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Viking Orchestra planning 2018 trip to Cuba

Members of the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Viking Orchestra will tour Cuba next spring.
The orchestra’s trip was announced at a May 11 meeting of about 200 parents and students. The trip is sponsored by the H-F Fine and Performing Arts Council. 
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to experience a culture that has been frozen in time through political pressures and yet is within 100 miles of the United States border,” said Vicky Valancius-Mangel, treasurer for Orchestra Parents United in Service (OPUS).
“Cuba has only recently opened to travel for U.S. citizens and will likely develop quickly, so it is truly a timely opportunity for our students. They should come away with a greater appreciation for both the roles of music and government in people’s lives,” she said.
Students will leave on Friday, March 23, for the island nation. Over the next seven days, they will perform in Havana, Remedios and Santa Clara. They will also participate in a workshop with local musicians in Havana, Valancius-Mangel said.
The Viking Orchestra is under the direction of teacher B.J. Engrav, who selected Cuba as the destination. The trip is open to sophomores, junior and seniors who are with the Viking Orchestra and the H-F Symphonia Orchestra.
H-F musicians travel on a rotating basis. The H-F Band went to Greece over the spring 2017 break. In 2018 it will be the Viking Orchestra traveling, and in 2019 the Viking Choir will be planning a trip. 
However, Valancius-Mangel said members of the H-F Choir and Band have also been invited to participate in the 2018 Cuba trip. It is expected between 50 and 60 students will be going.
In order to help defray the cost of the tour, residents will see many H-F students out performing and doing projects during the summer that will help bring in money for the trip, said Belinda Porter, fundraising chair.
They will be at the Homewood Farmers Market on June 10 and 24, July 8 and 22 and Aug. 12 and 26. 
Students will be washing cars for a $5 donation at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 17579 Halsted St. on Saturdays, June 3 and 17, July 1, 15 and 29 and Aug. 5 and 19.
Two special “cook’s day off” specials are planned at Potbelly’s at 17700 Halsted St. From 2 to 5 p.m. on June 17 and July 22 Potbelly’s will donate 25 percent of sales to the orchestra.
The student musicians will help run the rides and games at Homewood’s National Night Out on Aug. 1, and offer face painting at the Homewood Village Block Party on Aug. 19.
Student musicians also will be at Flossmoor Fest and Homewood’s Fall Fest in September.
The high school assumes no liability relating to or arising from students’ preparation for or participation in this trip.

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