The Cats take on Chicago

The+Cats+take+on+Chicago

Eve Gross

Hey band? More like hey bean. I took a trip down to the Windy City, (also known as Chicago, Illinois) November 16-18 with the Marching Band. Chicago was nICE (credits to Lauren Loss for that pun).

Anyways, I’m done with all the puns. The last time I visited Chicago was when I was four years old. I’d say I didn’t remember anything, but I did remember being upset about not visiting the American Girl Doll Store. But since I don’t remember anything important, I’ll just say this was my first time to Chicago.

The biggest city I’ve been to is probably Orlando, Florida, and the only thing really “big” thing about that city is Disney World. So, Chicago was a surprise because of its size. But let me start from the very beginning. We were scheduled to leave at 7:30am from Northview, but we had to be there at 6:15am to get our luggage, insurnment, and uniforms ready to pack. I woke up at 5am to get ready. I was dead tired, but my excitement masked that. My mom and I went to get some coffee at Starbucks, and it was like a ghost town.

When we finally loaded the bus, it was around 7:30am. It was a five hour bus ride, so not too bad. To be honest, the most exciting part about the bus ride was the time change. I had never been anywhere that was in a different time zone, so it was pretty exciting for me. I remember at around 11am the time jumped back to 10am.

We arrived in Chicago around noon and started off by gathering the band and taking a picture against the skyline. After our picture we headed around the corner to the John G. Shedd Aquarium. Of course the Toledo Zoo has a pretty cool aquarium, but I have to say that the Toledo Zoo was very, VERY small in comparison to the Shedd Aquarium. Half of the sea animals I saw there I had never seen before. Personally, my favorite part was seeing the beluga whales and the dolphins. Seats were reserved for the band at one of the oceanariums for us to see an aquatic shows. At the show, dolphins performed and we got to see many animals walk just a few feet away from us, like penguins and sea lions.

The Magnificent Mile and the Water Tower Mall were our next stops. The mall was huge. Our mall is wide, but only has one floor. This mall was wide and has seven floors. I love shopping, so I was pretty excited, but nervous at the same time because I didn’t want to spend all of my money on the first day. When we got there, I finally fulfilled my childhood dream of visiting the American Girl Doll store. Of course it wasn’t the biggest one, but it was good enough for me. To my surprise, I didn’t even buy one material thing, I only bought cookie dough (yeah, there was a cookie dough stand).

After the mall we went to a different part of downtown to eat dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The atmosphere at the Hard Rock Cafe was really cool. I’d been to the Rain Forest Cafe, but never Hard Rock. Our night consisted of some kids getting up on the stage and dancing and giving thank you’s to our directors Nathan Heath, Emily Hage, and our chaporons on the trip, and last (and the least) food poisoning (but that’s a story for a little later).

We left Hard Rock Cafe to go to the Broadway musical called “Hello Dolly!”. In my opinion, it was a really good show. Northview puts on awesome products, but this was something totally different (but of course it’s Broadway). All the singing, dancing, and props were so amazing. I would definitely recommend seeing this musical if you ever get the chance, or even seeing just any broadway musical.

So, going back to the food poisoning… Long story short, don’t get the cheeseburger at Hard Rock Cafe. My friend and I were lucky, we’re vegetarians so we didn’t eat the burger, but we did feel bad for the people that did. I remember falling asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel (because it was a 20 minute drive), but then being woken up to what sounded like someone spilling their drink. I woke up unworried, oh someone just spilled their drink, but then I saw one kid in the band running from the front of the bus to the bathroom in the back, and in the process, throwing up. I don’t want to talk about this too much because well, it’s gross, but just remember, say no to cheeseburgers at the Hard Rock Cafe!!!

We got back to the hotel around 10pm, and we were just about ready to go to sleep, when we realized our toilet was broke. Seems like no big deal right? Well, when there’s five girls in one room who didn’t go to the bathroom after a two hour show… the broken toilet is a problem.

The next day we woke up around 6:30am to get ready. We had breakfast at the hotel and then traveled downtown to Millenium Park. At the park, we took MANY pictures at the Cloud Gate, aka the Bean, then went ice skating, and finished out with some Starbucks and shopping downtown. We headed back to the bus around 1:30pm to eat lunch and change into our uniforms to march.

After we got on all of our layers and our Marching Band uniforms, we drove to the center of downtown Chicago to get lined up. Fortunately for us we were 10th in line for the parade, meaning we would step off faster and get done faster. We played a song called “America”, and we played that probably over 15 times. I marched in the Disney parade my freshman year, and I thought that was a good amount of people, but that was nothing compared to the Mile Lights Parade. When we started off, there weren’t many people, but as we got into the heart of the parade and the TV zone, there were tons of people. After we marched, Band Director Nathan Heath told us there were an estimated 1 million people watching the parade. I thought I wouldn’t like marching in the parade very much, but it was actually a really cool experience.

The last day came and I was very tired. In my opinion the last was the best. We visited the John Hancock Building in downtown, and there we had a choice to do the “The Tilt”. The Tilt is kind of like a ride, where you stand on a edge of the building, and it tilts down, like you’re flying over the Chicago Skyline. I was pretty scared to do it at first, but once I got on it was really fun.

After the John Hancock building we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. From the outside you would think the museum didn’t have much to it, but then you stepped inside and find four floors of cool, interactive activities. Personally, this was my favorite part of the trip.

At 2pm we loaded the buses for our ride home. Part of me was excited that we were going home because I was so tired, but the other part was sad because the trip was an amazing experience and I wish we would’ve gotten more time. We got home and 8:30pm, and even though it was early, I was very tired the next day.