Marian Catholic Marching Band Shines in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Lee Edwards | 12/4/2013, 4:11 p.m.
Marian Catholic High School (MCHS) Marching Band, 700 Ashland Ave., Chicago Heights, Ill., proudly strutted their stuff in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City on Nov. 28. This was MCHS's second time participating in the world class parade which aired on NBC on Thanksgiving day that drew 50 million viewers and over one million spectators along the parade route.
“Marian Catholic is very proud of the accomplishments of our band program. It’s due to the dedication of the students and families and directors,” said Sister Kathleen Tait, Marian Catholic Principal. “The dedication and the time they put into it and the energy and understanding to put out an excellent project every year both at grand nationals and the Marion community. We’re proud to showcase them to the nation in the Macy’s Day Parade.”
Greg Bimm, MCHS's Band Director of 37 years, told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper the process of securing a position in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.
“The process starts pretty early; two years ago we had to send in application materials, pictures, background information, video on the band, all kinds of documentation like that and from that the Macy’s group will select one band from each state to participate. It’s quite an honor and the audience, of course, is huge, millions of people watching on television,” Bimm said.
The Chicago Citizen Newspaper spoke to an excited MCHS band member before he headed off to the "Big Apple" to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parde.
“For the Macy’s Day Parade, my expectation is for us to go out there and have a great time in New York City, do our best and represent the school well and all the people that’s been a part of this band in the years before us,” said junior tuba player Julian Goods from the Village of Matteson.
The MCHS Marching Band has a legacy of being one of the most accomplished high school marching bands in the nation and recently competed in the Bands of America Grand Nationals, the largest high school marching band competition in the country, on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN where it placed 9th out of 96 competitors. Only 12 finalists are selected and the MCHS Marching Band has been in the finals every year for 30 years straight, the longest streak of its kind.
The MCHS Marching Band is made up of nearly 200 high school student performers that play trumpets, trombones, baritones, tubas, clarinets, flutes, saxophones, bass clarinets, and a wide array of drums. Many students own their instruments but it is not a prerequisite to being in the band.
While the MCHS Marching Band has enjoyed great success over the years, it is still non-exclusive. Any student can join the band and expect to perform in competition regardless to whether or not they have previous musical experience.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said MCHS freshman, Bailey Wright. “I’ve never been with such a large group of people coming together for the same goal, that’s really amazing. You can actually feel the music in your heart, you can actually tell what it’s supposed to be and it just moves your soul.”