The Ottawa High School Cyclone band and choirs are pushing to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Chicago later this year.

Music trips have become traditions in other schools, but at OHS, turnover in the vocal music department and a lack of interest have put these trips on hold. This year, a renewed strength in our music programs, strong leadership through our instructors and student interest have once again provided the opportunity for our students to travel the nation to showcase their talents.

The Cyclone concert band, chamber choir and show choir have requested a March 14-18 trip to Chicago Heritage Music Festival. During the trip, our students would be participating in the festival with an opportunity to learn from other groups, collaborate with peers and, of course, showcase the incredible music talents OHS students possess.  

Our students are working hard to raise the money needed for round-trip air transportation, motorcoaches for travel in the city, three nights of hotel accommodations, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, trips along the “Magnificent Mile,” trips to the John Hancock Observatory, participation in the music festival and the awards ceremony at Medieval Times, trips to the Museum and Science and Industry, Omnimax, guided tours of Chicago, and Navy Pier. Hotel security will be provided for our students to ensure their safety throughout the experience.

This opportunity is an incredible one for our students and one that will take a massive amount of support for our kids to experience it. To raise funds, the Cyclone Band is playing host to its first annual golf tournament. The tournament was scheduled for last Saturday at GreatLife Golf Fitness, but rain made it impossible to attend. The tournament will be rescheduled at a later date. If you are interested in participating in the tournament, please call Courtney Williams at (785) 229-8020. The money raised from entry fees will go toward the band’s Chicago trip.  

The vocal music department also is working diligently to raise funds for the excursion. They now are selling “stock” in the music department. Each share is $25, and a purchaser may buy as many shares as he or she likes. Investors will receive a stock certificate. These stockholders also will receive an invitation to a banquet to be planned after our trip. They will be treated to a meal, as well as a music program by the concert band, chamber singers and Cytones and a video presentation of highlights of their trip. For each share, one person will be admitted to the banquet. Each additional ticket for the banquet will be $5. Stockholders also will receive discounts on other music department functions or fundraisers.

For example, they will be able to purchase tickets to our February Big Band Dance at a reduced price. Other fundraisers will include the Singing Valentines and Big Band Dance in February.

The Cyclone musicians are working hard for this wonderful opportunity. If you have any questions about this trip or would like to help in providing this opportunity, please call us.

Dr. Ryan Cobbs is principal at Ottawa High School. Email him at or call (785) 229-8020.