A few weeks ago, Isaac and his school band went to Chicago to play a special performance in the Chicago’s Symphony Center. We drove separately as we didn’t want to ride the bus and he didn’t want us tagging along separately. So, we made a family-1 affair of it and had a lot of fun touring around Chicago seeing the sites and having a great time!
We did stay in the same hotel as the band…The Palmer House Hilton in downtown, right near Millennium Park. The hotel is listed as an historical landmark and I can see why…it is a beautiful hotel and well worth the experience! I loved being able to step outside and see the “L” pass by. We could walk to almost everything. I especially love that part.
We had Chicago deep-dish pizza the first night at Giordano’s. I typically do not like deep-dish as all of the bread wears me out but it was a cool ambiance and the flavor was really great! I especially loved to start off with a Chicago staple as well! I know Jon Stewart gave Trump a hard time about eating New York pizza with a fork, but with deep-dish, we had no choice!
Abigail, Emily’s parents and I braved the Sky Deck in the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). The Sky Deck is a set of glass push-outs near the top of the building where visitors can step out into what seems like thin air at 1353 feet up! It was really neat to do and the views were simply amazing. To me, the Sky Deck was so high up that it didn’t feel like a scary thing at all. It was sort of like flying in a plane…I think 100 feet would have been more scary. Anyhow, it was worth the trip. We bought a City Pass there which gave access to a lot of the cool exhibits throughout the city and saved us a lot of money.
We walked around in the cool air a number of days and nights and saw Calder’s Flamingo, Cloud Gate (aka the “Bean”), and the Chicago Board of Trade. Really, Chicago is a fantastic city to visit. We took in the Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. There is just so much in Chicago and it is a shame we didn’t have a lot more time to really take in more of the city. We spent some time seeing Van Gogh’s work in the Art Institute but that was only the tip of the ice berg of the famous works that are housed there. We saw American Gothic and Nighthawks and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. We saw Monets and Picassos and works of the ancients. It is truly a remarkable collection which I would like to further explore.
Finally, we did get a chance to actually lay eyes on Isaac and his his fantastic band play fantastic pieces in a fantastic hall! I think they were all so very proud to play and their love of music was quite evident! I so enjoy seeing Isaac and everyone in the band in tuxeudos / formal dresses and I am very proud of the hard work that led them to be able to play at this venue.
Even though it snowed while we were in Chicago, it was a marvelous trip and one I would love to repeat!
I have mentioned many times that the kids are both very involved with band in their schools. Band means many things to different people but I never ceased to be amazed at how incredible these kids play and how truly kind and awesome the majority of our band kinds are.
Isaac’s high school band played their spring concert this week at the Clay Center in Charleston. Truly, Charleston is fortunate to have such an amazing performance hall. And even more fortunate is that our high school has the opportunity to play in the same hall as the WV Symphony. It’s a high-class, beautiful location!
Isaac was principle chair for his instrument, the tenor sax. I am very proud as you might imagine. His band-mates all seem to be very driven and really respect their band director. He’s a serious man, and demands excellence from these kids and absolutely gets it. I think the kids very much respect him for helping them to see how great they can be. I am very pleased with his ability to inspire the band to play as he does. It’s clear he loves the music and the kids and that’s just perfect in my mind!
So friends, I know that these may take a bit to download, but if you find the time or the inclination, please enjoy the music from the George Washington High School Spring Concert – 2015!
Abigail started taking flute lessons in 3rd grade. It’s had its ups and downs but mostly she enjoys playing and she has done very well playing in various school events in elementary school. Now she is in middle school where she is in the school band, a five-days-per-week endeavor. Of course, with a lot more playing time, she has really seen a jump in her ability. Practice makes perfect of course!The other day, her band had the opportunity to play various duets, trios, etc at the local mall. It was packed with shoppers and felt all festivey, especially with the beautiful music the kids played. I am always amazed at the ability of these kids and their band instructor to make kids, many of whom had never touched an instrument, into pretty amazing musicians in a year-and-a half or two years! It’s really wonderful and makes me so proud!
Anyhow, Abigail was (I think) the only 6th grader to play in the group. She had a duet and a trio. I recorded both but the acoustics in the mall along with my position make it harder to hear in the video than it was in real life. Anyhow, I loved hearing the groups play Christmas songs and carols and have a good time!
At the end, they decided to walk to the next stage area over and have a group shot with Santa. He was a pretty good sport!
With Christmas near, it is concert season! Most recently Isaac’s band performed their Christmas concert. I learned a few years ago that his middle school band is incredible and always puts on a superb show!
Isaac plays tenor sax and is really pretty talented at it. He picked up clarinet and can play it pretty well too. I don’t know if his band director knows that but his first love is tenor so it probably doesn’t matter. Anyhow, the local middle school band has around 120 kids and they can play as well as many older bands I have seen. In addition to the concert/marching band, Isaac also plays in the jazz band, a group of about 20 or so musicians.
So, I am so proud that both kids play music and I was especially excited to hear what they had put together this year! I guess some people don’t look forward to this sort of thing, but I was on the edge of giddy waiting for their first number!
I think the music speaks for itself (of course, remember this is just my recording with my phone)! These kids are amazing and work so very hard and their dedication really shows! This concert really got me in the Christmas spirit and I couldn’t be prouder of Isaac and his band-mates!