The World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - Office of Catholic Education (OCE) today turned a late summer ritual for two Archdiocesan high school marching bands, band camp, into the announcement of a once in a lifetime performance opportunity.
The two organizations made a surprise appearance in front of band members, administrators, and faculty at Cardinal O'Hara and Bishop Shanahan High Schools to announce that their marching bands had been chosen by the Vatican to perform for Pope Francis when he arrives at and departs from Atlantic Aviation in Philadelphia this September.
The announcement at Cardinal O'Hara High School was made by proud O'Hara alumna Mrs. Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015.
At Bishop Shanahan the news was shared during a band meeting by Mrs. Josephine Mandeville, Chair and President of the Connelly Foundation and Co-Chair of the Executive Leadership Cabinet, World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015. Also, on-hand at both Cardinal O'Hara and Bishop Shanahan to offer remarks on behalf of the Office of Catholic Education was Mr. Michael McArdle, Director of Financial Aid. Mr. McArdle is a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High School and taught at both schools involved in today's announcement.
Bishop Shanahan High School's 3 year-old, approximately 100 member-strong, marching band continues to make a name for itself among the high school marching bands in Chester County. Led by its inaugural director and Fine Arts Department Chair, Mr. Charles Keating, Bishop Shanahan's previous notable performances and awards include annual participation and award recipient in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Philadelphia, one of the oldest parades in the nation, as well as, annual performances in the West Chester Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in front of over 30,000 spectators and the Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Parade. Bishop Shanahan is scheduled to perform for the Holy Father when he arrives in Philadelphia on the morning of Saturday, September 26.
Cardinal O'Hara High School's 52 year-old marching band, currently led by Mr. Nicholas Corvino, holds an impressive resume.
The band's history includes a performance for Pope John Paul II, participation in the Inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, and a concert on the stage of the Philadelphia Academy of Music. In its more recent history, the O'Hara Band has had the honor of leading the Philadelphia Phillies into Opening Day every year since the opening of Citizens Bank Park in 2004. In 2014, they were selected to lead off the Philadelphia Saint Patrick's Day parade. Cardinal O'Hara's 45-member marching band will perform for Pope Francis during the departure ceremony scheduled at Atlantic Aviation on the evening of Sunday, September 27.
"Catholic school students throughout the Archdiocese have shown great enthusiasm and spirit for the World Meeting of Families and the Holy Father's historic visit to Philadelphia," said World Meeting of FamiliesPhiladelphia 2015 Executive Director Donna Crilley Farrell. "It is so gratifying to make this surprise announcement to students who will have the unique opportunity to share their musical gifts with Pope Francis and the world.
I'm grateful to the band directors and administrators of both Bishop Shanahan and Cardinal O'Hara High Schools as well as the band members at both schools for their willingness to create special and memorable moments for the Holy Father as he arrives at and departs from our Archdiocese."
For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September, please visit www.WorldMeeting2015.org. You can also engage the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia on Facebook (World Meeting of Families 2015) (Encuentro Mundial de las Familias - Filadelfia 2015), Twitter (@WMF2015) (@WMF2015ES) and Instagram (WMF2015).
About World Meetings of Families
Beginning with 1994, The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Family has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015). Since its inception by Saint John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe.
About the Office of Catholic Education (OCE)
The almost 60,000 students of the 122 elementary, 17 secondary and 4 special education schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, are part of a centuries-long tradition of academic excellence as the first Catholic school system in America begun by Saint John Neumann. Outstanding TerraNova scores, 15 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, and the very latest technology and teaching techniques characterize today's Archdiocesan Catholic schools. All in safe, faith-focused surroundings, where the most qualified teachers instill moral and spiritual values that will last a lifetime. The Office of Catholic Education is committed to equipping saints for life, in this world and the next. For more on Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia visit www.catholicschools-phl.org.