I’m currently sitting in my hotel room, drinking tea from my new “Christkindlmarket” mug hoping my flight gets out tomorrow. It’s just started snowing pretty hard with winds creating potential whiteout conditions. As I mentioned earlier, I went to Chicago to help The College of Arts and Media with recruitment at The Midwest Clinic. (If you didn’t read about that, you can here). However, to say I only sat at a table talking about our music program to prospective college students and band/orchestra directors would be false. Despite the cold weather, I actually did a lot of cool things in Chicago during my free time.
For one, I saw Denver School of the Arts perform at The Midwest Clinic with their Jazz Workshop Orchestra. Under the direction of Dave Hammond, this group of young musicians performed an incredible set and simply blew my mind. The group was comprised of saxophone players, trombones, trumpets, violin, piano, guitar, bass, vibraphone, drums, and a vocalist. The group also had two guest artists, Brad Goode and Jovino Santos Neto. When Neto came on stage, he mentioned that he didn’t want to call these young musicians kids as, “age is only a number.” He couldn’t have been more right, as there really wasn’t a huge difference. The group was so professional and their songs were so good, it was so much fun to watch. All the musicians took solos with ease, and really brought a sense of interaction and fun to the performance. Of course, I’m no jazz band critic—but these students can sure play! I was so proud of the Colorado representation at The Midwest Clinic!
During my time in Chicago, I also stopped by The Field Museum and took a look at the Tattoo exhibit. While many people associate tattoos with gangs and hepatitis C, tattoos actually have a long artistic and cultural history. They are found in many Asian cultures, Polynesian cultures, and African cultures. Many cultures would use tattoos as symbols of class, wealth, etc. It wasn’t until more recently, and really with the Holocaust that tattoos began being used as symbols of imprisonment, and later gangs. Overall, it was really interesting learning about the cultural and historical significance of tattoos, and how that shaped the art and evolution of tattoo art.
Chicago is just teeming with art and culture! I did so many things, however, I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story. From visiting some delicious eats in Chinatown, getting some cider at the Christkindlmarket, exploring the sculptures and architecture, to experiencing an American Christmas at the Macy’s department store, Chicago is definitely a great place to visit and experience city life and the people and cultures that created it.
The Gage—it’s right across Millennium Park. It might be a long wait, but if you’re okay with sitting at the bar, it’s speedy and delicious! I ate there for brunch and had the corned beef hash with poached eggs and hollandaise. If you’re a fan of hollandaise, this was maybe the best hollandaise I’ve had.
Hing Kee—in Chinatown. So maybe there’s better Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, but this one was cheap and delicious. I actually ate here twice it was so good. I highly recommend the soup dumplings or Xiaolongbao. They aren’t super available in Denver, and it’s been a Chinese dish I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. Culturally, they originate from the Jiangnan region of China—but I totally wish they originated from the region of China I was born. For me it was definitely a treat to finally visit a Chinatown as I share a cultural heritage, however for the average person, it’s a great way to experience a culture and spend less than you would on a typical meal in Chicago.