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Final ETHS Band Tour Email

February 29, 2016 - 07:59 AM

Good Morning Band Families, 
Let me begin with a brief update from the road. We just had a short breakfast stop in Portage, Indiana and are back on the road at 7:50 a.m. Central Time. We are a couple of hours behind schedule and anticipate pulling in to ETHS sometime after 9:00 a.m. traffic depending. It is our hope that our band students have been communicating with you via text message/phone calls as we pull away from our breakfast break. We hope to get our students back to school shortly! 
We are happy to report that we had a fantastic trip to Washington D.C. Our students represented our school and community really well in performances and in our large group sight-seeing settings. We are exceedingly proud of their display of maturity and musicianship - they are a joy to work with and were truly the highlight of our tour. A very special thank you to all of our chaperones: Kathy Bauer, Joel Brown, Julie Strauss, Sonja Bruggeman, Jeanie Bratschie, Waldek Ziolkowski, Debra Price, Kristy Wolniak, Ken Bearman, and Susan Bearman. A gracious thank you to ETHS aide and former band parent Torion Watson for his assistance on this trip! Last but not least, thank you to our wonderful colleagues - Mr. Charlie Abplanalp, Ms. Liz Gosma, Ms. Mary Theresa Reed, and soon-to-be ETHS student Cameron Abplanalp for all of their assistance in making this trip run so smoothly. We are also truly touched that ETHS Assistant Principal Robert Brown made a special cameo in DC - going out of his way to see our band on tour - Thanks Mr. Brown! 
We want to extend a thank you to our tour guide Ken Hordge and our travel agent Stacey Kilroy from Bob Rogers Travel for planning such an awesome trip for our program. Please continue to monitor (login: bufis, password: cfb19) for more pictures - and be sure to upload more of your own so that they make it onto the free DVD of our trip (everyone gets one)! Also, check the ETHS Bands Tour Blog ( for day-to-day reports from our trip to our nation's capital. 
We look forward to a great week of classes. As a reminder, our students are officially excused from school last Thursday 2/25 and Friday 2/26, and up to the official end to our unloading procedures at ETHS today (we anticipate excusing students from 1st and 2nd periods). Students can lock their belongings in our back stage Green Room until 2:35 today when the school day ends, or can have their belongings picked up by their parents prior to starting classes. Please follow up with your teachers about the work you missed and complete your assignments in a timely manner. 

Let's make it a great week! 

Mr. Bufis and Mr. Lehman

Final Blog Post - Maple Conn

February 29, 2016 - 05:01 AM

Good morning!
Those of you reading this must be very truly excited to see us again!
As I write this its 5:30 Monday morning with 6-something-foot-tall Jake Wham curled up sleeping on the seat next to me with his head on MY pillow. It's chill, I'll tease him about it later perhaps. 
I can't wait to be home. I've been longing for school and the rising homework levels for this whole trip.
Yesterday we watched an incredible performance by the ETHS Jazz Ensemble at the Hard Rock Cafe - they slayed the scene.
We also went to see the Newseum which was super cool! Also yesterday involved trips to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and finally Madame Tussaud's before dropping off our guide and hopping back on the bus.
I had a great time with this group of amazing people and I'm sorry to think that I'll graduate before they travel again. Im glad I'll be here to work with them another year though!!!

That's it for now folks,
See all of you soon!
Maple Conn (Junior)

Update from Jasper Davidoff

February 28, 2016 - 07:31 PM

Warning: I'm writing this blog post in a half-state of sleep deprived-delirium using our spotty in-bus internet connection. Therefore, if you're reading this, it means a small miracle has occurred: the wifi stayed on for five seconds and I didn't fall asleep into the laptop.

Seriously though, we've had an amazing final day in DC! We visited one of my all-time favorite museums: the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue! I really enjoyed the new FBI exhibit, and the chair in the 4D movie theatre moved about 6 inches sometimes! Of course, there was no beating the view and the warm sun on the 5th floor balcony a block away from the Capitol. I'm trusting it's that warm in Evanston as well, so don't let me down.

After an exciting hour of lunch and train-watching at Union Station, we headed to the National Holocaust Museum. My walk through the museum's four floors was a unique and poignant experience that I'll never forget.

Following that, the late exit from the Holocaust Museum meant I had the amazing experience of attempting to change my pants in the constantly jolting 2-square foot coach bus bathroom! Remarkably, I may have had more space in the bathroom than on stage at our evening venue - DC's Hard Rock Cafe, for dinner and a Jazz Ensemble performance! I have never been more cramped while playing sax - and when you're rehearsing with a 120-piece tour band, you get used to being cramped. Despite that, I enjoyed playing a great set in a wonderful room full of very enthusiastic friends to play for! I may have become deaf in one ear from Joey Parker's ridiculous bass trombone solo during Thad Jones' Big Dipper.

We walked down the block to the Madame Tussauds wax museum after dinner. In some of the rooms, they include costumes for the visitor to try on and act like the people in that room's period of history. Imagine my surprise when I reached into the pocket of the grey coat I donned in the Hall of Presidents and pulled out Maya Madjar's YMCA card! If you ever make it to Madame Tussauds, don't leave your coat in the middle of the exhibit.

Hoping I can get some sleep this evening as we speed back to Evanston for school tomorrow! Considering that the freshmen behind me have been playing trap remixes of cartoon theme songs for the past ten minutes, however, I find this eventuality highly unlikely.


Day 4 Update

February 28, 2016 - 06:33 PM

Hello Band Families,
What a full day! We started off at the Newseum - a cool privately-run museum focusing on the media, both the major events the media has covered as well as the media reporters themselves. It was an incredible display complete with hundreds of years of actual newspaper clippings from major events in world history. Students had the opportunity to stand in front of a real blue-screen and film a news story.
We then had lunch in Union Station - a functioning and very busy train station just north-east of the mall. The station had a giant food court and mini mall within a giant atrium. Lots of options to choose from and everyone ate their fill.
The group then headed over to the Holocaust museum. It was an amazing exhibit - really moving with stories, artifacts, short movies, and statistics. We only had an hour and a half to explore but the group agreed we could have definitely spent twice that much time. It was a heavy subject and our students were truly enthralled with this place. We were pleased with how respectful and thoughtful the students were.
We capped our evening with a performance by our ETHS Jazz Ensemble. Solos by Seth Bearman, Lily Finnegan, Simon Lequar, Paul Clarke, Ellie Finked, Ezra Brown, Joey Parker, and Jonah Karsh really brought the house down! The group swung hard and received lots of compliments. Per biennial band tour tradition, Mr. Lehman’s birthday fell on the evening jazz performance. Our group sang happy birthday while he received a Hard Rock Cafe birthday pin and was given a disgusting cookie concoction complete with a straw and sauerkraut. Needless to say, he didn’t eat the cookie.
We had a quick pass through Madame Tuseaux’s Wax Museum - snapping photos with the stars - and then we were off to Pennsylvania. We expect to stop to change drivers in about 200 miles, then on to Illinois! It’s been a great trip!
ETHS Bands

Day 3/4 Update - Maple Conn

February 28, 2016 - 10:32 AM

Quick update:
On Friday we attended a mind-blowing Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performance.
Saturday White House viewing, museum visits, fabulous wind symphony clinic, and a nighttime tour of the memorials (many enthusiastic guides there).
This morning we woke up early to pack and had waffles for breakfast!
We then visited the Newseum (where I'm drafting this post in fact) and soon we will head to lunch at Union Station and then to the Holocaust Museum and finally to watch the Jazz Ensemble perform before we head out!
Tune in this evening for a final post!

Maple Conn (Junior)

Monument Tour At Night

February 27, 2016 - 10:30 PM

Good Evening Band Families,
We had a great time this evening driving and walking to many famous monuments in the DC area. We saw the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the World War II Memorial in a little over two hours. Our tour guides were fantastic - a perfect blend of knowledge and humor, they answered questions and filled our heads with anecdotes and specs about the subjects and monuments.

ETHS Bands

Day 3 Summary - Emma, Abbey, Henry, Evan

February 27, 2016 - 09:22 PM

Hello There Band Families!

Today we visited the White House and the Smithsonian museums! They were great. The highlight of Henry's day was seeing this Dresden pedal on a timpani at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. We also toured all of the major monuments; our tour guide was hilarious! 

Emma, Abbey, Henry, and Evan


Wind Symphony Clinic

February 27, 2016 - 06:30 PM

Good Afternoon Band Families,
We just finished a fantastic clinic with Mary Poling - the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra in the BSO performance hall rehearsal facility. Maestro Poling was an excellent rehearsal technician, but was also very intuitive in her studying/analysis of the score to A Hymn for the Lost and the Living. She challenged the group to work on pitch issues, expand their dynamic range, and clean the front end of their articulations. A professional oboist and conductor of two elite youth orchestras in the area, Maestro Poling was a thrill to work with and really made the group sound better in the hour and a half we had to work with her.

-ETHS Bands

The Smithsonian, National Archives

February 27, 2016 - 02:45 PM

Good Afternoon Band Families,
We had a blast on the mall today, exploring the many free museums of the Smithsonian. Students began at the Air and Space Museum, but also chose to view the American Indian Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the National Art Gallery, and more! We then went to the National Archives where we toured the famous documents that began our country. Complete with an elaborate defense/alarm system, it was awesome to be so close to the Declaration of Independence!

ETHS Bands

Houston, We Have A Problem

February 27, 2016 - 01:00 PM

Abby Stein, Greta VandenHeuvel, Emelia Vogel, Bailey Minzenberger:

“Houston, we have a problem…..”

White House

February 27, 2016 - 11:00 AM

Good Morning Band Families,
We started our day today with a view of the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue. We posed for a group photo and learned some fun facts about the building itself and the presidents who have lived there. In addition, we viewed a display and tent of a woman who has been protesting the use of nuclear weapons since 1981! Since then, a law was passed to regulate protesters - the length of time they are allowed to stay and when they are allowed to be there - but she has been grandfathered in. She and her supporters maintain her presence there 24 hours a day since 1981 - talk about dedication!


Update from Rachel Cheney-Egan

February 27, 2016 - 07:52 AM

Hello Band and Color Guard Families!

Though I am not performing on this trip, it has been fun nevertheless. Watching your fellow classmates play is very warming because, I've seen my classmates grow and being able to help them in anyway makes me happy, because I love hanging with the band. Visiting the Capitol and all these amazing places has been spectacular because, being able to learn and be where all these historic events took place is very exciting. We also went bowling, which was probably the nicest bowling alley that I've ever been to, not to mention that's the place you can find the best burger. I'm excited for today and all the places we'll be going to. Mr. Bufis and Mr. Lehman really work hard to make this a great experience for all of us, and always check in to make sure we're having a good time.

Rachel Cheney-Egan

Mr. Bufis Directs Traffic in DC

February 26, 2016 - 11:31 PM

Not only does Matt Bufis direct band but he does a great job at directing traffic. 

A Night At The Baltimore Symphony - Ezra Brown

February 26, 2016 - 08:35 PM

Good Evening ETHS Band Families!
Wow-we just got on the bus after see the Baltimore Symphony's performance of Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations. It was incredible and inspiring to say the least.  After seeing maestro Alsop conduct the CSO in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and this performance, it was amazing how expressive a conductor can be.  At the beginning of the program, maestro Alsop walked to audience through the piece, explaining how the different variations were a reflection of Elgar's friends and family. After an incredible performance, we are all looking forward to some sleep to rest up for tomorrow!

Ezra Brown

A Visit To The Capitol and Bowling at Pinstripes

February 26, 2016 - 07:06 PM

Good Evening Band Families!
We had a great time walking through the Capitol today! What an amazing space - home of Congress (the House of Representatives and Senate), we scoured the space for the two statues given to the Capitol by the state of Illinois. The dome was under construction (inside and out) and will be back to normal by October, when they will start to build the set for the inauguration. Our tour guide was excellent and gave us a lot of important information about the spaces - past and present - within this great building.
We then went on to Pinstripes - a great food/bowling/bacce place. We had salad, drinks, burgers and chicken sandwiches while bowling. ETHS had it’s own area with 14 lanes all to ourselves. It was a really cool space! Mr. Bufis had the high score of the day - beating Mr. Abplanalp by 2 pins in the 10th frame - 156 to 154!
Off to the Symphony!
ETHS Bands

Visit to The Capital - Henry and Evan (Emma and Abbey)

February 26, 2016 - 04:08 PM

Hey ETHS Band Families!

The Capitol building was great! We learned the translation of "e pluribus unum" and saw it painted on the top of the rotunda of the Capitol building. America is great, DC is cool. Evan and Henry will perhaps continue to update you with wonderful selfies!

Henry and Evan (really Emma and Abbey)

Day 2 - Maple Conn

February 26, 2016 - 03:51 PM

Good morning families!
First day was great. We visited Arlington National Cemetery, went to mall for lunch, and had a fabulous exchange concert.
This morning (after a smidge of sleep) we awoke and skipped off to play a concert at the Reagan Center. We got all of our cases and bags sniffed by a gorgeous German Shepherd. Then we played a successful set and discovered that the acoustics were jaw-dropping. We got lunch and headed to the Capitol building, lots of walking and statues galore! Joe Weissler ran into an employee that speaks 61 languages! Holy cow!
Now off to Pinstripes which is sure to be fun! Check back in soon for more news!

Maple Conn (Junior)

The Highlight of Day 2 - Mr. Lehman

February 26, 2016 - 01:35 PM

Good Afternoon Band Families!
Day two started with another great performance from our ETHS Tour Band. The group performed in the beautiful main atrium of the Regan Trade Center—the second largest government building in Washington DC!  Businessmen and women, staff members, and even security couldn’t help but stop, listen, and record the group during the performance—the group sounded great!
Right after the performance, a young woman working in the Foreign Affairs Agency came up and introduced herself as an ETHS Alum!  She was heavily involved in the music/theatre programs during her time at ETHS and spoke heavily on their influence on her life.  Additionally, the building’s general manager, a Northwestern graduate, congratulated the band on their performance.  In mentioning he was a high school musician and drum major, it turns out that was also the general manager of Madison Square Garden and a senior administrator at the White House!   He told the group that he owes much of his professional success to playing in band; citing that playing in band teaches teamwork, collaboration, and creativity—all highly desirable traits in the business world. 
Kudos to our ETHS students, they have truly been wonderful ambassadors of our school community!

Mr. Lehman

Reagan Trade Center Performance

February 26, 2016 - 01:00 PM

Good Afternoon Band Families,
On our way to the Reagan Trade Center we had a chance to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial. Our tour guide pointed out some of the 3/D tricks the statue plays on the viewer - from the amount of hands depicted to the bend in the flag pole. Such detail - right down to the veins on the hands of the soldiers! What an important sculpture!
We had an awesome experience performing at the Reagan Trade Center today! The hub of commerce in Washington D.C., this was a gorgeous building with a huge atrium, vaulted glass ceilings, and marble walls/steps. The sound went on forever after we released each chord! Nessun Dorma (Puccini) was a really special piece for this space - gorgeous! After the concert, an ETHS alum came to talk to our students - class of 1997 and a member of YAMO! She did an Evanston cheer with our students and talked about how proud she was to be a Wildkit. The manager of the building, a gentleman by the name of Tony - a Northwestern grad who used to manage Maddison Square Garden and The White House before coming to the Reagan Trade Center - said some really inspiring things to our students about the importance of music in his life. He was a high school drum major and musician in Cincinnati and told us that everything he learned about creativity, collaboration, and team concept came from his experience in high school band - experiences that he greatly valued and attributed to his success in his field. It was a highlight of our trip to speak with these two Evanstonians. 
We went on to eat a great lunch in the food court, gathered our belongings and are now headed to The Capitol.
More to come!
ETHS Bands

Day 1/2 in the words of Joe Weissler

February 26, 2016 - 08:10 AM

Hello Band Families!

We started out the trip in snow, and got to a Hardee's at around 6:40, got held up there for a bit but we were back to smooth sailing in okay time. Luckily, I did get some sleep last night totaling at maybe 3-4 hours. Finding a good position was tough.
Thursday started with "breakfast" at subway en route. We went to the Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, that was an extremely humbling experience. We watched the changing of the guard and went to Kennedy's grave. I got some good pictures. 
I bought a few postcards as well as a magnet and a Bernie Sanders mug at the mall that we stopped at for lunch (I had Panda Express).We went to North Point High School for our first performance. Had pizza there, the performance went well (I hope).
We got to the hotel at around 9:30. I got to my room with Jasper, Simon, and Jack/John at around 9:45. I was very happy to have a comfortable bed last night. Many hours of sleep were had, and breakfast to start out our day today was great!

Alright, that's all from me for now.

Joe W

Day 1 Recap in the words of Xiaoyu Malone

February 26, 2016 - 08:04 AM

Hello Band Families!
I had a very good night and finally got sleep! The Hiton is a very nice hotel, with nice comforters and plush pillows. After sleeping on the bus for quite some time, it felt good to sleep in a bed. Watching the other high schools performance, which was wonderful and getting to reflect on that a bit was good as well. Over all there have been good experiences and a good time!

Xiaoyu, Malone

First Impressions of DC - Gabbi Dinsmore

February 26, 2016 - 07:59 AM

Hello Band Families,
I didn't realize that everything in Washington DC was so close together! From Arlington Cemetery you can see the Pentagon, the National Mall, and the US Capitol Building. All of these places are in movies and TV shows so often that its surreal seeing these iconic landmarks in real life. I'm looking forward to getting to see them up close today!
Gabby Dinsmore

North Point Concert

February 25, 2016 - 10:05 PM

Good Evening Band Families,
We arrived at North Point - a beautiful new school (less than 10 years old) in Waldorf, Maryland - just south of the DC beltway. We were greeted by Mr. Marvin VanDyke, former mentor teacher to Mr. Bufis in his early days of teaching music, and about a dozen North Point students. They were very helpful and found us a spot to keep our gear and change into our concert attire. We had a focused warm-up on stage in a beautiful auditorium that seats 500 people. The travel agent ordered pizza for our group and the North Point students and we had a shared dinner experience in the gymnasium - a great space that seats over 5,000 people - also brand new.
The concert was a really great experience and was well attended. Two ETHS alumni came to see the concert along with relatives of several of our band members. We performed Kirkpatrick Fanfare (Boysen), Marching Song (Holst), Nessun Dorma (Puccini), and an Armed Forces medley. North Point had a flute choir perform a Scott Joplin rag, and then performed Variations on America (Ives), a Shostakovich circus march, and Robert Sheldon’s Metroplex. It was a great concert and was well received by students and performers.
We have just finished bed checks and the students and parents are settled down for the evening. Tomorrow is a busy day full of sight-seeing and performances - a public performance at the Reagan Trade Center for us, and an opportunity to hear the Baltimore Symphony perform Enigma Variations. It’s going to be a great day!

ETHS Bands

Arlington Cemetery & Lunch at Pentagon City

February 25, 2016 - 02:30 PM

Greetings From Washington DC!
We are finally here in the DC area! We met our tour guide, broke into groups, and walked through Arlington Cemetery. We learned some fascinating information about the graves, burial requirements, and tombstones on our way up the hill. We also learned the story of how it became a cemetery - changing hands from George Washington and his family (his wife’s side) to Robert E. Lee, and back to the U.S. government as a burial site. Two presidents are buried here - Taft and Kennedy. We got to see Kennedy’s grave for a few minutes today along with the eternal flame. We also witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony and learned more about the 21 paces/seconds/etc. that make up the path they take each pass by the tomb of the unknown soldier. This happens every hour on the hour (and sometimes every half hour during peak tourist seasons) through all weather conditions - 24/7 - 365 days a year!
After Arlington, we had some time in a mall across from the Pentagon. We saw the Pentagon from the outside and were shown where the plane hit the building on 911. We had to cut the memorial out of the day’s itinerary due to time, but we may be able to fit this in some other time. The food court had many options - everyone ate well! We are now on our way to North Point for the concert! Wish us luck!

ETHS Bands

Breakfast Time!

February 25, 2016 - 09:23 AM

Hello Band Families,
We picked up our third set of drivers, who will be with us for our time in DC, around 4:00 a.m. We are grateful for the safety measures our second set of drivers took going through the weather last night - they did a great job! We just stopped for breakfast and the buses fueled up for our time in the DC area. We are about an hour and twenty minutes away from Arlington Cemetery where we will meet our tour guide. Spirits are high and students/adults seemed to get some sleep on the buses (it was quiet at least). Not a lot of food options at this stop, but the kids are loving the Cinnabon and Subway options within the gas station/convenience store. There are already funny stories and memories being shared - looking forward to a great experience in DC!

ETHS Bands

Maple's Blog Post #1

February 25, 2016 - 08:28 AM

Good morning families and friends!
Writing from a Maryland highway, I greet you enthusiastically! Last night on Bus 1, we watched Drumline and slept sporadically through Ohio and some of Pennsylvania, stopping for Hardee's dinner and a driver-change.
It's been a fairly smooth ride so far, no 10-hour delays (for those of you who remember our excited adventure to New York).

Check back soon for more news!
Maple Conn (Junior)

Weather All-Clear

February 24, 2016 - 10:00 PM

Hello Band Families!
We went through a little bit of snow on the road for about an hour and a half. The buses were careful - average miles per hour was 35 - but visibility was pretty good the whole time and the wind gusts were minimal. We all agree the experience was far less than predicted/reported. We are through the snow now and on the edge of Indiana/Ohio. It should be smooth sailing from here!

Go Kits!
ETHS Bands

First Rest Stop - Indiana

February 24, 2016 - 08:20 PM

Hello Band Families!
We have just completed our first rest stop - about 90 minutes of eating and socializing while we switched drivers. It took a long time for everyone to get food - they were really under-staffed! Students ate Hardee’s or Mexican food, and others just bought snacks at the gift shop. The weather has been fine so far - a little light snow, but nothing unmanageable. We are about to get into the thickest part of the storm - stay tuned! Be sure to check the page - username is bufis, password is cfb19 - lots of pictures have been added already!

ETHS Bands

Abby and Emelia Blog Post #1

February 24, 2016 - 05:29 PM

Farewell ETHS!
T-15 (+?) hours. We rollin' out. Peace out Evanston, see you soon Obama #highspeedwifi #teenagerssmellgreat

-Abby and Emelia

DC Or Bust!

February 24, 2016 - 05:15 PM

Hello Bandos!
We are about to depart for Washington D.C.! The weather in Chicago is a little rainy and we anticipate some snow ahead as we enter Indiana, but spirits are high and the confidence level of our drivers is reassuring. We plan to stop for dinner around 6:30pm where we will change drivers for the first time. Wish us luck!
After a brief tour meeting, we have loaded the buses, taken role, and are pulling away. Stay tuned for many happy updates from the road!

ETHS Bands

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