Four Upstate Catholic schools form marching band

The saints came marching in, along with a prince and Our Lady.

Those are the members of the United Catholic School Marching Band, which joined students from St. Paul the Apostle in Spartanburg, St. Mary in Greenville, Prince of Peace in Taylors and Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville.

The marching band was the brain child of Jessica Crim, music instructor at St. Mary, who contacted Pamela Bloom, band teacher at the other three schools.

Crim thought it would be a great example of community spirit to merge the four small groups into one large marching band and participate in special events.

Their first gig was the recent Greenville Christmas parade.

They had 42 children in fourth-eighth grades march the route with their musical instruments, including flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trombones and percussion, Bloom said.

“They only had about five hours of practice for this to happen and they all did wonderful,” she said. “They definitely rose up to the challenge.”

All of the members have at least one year experience. Bloom said it was a real task for some of the fourth-graders because they’re smaller, but nobody said anything about the difficulty and all the marchers are ready to do it again.

“We would like to continue doing different parades throughout the school year and we’ve had a great response from parents,” the band teacher said.

When Crim proposed the idea, she told Bloom she was trying to think of ways to involve the children in the community and provide them with another performance outlet.

Bloom said it’s also a great way to promote Catholic schools and let the public know they have a thriving music program.

An added benefit of marching in the parade turned out to be in the recruitment department. The band director said she already had another student sign up to play with them.

“They see the band outside of school and it lets students know it’s fun,” Bloom said.