Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007

BHS gets a taste of Windy City

May 10, 2007

A 45-minute concert turned into a weekend of touring Chicago for 63 Baldwin High School students.

Two years ago the BHS band students traveled to Orlando, Fla., but chose a different location for it's bi-annual trip. The 2007 destination was northeast Illinois.

"It was a lot shorter and cheaper," said BHS senior Chris Elniff, who also went to Florida in 2004, of the Chicago trip. "This was fun but different. This was an urban setting and seeing attractions, where as the Florida one was just theme parks. It's nice to get some variety."

The group of 76, including 13 chaperons, left for Chicago April 26 in tour buses. After a 10-hour ride, the destination was reached.

Although the slate was busy with activities and places to visit, there was one must-do on the list -- the concert at the Field Museum.

The performance lasted about 45 minutes. BHS played in an open space in the museum while listeners walked in and out of the room during the concert.

"The performance went really well," BHS band instructor Will Cooper said. "Several groups performed that day and we were the first one of those. I was really pleased with our performance. I think the audience liked it."

Elniff enjoyed the concert, but said the room was strange to perform in.

"It was weird, because we performed in the main hall of the Field Museum," Elniff said. "It was huge with really high ceilings, so the sound just rang for literally three seconds after we would finish a song. So, we had to cut some songs that were long and pretty, because they would turn into mush."

The concert was only one of many activities for the BHS group. It also toured the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry and Navy Pier. It saw the Blue Man Group and Chicago Symphony.

Elniff took a liking to the Field Museum, because of its prehistoric creatures.

"My favorite was the Field Museum, because they had all of the dinosaurs," Elniff said. "I am a huge dinosaur fan."

BHS Activities Director Gary Stevanus also went on the trip. He enjoyed the sites, but particularly enjoyed the other museum and the Blue Man Group.

"It would be a tie between the Blue Man Group and the Museum of Science and Industry. I have always wanted to see the Blue Man Group.

The museum was just incredible," Stevanus said. "They have the only submarine ever captured by U.S. armed forces in a war on display. You can actually tour the submarine. They have lots of space equipment, trains, planes and the human body. If it's scientific, they had it."

Cooper enjoyed all of the sites, but especially Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest indoor aquarium.

"I liked the Shedd Aquarium the best," Cooper said. "I like seeing the animals and I like what they have done with the place. I like the oceanography thing. It is really a neat place. There is a lot to see and a lot to do. Those places are so massive, there is no way you can see the whole thing in one trip. You have to go back to see the entire thing."

Another site visited by the group was the John Hancock Tower. However, that trip turned out to be a bust because of clouds that afternoon.

"We went to the John Hancock tower, but there was bad weather and it was all clouded over," Cooper said. "You couldn't see anything, so you basically looked at a cloud. I think it was a neat experience for the kids, but too bad the weather wasn't nicer."

The BHS group also took a tour of Chicago gangster sites. Stevanus said the tour was educational, but took a while.

"The gangster tour was fun," Stevanus said. "There is a lot of distance between a lot of the sites. I think the kids got a lot out of the history part of it. We saw where the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place. There was a lot of interesting history stuff on the tour."

Along with the 58 band students, five foreign exchange students from BHS came along on the trip to Chicago. Cooper said the 63 students gave him and the chaperons no problems.

"It was a great trip," Cooper said. "We did a lot of things. We got to see a lot of different parts of Chicago. The kids had a great time and were very well behaved."

Stevanus also mentioned the behavior of the students was excellent.

"We didn't have any problems with the kids," Stevanus said. "They were great. We actually received lots of compliments from store owners and the hotel staff. People at the Chicago Symphony complimented us on how our kids behaved. The bus drivers thought our kids were excellent. Everyone was very complimentary of our students."

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