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Homewood-Flossmoor Band Members Prep for 'Trip of a Lifetime' to China

On March 28, 50 members of Homewood-Flossmoor High School bands will embark on a 10-day journey to China.

This year's spring break will be one 50 Homewood-Flossmoor High School students will never forget. 

The H-F Symphonic Band and Jazz Band are just days away from a hard-earned trip to China. 

About 50 students—sophomores, juniors and seniors—will travel to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai, visiting historic sites and experiencing Chinese culture. They will perform throughout the tour, sharing their American music with hundreds, or even thousands, of people.

Perhaps most importantly, wrote band director Sarah Whitlock on the band's website, these young people will serve as cultural ambassadors to the youth of China—there will be opportunities for them to sit and talk with local students, creating a mutual understanding and shared learning.

"You really see students become very resourceful when they're on their own—and I think the bond that the students gain, the unity gain, it's that sense of not wanting to let each other down, and that carries through to the classroom."

The students and parents have been hard at work for months to raise the $4,100 per student needed for the trip. 

"We've been fundraising like crazy all year — the Zombie Run, a Silent Auction, and smaller fundraisers like a booth at the Farmers Market, Summer School Concessions, and a million other things," said Vikings mom Anne Colton.

The group raised an estimated $50,000 to make the trip happen. The students were required to meet certain goals, to be eligible for the trip. In addition to learning the music, they were expected to maintain a high grade point average, and required to work a specific number of service hours.

Sophomore Maggie Colton is eager to play the 16 songs the band has learned for the occasion—ranging from 'America the Beautiful, Stars and Stripes, to Chinese folk music Radiant Moonbeams, and more. She's also anxious to meet her Chinese penpal, Hu Ya Ning, who she has been corresponding with for several weeks

"I'm so excited to be able to travel to China, and also to be able to play there," she said. 

One venue in particular stands out—a concert hall in Xian—along with a chance to see what remains of the Great Wall. 

But first, she and her classmates must endure the 18-hour nonstop flight. 

"Some schoolwork," she said of sticking out the flight, "and lots of talking to my friends—and lots of sleeping." 

Check out their itinerary and find out more about the trip. 
Genvieve LaChappele March 25, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Global warming is worse there. I hope they bring face masks.
Hernendo RevolveR March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Global warming is really bad in China. Global cooling is really bad here. There's La Nina, La Pinta and La Santa Maria too!

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