Last week I went on my last choir trip to Chicago. While this was the third time I thought I was going on my last choir trip, this is definitely the last one. While the trip was a lot of fun, it was also bittersweet because I knew I wouldn't be going through these same sort of experiences again.
Our trip started at 5:45am on Thursday morning, which meant I had to get up at the awful time of 4:00am. We all met at the bus and started driving down. While this wasn't my longest drive ever, it was still a long time to sit on the bus. Although the drive was long, it gave me a chance to catch up with the people around me, because even though I see them every week at choir, we don't really get a chance to talk during that time.
We arrived Thursday evening and went straight to our dinner, which was Chicago style pizza! While the pizza had a little too much sauce for my liking, I did enjoy how much cheese was on it. In my mind, there is no such thing as too much cheese.
The next day was packed full of exploring and learning about Chicago. We started the day off with a Gangster Tour of the city, lead by Johnny Three Knives. I would recommend seeing/learning about the city this way because it is such a fun way to learn about Chicago's history! I would also recommend you ask for Johnny Three Knives as your tour guide as he was entertaining, informative, and not bad to look at...
Our next trip was to the Shedd Aquarium. We got to see so many different under the sea creatures, including dolphins, belugas, penguins, and so much more! We even found Nemo! This is a great place to bring both adults and kids, as there is a little something for everyone.
On the way to dinner we quickly stopped at the Cloud Gate, which looks like a silver bean. Along with taking a bunch of pictures, we also sang one of our favourite songs to sing, Frobisher Bay. While we were singing, all of tourists at the attraction went quiet and many crowded around us and/or took pictures and videos of us. This is one of the things I will miss about choir trips, stopping and singing songs with a choral group in random/ tourist locations.
After dinner we went to see the musical Mamma Mia, which is one of my all time favourites. It was such a fun way to end the evening and it left me with all sorts of different ABBA songs running through my head the rest of the trip.
Our morning of Day Three was left with a little bit of free time. I caught up on some stuff for my Interior Design course and then head over to the shopping centre across the street from our hotel, the Oakbrook Center. While I didn't have time to see too much in this shopping centre, we did find a cute little candy shop called Lolli & Pops. Yes I got a bag of candy there and yes, it is delicious.
After the shopping centre we got ready for the competition. We went to the school where the competition was being held and warmed up and then went on stage to perform. While the stage we performed on wasn't great for a choir our size, overall I believe our choir did really well. I was also really pleased with my solo in the competition, which was the introduction to the song Homeward Bound and also the very first thing our group performed in the competition. To say I was nervous is a bit of an understatement, but I powered through and ended up getting great comments from our adjudicator about my solo.
We ended the evening at the Navy Pier and with the final celebration from the competition.
On the fourth day we drove home through snow and pouring rain. Pro tip: never travel home on April 14. Last year it was the ice storm and this year it was snow and rain. We saw so many cars in the ditches, making us even more happy to arrive home safely. The bus driver is only allowed to travel for a set amount of time in the day before the bus turns off, and we made it back with just enough time, 8 minutes to be exact!
What I am Going to Miss about Choir Trips
There are many things I am going to miss about these choir trips. Traveling to new places to perform, getting to know other members of the choir better, and getting to catch up with old friends. The things I wont miss are: sitting on a bus for hours on end and coming back sick. Okay, so the coming back sick didn't happen on most of these trips, but I definitely got hit with an awful cold after coming back from this trip!
One thing I didn't notice as much on other choir trips, largely because of my age, is how much kids grow and open up on these trips. I loved seeing how much more outgoing kids became from Day 1 to Day 4. I also loved seeing the kids making new friends. I know these trips had the same kind of impact on me, so it was cool seeing this happening for other children.
Overall, I am really going to miss these trips. If you have a kid in choir and can afford to send them on these trips, I would highly recommend it. These trips were some of the best experiences of my life.