Welcome to Chicago!
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a city full of history, beauty, and culture. From the Cubs to Chicago blues, America’s third largest city offers something for everyone. Chicago’s skyline is among the world’s tallest and most dense and is dotted with architectural gems lining the city’s unusually wide streets. It is at once a truly gritty, working-class city with a varied and diverse population and an international center of cutting edge visual, performing, and gastronomic arts. In the new millennium, Chicago continues to be an economic powerhouse and major world financial center. Whether performing on stage at the Navy Pier, or alongside a local Chicago choir, your ensemble will find Chicago a perfect destination to share your music. The centralized location of the city, unmatched performance venues, and world-class attractions continue to make Chicago one of the most popular destinations in the country.
Enjoy a concert tour of Chicago and let yourself be immersed in all that the windy city has to offer as you share your music with local people.
Welcome to Chicago!
Enjoy an introduction to Chicago as you stroll along Michigan Mile and take in sights such as the world famous “bean.”
Check in to your hotel and take time to relax and refresh.
Rehearsal can be arranged this afternoon.
Tonight, a welcome dinner is served as your tour manager previews the days ahead.
Begin your day with a locally guided tour of Chicago including the Magnificent Mile, Willis Tower, and the John Hancock Center.
Next, visit historic Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, famous for its 150-foot Ferris wheel.
Tonight, join a local ensemble for an evening friendship concert followed by time to mingle and exchange.
Start the day with a morning visit to Chicago’s Museum Campus, including admission to either the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, or the Field Museum.
This afternoon possibly choose to travel up to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).
This evening perform a concert at a local venue such as Navy Pier’s Dock Street.
This morning, visit the Oak Park District of Chicago including Frank Lloyd Wright’s home.
Next, perform a friendship concert at a local school or a goodwill concert at a senior center.
This evening, a festive farewell dinner is served to your ensemble.
Following breakfast at the hotel check out and load your motor coach.
Transfer to a historic church such as Old St. Patrick’s or Willow Creek Community Church where your choir will sing the music for Morning Worship Service.
Depart for the airport and your return flight home.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN CHICAGO
One of the highlights of traveling as a choir is meeting locals - and, even better, meeting local musicians! Our friendship concerts, a featured experience on our concert tours, are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years' experience of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Friendship concerts set the stage for exchange between your choir and local musicians. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Each choir might give a half-hour public recital in a local church or theater for a community audience. Your singers will have the chance to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time usually follows the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.
Commissioned by the French government in 1673, Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette became the first explorers of Chicago. Around 1780, Chicago’s first permanent settler, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, and his family came to the area. The town of Chicago expanded its boundaries and became a city in March of 1837. The development of the railroad and the Illinois/Michigan Canal in 1848 proved necessary for Chicago’s growth. Both helped the city become prominent in the cattle, hog, lumber, and wheat industries and the city’s population tripled in the six years following the opening of the canal. As the city continued to grow, there were setbacks along the way, one of the largest being the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which became a turning point in the history of the city. The citizens of Chicago resurrected the city and even built momentum for more development after the fire. By 1900, Chicago had built the longest cable car and streetcar lines in the world and managed to reverse the flow of the Chicago River. Also during this time, the city became second only to New York in manufacturing activities, and first in the meat packing and rail industries. The remainder of the 20th century brought more architectural advances to Chicago. The Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) was completed in 1973, making Chicago home to the then-tallest building in the world.
THE NAVY PIER
The Navy Pier was built in 1916 as part of the Plan of Chicago developed by city planner David Burnham, which reshaped the city. It was built to serve as a mixed-purpose piece of public infrastructure, with its primary purpose as a cargo facility for lake freighters. However, the Pier was also designed to provide docking space for passenger excursion steamers and to provide cool places for public gatherings and entertainment. For a period in the 1940s, the pier was closed to the public and fully converted to a Navy training center. After WWII, the Navy Pier went to the University of Illinois which used the facility for a two-year undergraduate program primarily serving returning veterans. In 1976, Navy Pier was opened as a public gathering space. Today, the Pier features a large front lawn showcasing massive public art sculptures and an interactive animated fountain as well as over 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and other entertainment.
THE WILLIS TOWER
The Willis Tower (formerly named and still often referred to as the Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the world at the time of its completion in 1973. Standing at 108 stories tall, this well-known skyscraper was originally built by Sears, Roebuck & Co. as an office building to house their many employees who were previously employed in various offices around Chicago. The building is comprised of nine rectangular tubes of different heights that are set into a grid shape. The shortest of these ends at the 50th floor of the building, while the longest continues up to the 108th floor, giving the stepped design its unique and recognizable architectural design. The Skydeck, the observation deck, located on the 103rd floor, offers those brave enough to venture out on it a fantastic view across Lake Michigan and the Illinois plains. Recently, several glass balconies were added to the Skydeck, which extend approximately four feet over Wacker Drive and allow visitors to look through the floor to the street 1,353 feet below.