This Christmas, Catholic Central Marching Band traveled to Europe to perform as well as soak in the once in a lifetime cultural experience alongside family and friends.
The students traveled to Spain as part of the Youth Music of the World program, which coordinates high school bands to perform at prestigious events across Europe during the Christmas season.
The marching Shamrocks performed in Toledo, Spain at the Cablagata de Reyes, The Parade to the Three Kings, which celebrates the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth.
The young men marched in the parade for three kilometers and played for one and a half hours entertaining hundreds of families through the city of Toledo. Catholic Central had the unique opportunity of opening the parade and being introduced by the mayor of Toledo.
“The Parade to the Three Kings is more important than Christmas to Spaniards,” said Mr. Bonathan ‘07, Music Director at Catholic Central. “We learned that everyone opens their Christmas gifts after the parade and not on Christmas day, so it was a huge honor to be part of such a culturally important event.”
This trip has been highly anticipated since 2019 when its initial planning began by former Band Director Mr. Normand who had been coordinating excursions abroad since the 1980’s for Catholic Central. In years past, the marching band has visited London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and more.
Mr. Bonathan said this trip was incredibly important to him because he had the opportunity to visit London when he was in school and the trip made a lasting impact on him.
“It was an experience that helped lead me into music education when I was in high school, so for me to be able to offer that opportunity to my students is very meaningful,” said Mr. Bonathan. “The boys have been talking nonstop about the trip and how much they’ve enjoyed it and how much they have got out of it and it has been wonderful hearing their side of the experience and the sites they remember visiting - so it was an incredible opportunity for me and my students.”
In total, 104 people attended - half students and half family members - and stayed seven days in Spain, visiting the country’s most historical sites such as the Aqueduct of Segovia, the Medieval Walls of Ávila, The Prado Museum and much more.
When asked what the next trip abroad might be for the marching band, Mr. Bonathan said he doesn’t want to say, but it will likely be Europe, which can give students who long to travel abroad something to look forward to.