Permian musicians to perform at White Sox game

Permian High School’s band and orchestra will join musical forces to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” before a Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox baseball game Saturday.

Game time is 1:10 p.m.

It’s just one part of a spring trip today through Sunday that will enable students to see the sights of the Windy City and experience some culture.

Orchestra Director Todd Berridge said about 152 people, including chaperones are expected to travel. He will have about 38 orchestra students and Director of Bands Jeff Whitaker will be taking about 120.

Halie Douglas, a 16-year-old going into 11th grade next fall, plays the harp and will be performing at the baseball game.

“It seems like a lot of fun because it’s an actual national team and we’ll be able to perform for them and for their game,” Douglas said.

She added that the possibility of being on TV also is exciting.

Whitaker said they will stay and watch the game.

“We’ll have a representation of about 120 on the field. Some of the directors may want to bring their instruments, too,” Whitaker said.

The trip was arranged by Green Light Group Tours.

The students will be participating in many of the same activities together, such as a clinic with the Chicago Symphony.

Whitaker and Berridge said students will view a performance and take a tour of the symphony hall.

The students also take in a performance of the musical “Hamilton,” and a performance by Blue Man Group, go to the top of Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, take a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan and visit Shedd Aquarium.

The trip came about through Green Light Group Tours, which called Whitaker during marching season. Cory Black, one of the owners, is an Odessa High School graduate and he and his wife both know of PHS’ musical work.

To make the Chicago trip special, the tour company called the White Sox and suggested bringing the PHS band to perform “The Star Spangled Banner.”

A recording of the band was made, uploaded to YouTube and sent to the travel company.

“I didn’t hear back from them,” Whitaker said. “I didn’t think much about it. All of a sudden, I look at itinerary and we’re playing the National Anthem for the Chicago White Sox.”

Because they don’t have uniforms that match the orchestra’s Whitaker said they will wear T-shirts donated by a local company.

“I’ve been to Major League Baseball games before, but I’ve never been able to be on the field, much less played the National Anthem,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker said he and Berridge work well together and have a good relationship.

“In fact, all of our directors together make a pretty good team over here. We collaborate on all kinds of projects, but this will be the first time we’ve done something this large together in a venue,” Whitaker said.

The trip will be recorded to help sell the Chicago experience, Whitaker said.

They will take a charter flight from Midland.

Whitaker joked that he told the students it was “Mojo Airlines” and it’s probably the only direct flight from Midland to Chicago this year.