Seckman High School’s award-winning band and choir will return to Chicago to compete in the 2011 Heritage Festival. For some students, the event is about the competition and bringing home another win. For most, the festival is about friendship and making memories.
“It’s just so much fun, it brings us all together as a family,” Kaitlyn Howley a senior, said.
Choir president and senior Matt Guidicy said the memories include the bus rides, the hotel rooms and walking about the Windy City.
“The memories with your buddies and the roommates, and I really I think the funnest is the bus ride up. The bus ride up and back is just a blast. Being around your friends and rooming with each other and riding the bus, the whole experience of it, the spirit of it is just unbelievable, memories for the rest of my life,” Guidiey said.
Attending the Heritage Festival requires skill and precise planning. Chaperones are needed, hotel rooms must be purchased, and candy bars are sold. The cost of the festival this year is $300 per student. This includes meals, transportation and entertainment for the students all weekend. Both the choir and band held several fundraisers to help offset the costs.
“We do have out various fundraising opportunities during the year. We did a brochure sale at the beginning of this year, and then we also do mass candy sales. We also have a lot of people that just bring in checks for like $150 at one time and bring in the rest at another time and so it’s really what works best for them,” Howley said.
The cost also includes several trips touring the City of Chicago. This year, students will get to see Navy Pier and Medieval Times. In order to have fun and stay safe precautions are taken.
“They typically take a lot of chaperones per a certain amount of kids. I have been a chaperone before, and the security is quite good. It is a high consideration. They are not going to be in areas of danger,” Edward Callahan, a parent, said.
“We don’t ever really have to worry about security. We always have to be at a certain place at a certain time; we always have to check in at a certain time. We’re only up there for three days, what could we really get into?” Guidicy said.
Band teacher Randy Hodge and choir teacher Mark Cotter's security plans involve medical releases, check-in points and chaperones—one for every 10 students—to create a safe environment for the students. This allows everyone to enjoy the trip and allows the students to be happily excited instead of concerned about visiting an urban area.
Chicago has a population of 2.9 million people and its businesses employ about 4.2 million people, according to the World Business Chicago, a municipal organization tasked with attracting businesses to the city.
The city also has 35 museums, 400 neighborhood festivals, 200 theatre companies, an opera, a symphony and ballet company.
“I’m so excited! I love going on band trips! You get to miss school for a day, and you just make so many memories,” Hannah Keisker said.
For seniors, the festival also means that graduation is right around the corner.
“I think it’s going to kind of feel like 2006 Cardinals World Series. After they won you were like ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ But then you realize the season is over, you know? For us, there isn’t another season,” Chase Callahan, a senior, said.
“Because it’s senior year I’m excited, but it’s bittersweet. I’ve been doing this for four years, and it’s coming to an end. It’s been awesome, but it’s also like, where did the time go?” Jacob Ridenour, a senior, said.
Seckman's band and choir will leave for Chicago today and perform this afternoon. They will also perform on Saturday. Although there is a chance they will bring home another win for the school, it is clear they will definitely bring home the memories they made with each other.