A group of students in the choir program at Palatine High School were honored to sing at the White House for the holidays and showcase their talents at various sites in Washington, D.C.
The group, called "Midnight Blues," was invited to sing at the White House Holiday Open House. They traveled during winter break from Dec. 21 through Dec. 24.
"The students were so excited to go there," said Steven Sivak, music teacher and choir director at Palatine High School. "I was very proud that I could share this experience with my students and see the trip through their eyes."
The group included members of the vocal jazz group, plus an additional 11 students from other choirs. Sivak, along with several parent chaperones, joined the students on the trip.
At the White House, the group primarily sang holiday music, but also added some songs to their repertoire, such as the national anthem and a Rat Pack medley. They did an hour set two times during their performance at the White House.
Students also had the opportunity to sing at various locations in Washington, D.C. The choir traveled to several tourist attractions, including an illumination tour of the monuments at night, the Lincoln Memorial, and other memorial sites. They also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery where the group left a wreath from Palatine High School.
The choir went sightseeing after the White House performance. They sang at several different locations throughout Washington D.C.
While visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, they sang the national anthem where King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Additionally, they sang "I'll Be Seeing You," a World War II song at the World War II Memorial, as well as the national anthem at several memorial sites. Lastly, they sang at the Hard Rock Café after dinner.
"Everything we did was so well-done and accepted, and the comments about the kids also made me proud because they came from Secret Service men, White House interns, and people saying we were one of their favorite groups they listened to," Sivak said. "My intent was to make this trip as memorable as I could for them because this is one of those things that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
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