Sixty-six Gahanna Lincoln High School orchestra students visited Chicaco for three days Oct. 17-19 to participate in a clinic to enhance their performance skills and check out all the "Windy City" has to offer.
Orchestra director Kevin Dengel said the Friday morning orchestral clinic with Dr. Robert Hasty (was) a great experience for the students.
Hasty is an associate director of orchestras at Northwestern University.
"The Gahanna orchestras have welcomed various conductors, collegiate faculty, professional composers and musicians to work with our high school students; however, interacting with a conductor of Dr. Hasty's caliber (was) a fantastic opportunity to learn tips and tricks that we can bring back to enhance the orchestra program," Dengel said.
In addition, he said, the trip was a way for students in the program to forge stronger friendships with each other.
"Though we schedule various social events throughout the year, a trip offers a unique experience for students to create lasting memories," Dengel said.
The students, three directors and 17 parents left by motor coach at 6 a.m. Oct. 17.
About eight-and-a-half hours later, they arrived in Chicago's Millennium Park.
They were given an opportunity to view Frank Gehry's whimsical outdoor concert pavilion on North Michigan Avenue. It's known as the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States.
The group, which returned Oct.19, also took a tour of the William Harris Lee Workshop, home to one of the world's largest and most respected makers of fine string instruments.
They saw more than 20 Luthier's craft violins, violas and cellos of incomparable quality from using tools and techniques that have been passed down through centuries of violin-making tradition.
The student also saw a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Symphony Center.
Dengel said the high school orchestra hasn't traveled since its 2005 trip to Toronto, Canada.
The Gahanna Lincoln Instrumental Music Boosters contributed $75 toward each traveler's trip account, with the remaining balance being paid by families.
Dengel said the Gahanna Lincoln bands and orchestras have two ongoing fundraisers involving Giant Eagle and Kohl's gift cards. Community members purchase the cards year-round to support the instrumental music program.
Anyone wanting to purchase a card should call Dengel at 614-269-4693 for more information.