course, bowling, playing pool, and hanging out in the arcade.
The Chicago trip was a marvelous way to end the experience the seniors have had within the department. “I think it brought everyone closer together and I think it was great for the school to get their name out there,” remarked Erika Nolan (275).
“I think Chicago was an incredible experience for everybody that was involved in the respect that they performed, got to take part in the culture of chicago, do some educational things, and just get to see a different city in a different perspective,” stated Mr. Blazer, Head of Central’s Music Department. “I think this is a trip that the students will remember the rest of their lives and I can’t wait for the next trip.”
Dylan Lewis (277)