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BLUES: The blues is a type of music with specific notes, rhythms, and chord progressions. It originated in the south by slaves singing as they worked in the fields. The blues are often songs of sorrow, loss and hard times, but many also speak of hope and celebration. The music was meant to help the listener and performer overcome sadness, or “the blues.”

‘L’ TRAIN: The public train system in Chicago is called the ‘L,’ which is short for elevated. The first tracks, built between 1888 and 1909, rode on tall platforms along alleyways. Today the system is a combination of above-ground, ground level, and below-ground tracks of more than 240 miles. It runs on electricity.


The blues and Beethoven mix with Carl Sandburg and the 'L'  train when a girl and her parents travel from Uptown to Downtown to hear the Grant Park Music Festival orchestra and choir. Some of the sights and sounds they experience are mentioned here.  

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)  was a composer and a pianist. He was born in Germany, but lived mostly in Vienna, Austria. Even though he began losing his hearing at the age of 28, he kept playing and writing music. Some of his most famous pieces were written when he was completely deaf. 


CARL SANDBURG  (1878-1967) 

was an American writer, editor, and poet. Mr. Sandburg calls Chicago the "City of the Big Shoulders" in his poem titled "Chicago," published in 1914. It became the most famous city poem ever written. In his lifetime, he won three Pulitzer Prizes for his writing.  


GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVALis the only free outdoor classical music festival in the nation. The concerts started in 1931, during the Great Depression. James C. Petrillo organized the event into a series of summer concerts in 1935, which became known as the Grant Park Music Festival. The Festival formed a professional orchestra in 1944, and a chorus was added in 1962. Hundreds of concerts have been performed in downtown Chicago since that first summer. 


Copyright 2015. Nanci J. Mortimer. All rights reserved.

MILLENNIUM PARK: Officially opening on July 16, 2004, Millennium Park transformed a blighted downtown area, previously filled with old railroad tracks and parking lots, into an award-winning public space. The park is home to sculptures, gardens, and performance areas covering more than 20 acres. 



CHICAGO, ILLINOIS is the third largest city in America, located in the middle of the Midwest. Almost three million people call the city home.