This Thanksgiving, the Charlotte Catholic High School Marching Band joined marching bands from across the country in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago. But while they were there, they found the reason for the season.
More than 130 students and parents traveled with director Timothy Cook for the prestigious performance. The parade attracts more than 400,000 spectators and millions more viewing nationwide via WGN-TV.
Director of Bands Timothy Cook announced the band accepted the offer in the parade in September 2015.
“I was thrilled to receive the news.” Cook said, “I sent videos, pictures, and sound clips to a review committee from our 2015 Ireland trip. A couple of days after the submission, they called.”
Charlotte Catholic was one of 16 bands that performed in the parade.
“Interacting with other bands before the parade and with the crowd during the parade was an incredible amount of fun, and marching down State Street was an amazing spectacle,” said Senior Drum Major Michael Gallucci.
After the parade, students and parents rode private dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago. The dinner cruise was part of the four-day tour of sight-seeing.
Students enjoyed Chicago landmarks, including the Hancock Observatory, Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, a performance of “Finding Neverland” in the Cadillac Palace and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
But the trip also included a critical visit to a Chicago-area mission.
The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels provides a Catholic presence in West Humboldt Park on Chicago’s west side, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Chicago.
The purpose of the Mission is to assist the materially poor and to share the Catholic faith.
The Mission currently provides food for more than 700 families every month, distributes gently used clothing and household goods to those in need, and provides after school, evening, and summer programs for approximately 900 youth and 30-40 seniors.
Band students organized a school dress-down day fundraiser for the Mission prior to their trip to Chicago.
Every student at CCHS could earn a dress-down day through donating $1 to the fundraiser.
During their visit to the Mission, the band students presented a check for more than $1,600 from the fundraiser, and the CCHS community donated several bags of gently used clothing for the Mission and new Catholic High School sweatshirts for the Sisters of the Order.
Visit charlottecatholic.org for more information.