Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) – Day 1 

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We made it! After a long day we’ve arrived at our hotel but not until we toddled all over this toddling town. While that will only make sense to Sinatra-era music fans there are Buddy Guy fans among our readers who will be as excited as we were to sit in Buddy Guy’s Legends and watch our very own SHDHS Jazz Combo perform for the lunch crowd. We live streamed a portion of the performance so for those who missed it, you’ll find it archived on our Facebook page listed as South Huron District High School Music Program. By the way, it’s not uncommon to look into the dark corners and see the legend himself casually taking in the music but sadly for us, Buddy Guy was performing in Springfield, MO today. His Grammy Awards are housed at Buddy Guy’s Legends and if you check out our Instagram feed, @shdhsmusic, you’ll see one of them. 

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The Shedd Aquarium was our next stop where we experienced fish large and small, crabs, whales and a few very large spiders from every corner of the Earth. Harbour seals and dolphins are just as entertaining as 50 students on a field trip! 

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Chicago has one of the most beautiful parks. Millennium Park is over 24 acres of art, amazing architecture, events and gardens. Of course, a visit to the park isn’t complete without a group photo at the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, more popularly known as “The Bean.” 

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After dinner at the Hard Rock Café we were off for a little retail therapy on the famous Magnificent Mile. With stores like Bloomingdales, Sak’s 5th Avenue and Burberry there may have been more dreaming than shopping but window shopping is a sport everyone can enjoy.  

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Now it’s off to bed to rest up for our big day tomorrow. It’s all about Habitat for Humanity! 


SHDHS Music Students Learn About the Past, and the Future of Detroit Music

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Our tour started out with a whirlwind tour of three iconic locations in the Motor City. Things began - as they did 'back in the day' - at United Sound Systems Recording Studios (USSRS), the oldest independent recording studio in the United States, and a catalyst for change in the industry as we know it. Just being in the various studio spaces, and hearing about the unbelievable history in this building was incredible.  Unfortunately, the building is in danger of being torn down to make way for an expanded highway, but there are a number of people who are fighting this action. United Sound Systems Recording Studios has a number of good friends including SHDHS Music Director Isaac Moore. Together with Carleton Gholz and a group of like-minded individuals in the Detroit Sound Conservancy, advocacy and preservation action has been ongoing over the few past years to historically designate the building and help save it from demolition. We will hopefully see the highway restructuring take a different path and spare the deep history that is United Sound Systems.

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Our group had a terrific tour of the various studios inside USSRS.  These rooms have seen artists such as Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Parliament- Funkadelic and the Red Hot Chili Peppers record hit after hit, and the spaces are still available for recording today. For more information about United Sound, visit unitedsoundsystemsrecordingstudios.com and for more information on the work of the Detroit Sound Conservancy, visit www.detroitsoundconservancy.org.

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Next we were off to Hitsville, USA! Also known as Motown’s Studio “A”, where we watched a film detailing the history of how Berry Gordy built his multi-million-dollar business from an $800 loan. The original house in which Gordy lived and worked, grew to involve a block of houses before moving into a commercial building that could accommodate all of the functions that had been divided up in that block. Motown eventually relocated to Los Angeles, but not before recording and releasing hundreds of hit records that were recorded in the “Snakepit” in Hitsville, USA. “My Girl”, “Dancing in the Streets”, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” and many, many more hits came from that little house on West Grand Boulevard.  It was an honour to visit such an important place, and even do a little dancing and singing on the studio floor.

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Before taking on the longest part of our journey we had a special visit to Third Man Records. Jack White, a native of Detroit and part of the famous White Stripes, opened the original Third Man Records in Nashville and then came home to open a large location in the Cass Corridor in Detroit that houses recording facilities, merchandise and performance space for music, poetry as well as art shows. The attention to detail, colour and function in the building made for a fascinating visit, and we all came away with a few goodies courtesy of Third Man’s staff.  Some students even got to play guitar through the same amps that Jack White used on the Grammy awards in 2004!

A huge thanks to these places for making us feel so welcome, and sharing their incredible stories with us!

Ahead of us lies a long drive which should see us arrive in Memphis around 1:30 or 2:00 AM on Thursday. Stay tuned for our adventures on this blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are having an amazing trip so far.

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Twitter and Instagram : @shdhsmusic


Meet Canada’s Chosen ‘Safe School’ for 2015

Every year one school across Canada is awarded The Canadian Safe School Network/TD Award For Excellence against LGBTQ Youth Bullying.

This year, we are very proud to say, went to our own South Huron District High School thanks to the work of staff and students in the school's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

The Canadian Safe School Network (CSSN) and TD Bank present this award to a publicly-funded school, elementary or secondary, that has demonstrated excellence in the development, creation or promotion of an in-school initiative to counter LGBTQ bullying. The successful recipient school will be awarded a financial prize of $2500.00 CDN.

Congratulations South Huron DHS and the GSA!


SHDHS Music Reunites After 65 Years!

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On September 27th, almost 100 music alumni and their families, friends and community members gathered in our gym to relive their days as music students at this school.

Guests were treated to a concert, free BBQ, a musical petting zoo (where people could try new instruments) and a room filled with memorabilia and photos form the last 65 years!

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We had a number of special guests, including former teachers, administration and some descendants of staff who have passed on. The day featured performances by the current Senior Band and Jazz Combo, Dave Robilliard, a vocal trio and the Alumni band!

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Many laughs were shared and stories re-told, and we're so thankful to the many former members of the music program who came back to play and be a part of our special day in honour of our history.

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Rainbow Week at SHDHS!

Web-photo2A rainbow flag flies high at South Huron District High School in Exeter to celebrate "Rainbow Week". It's an annual event at SHDHS where students and staff are encouraged to celebrate diversity and stop all forms of bullying. The week long activities were organized by the school's Gender Sexuality Alliance featuring a special presentation from Egale, an LGBT charity based in Toronto.


During the assembly the GSA also showcased the premiere of "Heterophobia", a film shot by the students of SHDHS that flips the perspective and shows what its like for a heterosexual student living in a world where opposite gender attraction is frowned upon.

 GSA Chair Meghan McConnell is proud of her school and all the work they have done to make their community more aware and accepting.