Ah, sleep. The Embassy Suites is a fantastic hotel. Our bed was very comfortable, and I hope that everyone enjoyed getting to sleep in a bit after our long day yesterday (I know I did!).
So, to backtrack a bit...
Camp started at Gettysburg College this past Sunday. Students stayed in dorms at the College and enjoyed all their meals in the College dining hall, while rehearsing in preparation for the trip. Wednesday was our "Goodbye Gettysburg" concert, followed by an ice cream social with the audience of Lions, family, and friends.
The concert was fabulous - I overheard one of the directors saying that it was the best the band has sounded in recent years. The full concert band played, under the direction of Russell McCutcheon, Ray Barfield, Bob Rossi, Dale Schmipf, and Vince LoRusso. Our jazz ensemble also played a series of pieces, under the direction of Bob Rossi and Cindi Mancini. Crowd pleasers included a salute to the Armed Forces, Americans We, God of Our Fathers, and of course, the marching rendition of the Pennsylvania Polka!
The band was well humored, when you consider that our concert ended at 9:30 at night - and check out at the dorm was at 4am the following morning! Yikes! Russ and I, who were of course staying at our own house (we live in Gettysburg) elected not to go to sleep, but we were pretty punchy by the time we left the house just after 4.
By 5am, we were getting loaded on to the buses - and most of us, going back to sleep - and we were on the road shortly afterwards. The trip to Bedford, where we stopped for a buffet breakfast, went quickly, as most people were fast asleep. We made good time on the road, thanks to our excellent drivers from Elite Coach of Lancaster. We stopped for lunch at a rest area near Sandusky, Ohio - where we will be returning on the 4th of July to enjoy the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point! Lines were long in the food court, but again - we have a great, good natured group. (Great job, parents! They dealt well with lots of waiting and frustration!) Finally, around 6pm, we drove into Chicago, getting our first glimpse of the Chicago skyline. On Bus 1, Mr. Barfield pointed out some noteable sights for students, such as the distant Sears Tower.
By the time we arrived at dinner, I think that all of us were just happy to get off the bus for a while! While that may have been a serious attraction, everyone also seemed to have a great time at Connie's, and the classic Chicago style deep dish pizza was fabulous. (This place is a favorite of Ray Barfield's - be sure to check it out if you're in town!) The restaurant is in an old factory, a brick building with an industrial feel. The restaurant decor matches the setting, including wheels (or gears?) hanging from the ceiling and mounted on walls. It was pretty cool. Of course, we were not there for the cool decor - we were there to eat pizza! Despite this, we endured a wonderful tossed salad as a prelude to our pizza gorging. (Yes, parents, your children probably ate vegetables! Thumbs up!) We then enjoyed three types of deep dish pizza - cheese, pepperoni, and a special pizza with sausage, onions, and green peppers. The pizza was seriously good. We also took a great deal of pizza with us - I spied at least three pizza boxes worth of leftovers, I'm assuming for a "snack" later at the hotel.
When we left the restaurant, sadly, it was raining - so we made a mad run for the buses. We were only on the buses for a short while this time, before arriving at our hotel. We got the buses unloaded and everyone checked in, and students set off to get settled in for the night and explore the hotel.
And.... that catches us up to our arrival in Chicago. More later on a great visit to Chinatown for lunch today!
Pictures from our dinner at Connie's coming soon... In the meantime, check out pictures from Wednesday's concert!