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22 June, 2001

It's Only Rock & Roll but I Like It!! 6/22/01

Cleveland Ohio, a city that Hartford wishes it could be and maybe will be in the future (with a lot of work). Cleveland is a "new" city. Actually it was founded in the late 1700's but it had a renaissance sometime in the early 1980's when Mayor Dennis Vocinich (now a representative from Ohio-D) decided to renew the inner city proper. He cleaned up the crime, divided the city into districts e.g. theater, financial, sports and helped revamp the river front with restaurants and night clubs. It took about 10 years to renovate the city but now it is a bustling modern metropolis.

Cleveland is proud to be the home of 2 professional sports teams-the Cleveland Indians (baseball) and the Cleveland Browns (football). Both teams have their own brand new stadium. Each stadium holds approximately 43,000 fans. This brings commerce and activity to the city. When the stadiums are not used for sports, other events such as concerts are held there.

Cleveland is located on Lake Erie. Many of their attractions are located on the lake front. One of the attractions is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This building was designed by architect, I.M. Pei. It has a similar design and balance to a structures created by Frank Lloyd Wright. The structure is built in glass and reflects sunlight. Most of the exhibits are located below ground and the specialty exhibits are placed in towers above the ground. The museum is the largest collection of rock and roll memorabilia in the world. It has a wonderful history of rock and roll from the beginnings of blues and country to rap. The collection of sounds and costumes were spectacular. We spent the afternoon here. Bob Cooper, our third chaperone and our senior student joined us at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The restaurant district, called the "Flats", is located on the Cuyahoga River. The Cuyahoga feeds into Lake Erie. On both sides of the river there are a number of famous restaurants and nightclubs. This district extends for approximately .5 mile on both sides of the river. There is also an outdoor concert center that holds approximately 15,000 people. A water taxi travels from one side of the river to another for a nominal fee. On a Friday night, the Flats is hopping with activity. We were able to have dinner on the Flats.

The highlight of the evening was for the girls on the trip. NSYNC, teen idol performing group, was performing at the Brown's football stadium. After dinner, we brought the students to the stadium to hear the band. Fortunate for us, the band has a huge video screen so that people in the "nose bleed" section could see the performers. The stadium is designed so people outside the stadium could see the screen. When the concert started, we could see the band better than some of the concertgoers. The best part about this viewing position is that there were a lot of ticket scalpers outside the gates. As our group of 24 were standing outside the gates waiting for NSYNC to start we were talking to this guy standing at the entrance next to us. He offered to sell us 1 ticket for $20. Unfortunately, there were 24 of us. I told him we appreciated the offer but we couldn't let just one student in the concert. He left and minutes later returned with a free ticket that he gave to one of the girls. She almost fainted right there on the ground. It was an 8th row ticket on the floor!!! (It was a sold out show too). After much debate, we decided to let her see the concert accompanied by a security guard since the stadium officials would not let one of we chaperone into the concert. While she was in the concert, another scalper came up to us and offered us 2 more free tickets (on the floor too). How could we refuse to let the other 2 girls see the concert. It was time to go back to the hotel so Cooper decided to stay back with the girls (he didn't go into the concert though just hung out at the gate with the other parents). The excitement in the eyes of the girls and their reaction to this experience was the best part of the day.

We are now an intact group of 27 pioneers trekking across the great country of America on our westward travels to the Pacific Ocean. Is this what the pioneers were seeing as they rolled across country? Probably not. An adventure……….and more to come!!!

Ciao, Cathi

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