USA Tour 2015 Day 3 – Towers, Deep Dish and Performances

Day Three – Sunday 5th April 2015

Today’s day has been another really enjoyable (and full on) day with things to do continually from early in the morning. We started with breakfast between 6:00 and 7:00am today, it had to be this early as there was Mass planned at Assumption Catholic Church starting at 7:30am, there was a 15 minute walk for us to undertake to get there on time.

Mass was really nice, beautiful building on the inside, which is funny because the outside was quite bland. There were lots of mosaics and paintings on walls and the room, pink marble for the sanctuary and really colourful stain glassed windows. All the parishioners were really friendly and welcoming.

After Mass we headed back to the hotel and quickly got changed before heading out meet up with the group members who had attended an Anglican service. Originally today we were going to have free time for people in morning, however, with it being a Sunday and Easter a lot of the shops were closed making it not the best use of time. Our wonderful guides managed to change our itinerary around to visit the John Hancock building and the amazing viewing deck of the city and surrounding area (360 degree views), first, we needed to walk there.

Our walk took about 20 minutes to get through downtown Chicago to Michigan Avenue and what is referred to add the “Magnificent Mile” due to the number of expensive retail shops along it. We met up with the rest of our group outside the John Hancock building which contains 360 degrees Chicago, a vexing platform at the top of the 94th floor. It is possible to see four different states of the US on a clear day including across Lake Michigan. The day was a little cloudy in the distance which hindered the view. Some the group went on this thing called “Tilt” which is basically a wall of glass that tile out away from the building at various angles…the longer you are on it the further it tips over the street below – I didn’t do it (surprise surprise).

Our next stop was for lunch back in down town, I had my first ever Waldorf salad which was very enjoyable. This meant another walk up the Magnificent Mile, one thing I’ve found about Chicago is a love the atmosphere here, it’s a really nice city to visit.

At the conclusion of lunch we all headed back to hotel and prepared for the sound check and evening performance. We weren’t going back to the hotel until after tonight’s performance which meant we needed to suit up completely. We boarded buses and arrived a short time later at the Symphony Centre where we saw the Symphony last night as this is where the performances were occurring. The sound checks went really well, I got to walk around the building during this time and take in some of the history – I think I got the best job for the day 🙂

After sound checks we walked back to Grant Park where some of the staff had serf up an Easter Egg hunt for the students to ensure they got to experience that part of Easter Sunday – the students loved it and a lot of fun was had by all.

At 4:15pm we got back not he buses and headed off for our early dinner at Gino’s Deep Dish Pizzeria. This is apparently a Chicago institution, very fatty and greasy but delicious at the same time. I tried a slice of the Meat Supreme, Pepperoni and Buffalo Chicken.

It was then back not he bus to the Symphony Centre for the performances. Once we had arrived and moved into the waiting room we had a visit from the Australian Consul General and Vice Consul General who are based in Chicago. They heard through DFAT that we were in town and requested to come and meet everyone and attend the concert which was pretty cool.

The concert went really well, all the students performed excellently and it was great to see some of the other bands. Americans are renowned for their Symphonic Bands and these ones didn’t disappoint in standard of excellence. The highlight was the last band, the Tennessee Tech University Symphony Band, they performed great repertoire, my only complaint would be the night went exceptionally long.

Tomorrow’s itinerary is a lot more relaxed, we have the option to sleep in and have a late breakfast. I am thinking at the moment of getting up and going for a run. It’d be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to run along Lake Michigan or the Chicago River.

Again, it’s very late…I’d better head of and get some rest otherwise tomorrow really will be a case of struggle town!

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