Posted by Rob Bisel, Public Relations Manager on March 20, 2012 at 19:39
When I applied to be a big brother for this year’s Brothers in Song-Chicago program, I was initially hesitant to sacrifice three entire weekends away from the surreal bubble of Ann Arbor. As a naive Californian barely acclimated to the watered-down Midwestern atmosphere of AA, I had never experienced Chicago, much less any of the area five miles beyond Central Campus. Regardless, I decided to take the plunge, and have had a tremendously eye-opening experience in the process.
Arriving in Chicago late the first Friday night, my first impression of the city was positive to say the least, as the other clubbers and I were greeted by an all-you-can-eat dinner at Pizzeria Due’s provided by our incredibly gracious alumni hosts. The next morning after a food recovery at Steve Ramsey’s house, the Chicago Children’s Choir welcomed clubbers to the Chicago Cultural Center with a mind-blowing performance. They sang a clubber favorite, “Freedom Train.” Eventually, this uncomplicated introductory performance by the group transformed into a choreography lesson for UMMGC members, shocked by the choir’s lack of awkward, uncoordinated chemistry undergrads attempting to “dance.”
In all seriousness, the profound talent and raw energy of the Chicago Children’s Choir were shocking for us clubbers. We all knew instantly that the mentorship role we aimed to provide for these teens would be much more mutual than we ever could have anticipated. As much as I loved answering questions about the UM School of Music for any aspiring professional musicians from the CCC throughout the two weekends, I had a much better time discussing the rich experiences of these young singers, from their incredible world tours to their recent collaborations with Bobby McFerrin. In many ways, my time with the Chicago Children’s Choir reminded me of the passion for music that once propelled me to pursue my degree in Sound Engineering, providing me with a renewed sense of energy and drive.
All in all, I am incredibly excited to take the stage with the Chicago Children’s Choir, and am proud to call them all my brothers in song.