A Classy Evening in Champaign

This past Friday, I had the chance to attend a performance by the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra. I know close to nothing about classical music, but my good friend Heidi is a talented violin player and told me about the upcoming show. I actually went to my first violin concert with Heidi back when we were studying abroad in Hong Kong, and it turned out to be a lot of fun, so I was excited to see what the student musicians at Illinois had in store.

We started the night with an early dinner in downtown Champaign. For those of you who are barbeque fans, Black Dog Smoke & Ale House is an absolute must—they’re famous for their Burnt Ends, which sell out pretty quickly, but we got lucky and were able to order ours in sandwich form. Post Black Dog, we headed over to Cream and Flutter, where I ordered some life-altering “Brambleberry Crisp” ice cream.

My Burnt Ends sandwich

Ice cream at Cream and Flutter

By the time we made it to Krannert Art Center I was so full, I was worried I’d fall asleep mid-concert. However, we were able to sit at the balcony, so I pretty great view of all of the musicians doing their thing. The very first piece featured a soprano soloist, and I was blown away by her talent. Another piece featured a harpist—I’d never seen anyone play an instrument so gracefully, and it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.

A view of the stage from the balcony seats

I still have so much to explore when it comes to the world of classical music, but I’m so glad that I have friends like Heidi who encourage me to try new things. I’m also very impressed by the undergraduate and graduate students in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra—I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for upcoming shows throughout the rest of the year.

One of my favorite parts about being a student at Illinois is that there is never a dull moment on, or near campus. Despite being tucked away amongst the cornfields of the Midwest, our campus is always thriving with all sorts of cultural events and experiences worth trying. Friday’s dinner and show certainly did not disappoint, and I’m looking forward to continuing these kinds of adventures throughout my final year here.

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