Chicago Midwest Clinic

This week, I tagged along with Domingos while he attended the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He hadn’t been in 10 years, and I hadn’t been in 13 or 14 years! We lucked out with days that were all mostly above freezing, a rarity this time of year in Chicago. The Clinic moved to the McCormick Place convention center 10 or so years ago, and we had a room at the adjoining Hyatt. This was incredibly convenient, despite the fact that we missed the central location of the Palmer House or the Hilton. And we had a nice partial lake view from our window. Here are a few shots from our window at different times of day:

On the first day, we had a good time visiting the exhibits and chatting with old friends and colleagues. At the Pershing’s Own booth, I was surprised to see the Strings photo on the booth dated back to my days with the group, almost 10 years ago! I should have taken a picture, but I forgot. That night, we ate dinner at a nearby Pizano’s outlet, revisiting the deep dish we first tried last month on our Chicago food tour. Then we walked all the way from there up to the Blackstone (about a 2-mile walk) to meet our friend Daniel for drinks at his hotel bar. I had a fancy G&T which was pretty good, then a plain G&T with Ford’s Gin and Fever Tree Tonic that was really fabulous. I will definitely look for Ford’s again; I had heard it was good but that was the first time I ever tried it. We had a great time reconnecting with Daniel, and had fun making plans for a spring weekend away with him and his husband John.

The next day, we attended the Virginia Wind Symphony concert and then a panel on composer Karel Husa, where some of his former colleagues spoke about him on both a personal and professional level. One of the speakers was Frank Battisti, Domingos’s conducting teacher from his New England days. I was happy to finally meet the legend!

That night, we met my cousin Ariana at Maude’s Liquor Bar. Ariana works for the Hogsalt Hospitality group as an Assistant Beverage Director, so she wanted to introduce us to some of their restaurants, one of which is Maude’s. We also went to another of their restaurants, Au Cheval, on our last morning, but I’m going to write about both of these restaurant visits in another post. Both meals were out of this world, and we had a wonderful time catching up with Ariana. I’m very lucky to have 19 total first cousins, all of whom I enjoy spending time with when possible.

The third and final day of Midwest, we visited a few more exhibits (Domingos bought a new baton), saw a few more old friends and colleagues, went to the Coast Guard band concert, and then went back to Pizano’s for dinner and drinks with Domingos’s friend Mark and Mark’s wife Sally. Mark and Domingos were both studying with Battisti at the same time – Mark in the doctoral program, Domingos in the masters. Sally and I instantly hit it off, talking books and travel the entire time. We hope to visit them in Nova Scotia before too long, and/or to host them in Maryland anytime they’d like to visit!

All in all, it was a wonderful 3-½ days with friends old and new, fantastic food and drinks, and interesting clinics and concerts. Now we’re on to Hawaii for a much-anticipated family vacation!

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