Sunday 27th September 2020

Chicago Trip!

The 2011 Mid-west International Band and Orchestra Clinic

The Mid west International Band and Orchestral Clinic is the most prestigious gathering of music educators, performing groups and composers in the world.

The 65th conference held in Chicago was an outstanding educational, eye-opening and musical event. A group of students from Archbishop Beck Catholic College, Liverpool, UK travelled to Chicago, USA to take part in all the Mid West has to offer. From the moment the young musicians and Director of Music Bruce Hicks arrived at the McCormick Place Conference Centre we knew we were in for 4 days of the highest standard of instrumental music performances, teaching and Band and Orchestral literature. From the Chamber concert which featured the Strings and wind ensembles of the USA Army Band to the outstanding high school, College and international Band and orchestras. There was and outstanding line-up of clinicians who presented amazing workshops all on aspects of music education and professional development. The group was in Chicago for 7 days and were able to experience the warmth of the people of Chicago. They managed to see the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.

On our final night we even attended a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Bruce Hicks summed the visit up by saying “this was the highest level of educational experience, which saw remarkable concert performances, outstanding workshops/clinicians and an exhibition hall which displayed from over 1000 exhibitors the latest cutting edge materials in the music world” He also expressed his “thanks and appreciation to the Liverpool Education Grants Committee and the Eleanor Rathbone Trust for their support in help with funding the trip.”


Well, Chicago December 2011. I don’t know where to start. What a fantastic city. Great people, great sights, great food and of course a fantastic music reputation. Attending the Midwest Band Clinic this year enabled me to experience some wonderful opportunities. Attending detailed and informative music clinics on jazz improvisation , artistry, music and child development plus overcoming performance anxiety to name a few is something that is not available to young musicians in our country and I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience this first hand. Over the course of 7 days being in America, we not only attended conferences but had the opportunity to listen to a Shanghai Symphonic band and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This was a truly fantastic honour, and I felt very humbled listening to their stunning programme. A true inspiration and example of what we could all be one day. In our time in Chicago, we were fortunate to experience an American Mass in the Chicago Cathedral, a lovely mass that made us all feel so welcome in their church community. A fine example of how warm and welcoming the City of Chicago is. We all felt right at home. After reflecting on my week in Chicago, there are several things I have taken away with me. We all attended the Midwest Band Clinic as musicians who have all been inspired by someone significant in our lives, it is our job as musicians to pass on our experiences on to the next generation and become bigger and better and finally and perhaps the most poignant piece of wisdom I learnt was ‘We are all on a Journey’. This sentence stuck with me from the first day of the Clinic. We are on a journey. We aspire to be bigger and better each day at our craft with the intention of passing on our experience to others. We were all gathered together at Chicago/ The Midwest Band Clinic for a reason and that reason is the musical journey we have all been on this far which has made us who we are. A truly memorable experience I will never forget!

Helen Goldsmith, Archbishop Beck Catholic College

I feel very lucky to be one of the selected students to attend the Chicago trip of 2011. Being a member of the concert band for almost 7 years, I have experienced many brilliant things with the band including music tours, prestigious concerts and other events; however Chicago has been my most favourite and enjoyable so far. The Hancock Centre, The Art Museum, Ice Skating, and the Cathedral were just some of the attractions the group had the opportunity to visit, and of course four days spent in McCormick Place for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic Conference. Archbishop Beck’s music department has provided all music students great opportunity to pursue their musical aspirations, however the Mid-West clinic gave us as pupils the opportunity to broaden the way we think about music and provided us with specialised advice to help us continue our musical journey. Seeing the beautiful city of Chicago and experiencing it with great students and a great teacher made me feel very blessed to have experienced such an amazing opportunity, and I truly believe we have all came away from the trip better people and better musicians.

Sarah Goldsmith, Archbishop Beck Catholic College

I cannot explain in words how much of a fantastic experience the trip to Chicago was for me. You had to be there to feel it, see it and hear it!

I learnt so much from my week in Chicago, not only the experience of seeing and moving around the great city, but also seeing, watching, and listening to other great musicians. On a personal note it was amazing to spend the week with such an amazing group of fellow students, we all had such a laugh and enjoyable time.

Deana Highton-Walmsley, Archbishop Beck Catholic College


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