Hassan Sayed ’15
This past weekend, from April 24th through 27th, the St. Edward High School Concert Band, a forty musician ensemble consisting of students from SEHS, Mag’s, and St. Joe’s, journeyed six hours to the windy city of Chicago to compete in the annual Chicago Dixie Classic Music Competition. The band spent about two days and three nights in the city, not only partaking in the Dixie Classic competition but also experiencing the culture of the city as a means to both further the band’s musical goals and help its members gain deeper personal connections with each other.
The band began the day Friday with rehearsal at a nearby Holy Cross school to make sure they were musically-fit and ready to go for the competition Saturday. Afterwards, the band travelled to the Navy Pier, where Tubist Patrick Fox ’16 found a “ghost ship” (ask him about if you see him), the Art Institute of Chicago, a prominent location in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the Field Museum. The day closed off with a visit to Northwestern University to hear its own concert band, one of the best in the nation; the event was not only entertaining but also inspired the SEHS Concert musicians to do greater things with their musical capabilities (after seeing the full extent of those abilities exhibited spectacularly by the Northwestern ensemble).
Saturday was the day of the Dixie Classic, where the Concert Band played three pieces: Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Folk Songs from Somerset,” Nelhybel’s “Festivo,” and De Meij’s “Aquarium.” Due to their impressive performance under the direction of Angelo Kortyka, the Eagle musicians received superior ratings of “Is” from all the judges present at the competition. Afterwards, the band went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, learned about Chicago’s mafia history during the “Untouchables Tour,” and ended the day with another musical performance, this time by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This also served as an inspirational experience, considering the Chicago Symphony is considered one of the “Big Five” orchestras, along with those of Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.
An interesting series of events took place Saturday evening. The band had eaten dinner at Giordano’s, a famous Chicago-style pizzeria, and had three or four pizzas left over. The members decided to distribute the extra food to many homeless people they encountered throughout the city as they made their way to the Chicago Symphony, an act of pure service, charity, and caring that could in fact be considered “Worthy of the Call.”
The Concert Band left Sunday morning after attending mass at the Holy Name Cathedral in downtown Chicago and returned back to Cleveland that evening. The trip to Chicago truly served as a time for the Band to grow as friends, as cultured people, and as musicians. The future of band travels will only bring more possibilities.