Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to Kick Off Latest ‘Chi on the Fly’ Entertainment Series Ahead of Holiday Season at O’Hare, Midway Airports

November 7, 2023

Featured Artists to Shine a Spotlight on Chicago’s Entertainment Scene


Passengers traveling through O’Hare and Midway International Airports this holiday season will be treated to a variety of entertainment offerings, as the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) today announced the latest series of “Chi on the Fly” performances starting Nov. 16. 

“The holidays bring out so much good cheer in Chicagoans, and with ‘Chi on the Fly,’ we have a roster of artists to help make the traveling experience a joyous one for those traversing our airports,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “It’s also the perfect opportunity to remind visitors that Chicago is a world-class destination for the arts, and we hope they take the opportunity to learn more about the talented artists of our wonderful city.”  

For travelers spending time in Chicago, there is a variety of entertainment and cultural attractions to take in year-round, such as music concerts, theatrical productions and museum exhibitions. For those in the city for only a brief period of time, “Chi on the Fly” is also an invitation to check out Chicago’s entertainment scene during future trips.  

Interested in performing at Chicago's airports? The #ChiOnTheFly entertainment series hosts 100+ music, dance, and family-friendly performances at Midway and O’Hare each year — from inspiring youth choirs to blues bands to jazz trios. Performers are paid at a starting rate of $500 based on group size. Visit for more information and to apply. 

Musical acts and entertainers scheduled for ‘Chi on the Fly’ include:   

November 16  

  • Linda Ortiz ( at Midway’s Baggage Claim, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Linda Ortiz has spent several years perfecting her artistic talents on display at parties. Her company, Ortiz Entertainment, offers face painting and other services for birthday parties, quinceañeras, holiday parties, baptisms, community events and more. 
  • Gabrielle Goudard ( in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Gabrielle Goudard is an operatic soprano and multidisciplinary artist who has also performed jazz and gospel, in addition to Balinese, Middle Eastern and Turkish music. Goudard has appeared on numerous stages around the world, including festivals in France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Peru and the United States. 

November 17  

  • Smiley Tillmon Band ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 9 a.m. to noon. Moses “Smiley” Tillmon leads one of the busiest blues outfits in Chicagoland, which is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. After 55 years on the local blues scene, Tillmon serves up the blues and soul standards that people never seem to stop craving, his rich vocals and fluid guitar backed by a band that keeps his grooves tight and right. 
  • ReTurn2SouL ( next to Midway’s Battle of Midway exhibit, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ReTurn2SouL transports you back to simpler times with their renditions of old school R&B, Motown and pop, along with some jazz and blues. Consisting of skilled and experienced musicians – some of whom have been performing together since their teens – ReTurn2Soul has had engagements through the United States and abroad. 
  • Harmonica Hinds ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 1 Bridge, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mervyn “Harmonica” Hinds has been performing throughout Chicagoland since the early 1970s. He has guested on various albums (including legends like the late Chicago blues artist Koko Taylor), shared the stage with various blues musicians such as the late Willie Dixon and performed at many Chicago venues, which include a regular stint at Buddy Guy’s Legends. 

November 21  

  • Eric Noden ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 1 Bridge, 9 a.m. to noon. Eric Noden is an award-winning acoustic blues and roots musician based out of Chicago, whose virtuosic fingerpicking guitar blends perfectly with his honey and whiskey-tinged voice. From barrelhouse blues to New Orleans grooves to dazzling guitar instrumentals, Noden’s live performances are festive and celebratory events. 
  • CoverGirls Violin Show ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The CoverGirls Violin Show is a colorful, high-energy musical revue of the greatest pop and rock hits from Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga – all performed on the CoverGirls' signature purple electric violins. In addition to being classically trained, many of the CoverGirls are gifted improvisers in the hip-hop, jazz, rock and Latin idioms. 
  • The Noize ( next to Midway’s Battle of Midway exhibit, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Having shared the stage with the Spin Doctors, the Marshall Tucker Band, Rick Springfield and the Dirty Heads, The Noize knows how to entertain audiences with their unique sound and interpretation of rock, pop, funk, country and soul hits you know and love. 

November 22  

  • Sam Thousand ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 1 Bridge, 9 a.m. to noon. Sam Thousand (formally known as Sam Trump) is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/writer, producer/composer and a 3Arts Recipient with over 15 years of experience in live performance art, curation, and self-management. Since picking up the trumpet at age 7, he has performed across North America as well as overseas. 
  • Adrian Morris ( at Midway’s Baggage Claim, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Violinist Adrian Morris has performed in Chicago string groups for nearly two decades – including the Amadeus Chamber Ensemble and the String Theory Chamber Ensemble. Quartetto Solo is Morris’ current musical project. 
  • ReTurn2SouL at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

November 26  

  • Jonas Friddle ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friddle is a singer, songwriter and old-time banjo player whose tunes have received the 2012 Song of the Year Award in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, first place in the Great American Song Contest and a nomination for Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards. His songs bear the marks of a musician who has done his time in pub sessions and square dance halls, and his writing is full of imagery, honesty and humor.   

November 27  

  • Piraguas Y Piropos ( at O’Hare’s Terminal 2 Butch O’Hare exhibit, 9 a.m. to noon. Piraguas y Piropos is an ensemble that performs Jibaro music (also known as Puerto Rican folkloric traditional music), which has a background in classical music and offers the flavor and syncopations of the Caribbean. Piraguas Y Piropos performs in a format that allows them to revere their origins, while also incorporating an openness to improvise in a way that keeps the music fresh every time it is performed. 
  • Sam Thousand Duo, at Midway’s Baggage Claim, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Petter Wahlbäck (, at O’Hare’s Terminal 2 Butch O’Hare exhibit, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wahlbäck is an award-winning Swedish composer and sound designer working out of Chicago. Wahlbäck’s main areas of focus are music for media and performing arts. He has written music and created sound designs for numerous award-winning films, dance performances and theater productions. 

December 15  

December 18   

  • Taft High School Choir (, throughout O’Hare, 9 a.m. to noon. Happy Holidays from the Music Department at Chicago's William Taft High School!  The choirs at Taft, under the direction of Ms. Logan Jones and Mr. Philip Platakis, include curricular groups such as the Beginning Mixed Choruses, the Concert Choir and the Eagle Singers, as well as after-school ensembles the Varsity Singers and T.B.A. (the Tenor-Bass Association). Taft choirs have performed at various locations on the north side of Chicago, Navy Pier and Walt Disney World.    
  • Thaddeus Tukes (, at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Presented as the “World's Best Vibraphonist” by World Expo 2020 in Dubai, composer and percussionist Thaddeus Tukes is a proud practitioner of what he calls the “Chicago Vibe,” honoring the legacy of the vibraphone within the jazz tradition and beyond. His virtuosity and creativity has captivated audiences from Carnegie Hall in New York to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  
  • Merry Maskers Carolers (, strolling throughout Midway, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Merry Maskers are one of Chicago’s top caroling groups, having performed for country clubs, hotels, thousands of events, as well as in the movies. 

December 19  

  • Merry Maskers Carolers, strolling throughout O’Hare, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • David Chiriboga (, at Midway’s Baggage Claim, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Based in Chicago, David Chiriboga offers 20 years of experience in showcasing premier artists in flamenco, Spanish guitar and dance ensembles throughout the Midwest and beyond. Not only does Chiriboga play traditional Spanish Guitar classics, but he also adapts popular music into his repertoire. 

December 20 

  • Santa, throughout Midway, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Right before making the yearly rounds, Santa stops by Chicago’s airports to bring holiday cheer to passengers young and old! Joining him at some appearances is Mrs. Claus, who also loves helping her husband deliver gifts and smiles to travelers at this time of year!     
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus, throughout O’Hare, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

December 21  

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus, throughout O’Hare, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • Faces in Focus (, at Midway’s Baggage Claim, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chicago-based Faces in Focus has been a premier caricature, face paint and portrait outlet for the general public, with a location at Navy Pier since 1997. Faces in Focus’ award-winning artists have also been featured on national television. 
  • CoverGirls Violin Show, at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

December 22 

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus, throughout Midway, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
  • Santa, throughout O’Hare, 9 a.m. to noon. 
  • ReTurn2Soul, at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

December 26 

  • Harmonica Hinds, at O’Hare’s Terminal 3 Rotunda, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

December 29  

  • Banjo Buddies (, next to Midway’s Battle of Midway exhibit, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Banjo Buddies Dixieland Jazz Band's repertoire includes Classic Dixieland Jazz and popular standards spanning three decades. For over two decades, the band has played over 200 engagements, with musical styles that include swing, blues and novelty tunes.  

A full calendar of the “Chi on the Fly” holiday season at O’Hare and Midway is available on Check FlyChicago’s website regularly for updates on other artists and entertainers added to this season’s lineup.