The Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove recently hosted a concert performed by high school students from Germany as well as Community School District 99. The recorder, guitar and string orchestras comprised of students from Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany, along with orchestral students from Downers Grove North and South performed the free concert for more than 700 people at the Tivoli, 5021 Highland Avenue.
The performance was part of an exchange program that began in 1985 when the group's accordion band performed at Downers Grove Fishel Park. The District 99 honors band visited Germany in 2012 and the District 99 orchestra will return to Germany this summer, marking the eighth tour for District 99 students. The German exchange students stayed with host families from both Downers Grove North and South high schools and spent time in the classrooms at both schools during their visit.
Students from District 99 bands and orchestras have traveled to Germany several
times, beginning in 1993. They also have visited and performed in Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy and Croatia.
The town of Bietigheim-Bissingen, located about 20 miles from Stuttgart, was founded in 789. The visit also is designed to have students learn the story of how the town has survived and flourished over the past 1,100 years. Additionally, the exchange program lets students experience the culture and lifestyle of Germany from the viewpoint of living with families, attending their schools and sharing music with them on an ongoing basis.