Saturday, March 29, 2008


We woke up early Friday and proceeded to Loyola university for a FANTASTIC clinic with Eddie "Kidd" Jordan. Our guys received great instruction and motivation from a man that has taught the great Branford Marsalis!

We then went to the riverfront for a wonderful Mississippi cruise on the steamboat Natchez.

Following the cruise, the guys got one last chance to shop and then we were off to Chicago. The trip was uneventful. We had a late dinner at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Mississippi, watched many movies on the bus, and made it home about 9:15 (due to Saturday morning Chicago traffic). I am very proud of the guys and all they did to make this a great trip!

Friday, March 28, 2008

DAY 2, Part Deux

After a short respite we were off to Michaul's Restaurant for some authentic New Orleans cuisine and entertainment. As you may be able to tell from the picture below, the guys had a lot of fun and would have loved to stay....

We then went on a Haunted Tour of New Orleans. Our tour guide was a published author and has been featured on many national television programs about the paranormal activity of New Orleans. Ask your son about some of the fascinating stories. Here are a couple of shots from our tour:

After a long walk back to the hotel, it's time for some shut eye before our last day. Tomorrow's activities will include a clinic at the Monk Institute of Jazz and a lunch and jazz cruise on the famed Natchez Riverboat. If I don't get a chance to blog tomorrow, it will probably be because I may not have wi-fi access. So pray for our safe travels.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


After a very welcome sleep in a hotel bed, we awoke to a great breakfast buffet here at the Holiday Inn. The Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble played really well at De La Salle High School this morning. Even better was the enthusiasm, hospitality, and kindness of the De La Salle students and staff. Many of us had to hold back tears as the principal expressed her appreciation for all that Saint Pat's has done for De La Salle after Hurricane Katrina. What an awesome experience for our guys! Here's a pic of the combined SPHS & DHS groups led by their director Mike Orkus:

Following the concert we eventually made it to the New Orleans chapter of the American Red Cross to deliver over 100 emergency kits and other supplies. We also provided some help in their offices and at their previous site that was damaged by the hurricane.

We then went to the Aquarium of the Americas and saw a fantastic IMAX movie entitled Hurricane on the Bayou. It chronicles the damage of Katrina and illustrates how the vanishing wetlands worsened the damage. Very moving...

Well we need to leave for some authentic New Orleans cuisine at Michaul's Restaurant and then head off on our Haunted Tour of New Orleans. Ooooooooo......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well, we made it. Actually, we made it with about a half-hour to spare. If we didn't hit morning rush hour in NOLA we would have been 1 hour early! The bus ride, though long, was fairly uneventful. Our first driver, Russ, was great and our current driver, Bob, has been doing a fine job. Bob drove us earlier this year to Rolling Meadows, so it was nice to see a familiar face.

Once we arrived in NOLA we met our tour guide and walked along the Riverwalk to Jackson Square:

From there we had some beignets and coffee at the world famous Cafe du Monde. After stuffing our faces with powdered pastries, we proceeded to purchase paraphernalia at the French Market (nice alliteration - I must be tired...):

We then had a little time to explore, so we broke up into groups and walked around the French Quarter. One of the most impressive sights was the Saint Louis Cathedral (which is the oldest in the U.S.):

We then reconvened and went to rehearse at De La Salle High School for tomorrow's performance. The students and staff couldn't have been nicer and we are really looking forward to performing tomorrow.

Hard Rock Cafe was our dinner destination followed by a fantastic performance by Carl LeBlanc and his band at Preservation Hall. Carl even offered to jam with our guys but we had our instruments at De La Salle. Oh well....

On our interesting trek through Bourbon Street we ran into SPHS alum Joe Badsing!!! He was here with a contingent from Elmhurst College building a Habitat for Humanity home which was a great example for our guys. We got into the hotel around 9:45. More to follow tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One Day to Go!!!

T-minus one day and counting! Actually it's about 27.5 hours away but whose counting? Don't forget to pack comfortable shoes, sunscreen, your performance clothes, instrument, music and anything else that was on the list. Also don't forget some spending money and a CAMERA! You are going to want to remember everything that you saw. Sometime after we return we will put all of pictures together and have a picture party. If you haven't done so by now, please check out the video on the right side of blog. It features Edward "Kidd" Jordan (gray-haired saxophonist on the left) who will be working with the jazz band at the Monk Institute of Jazz. Pack smart and see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Orleans Preparation

It's hard to believe but at this time next week, members of the Saint Patrick Bands and Percussion Ensembles will be in New Orleans, LA! Thank you to all that attended the meeting last night. I hope that I answered all of your questions. If you have any questions over break, don't hesitate to contact me via email at If for some reason you lose your copy of the itinerary, here is a link to download a copy: New Orleans Itinerary. If you need another clothing & equipment checklist, here is a link to download a copy: Equipment & Clothing Checklist. Percussion Ensemble members should remember that we have a rehearsal tomorrow from 1-3 in the band room.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CAJF Wrap-up

Congratulations to the members of the Honors Jazz Band on their outstanding performance at Saturday's Chicago Area Jazz Festival at T-F South High School in Lansing, IL. They received a Division I rating and placed 3rd overall among the 12 bands competing (less than 3 points away from 1st!). Junior Armaan Yazdani was given the Best Section Player Award and senior John Catalano was given the Outstanding Soloist Award. Special thanks to freshmen Chris Mojek & Mike Piechota for stepping in at the last minute to cover the 2nd alto part. I am very proud of all of you!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chicago Area Jazz Festival

Saturday, March 15, the Honors Jazz Band will travel to Thornton Fractional South High School to perform at the Chicago Area Jazz Festival. Their performance is at 2:40. Cost is only $4 or you may chaperone if you would like. Contact me for more details. Here are a couple of helpful links:

CAJF Itinerary
Directions to T-F South High School

Red Cross Donations Needed

As a part of our upcoming trip to New Orleans we will be assembling disaster preparedness kits for the New Orleans Chapter of the American Red Cross. While these kits won't be able to directly help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, they will help replenish the Red Cross' supplies for future survivors of disasters. These kits will include such basic necessities as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo/body wash, hand sanitizers, small flashlight (with batteries), bottled water, anti-bacterial wipes, combs, cereal bars, rain ponchos, whistles, etc. A good guide for what to donate can be found here: Emergency Preparedness Kit. Donations are being collected in bins in the front lobby of the school and at the upcoming "Rock Stock" concert in the gym. Thank you for whatever donation you can make.