Letters: Honoring Marian Catholic's marching band

Readers from across the country responded to "Marching to Glory," a three-part series by Tribune critic Howard Reich on the Marian Catholic High School marching band and its journey to the Grand National Championships, led by band director Greg Bimm.

Following are edited letters. To read the complete series, watch video of the band and explore a photo gallery, go to chicagotribune.com/marian.

Band lessonsThanks so much for your coverage of the Marian Catholic High School band. I'm an alum from '89, and I was part of the years when winning was routine. I suspect that no other band directors during that time thought high school students could play Stravinsky and Copland. But exactly as you portrayed in the articles and video, Mr. Bimm never let us quit, and he always expected the best. I take those lessons from more than 20 years ago with me in my work now.

-- Amy Rasmussen, executive director, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Chicago

Winning gestureGreat story on Marian Catholic. It's in a pretty gritty area and is lacking in advantages, but the spirit of the band is amazing. I have a son and a daughter in the Lake Park marching band, which is also an excellent program, and I was glad to see that Mike Chiodo's tribute (to Marian) made the newspaper. It was newsworthy! In today's win-at-all-costs environment, Mike's -- and the band's -- gesture stood out.

-- Dave Brambert,


Real GoliathYour article paints Marian Catholic as David vs. Goliath. Maybe when pitted against the likes of Lake Park it is. But that's hardly my viewpoint. In fact, when I was in school Marian was Goliath and we directly competed with them. Your article also makes it sound as if Marian was the hardest working band out there. Every band works just as hard. Aside from my bias toward Marian Catholic, I do not want to take away the victory from the kids. They worked hard.

-- Jeff Podolski,


Class actMy 18-year-old daughter is an alumna of the Centerville Jazz Band from Ohio, a band that is frequently in competition with Marian Catholic. The Marian Catholic program is a class act from top to bottom and is extremely well-respected in the band world. Your column is the single best article I have ever read about marching band. I hope all those who read it will come away with a better appreciation of the truly life-changing experience that band can be for teenagers who are fortunate enough to work with people like Mr. Bimm.

-- Sue Henderson,

Centerville, Ohio

True championsYour descriptive writing made me feel as if I were there and possibly 17 again. And my thanks to the Marian Catholic High School marching band. They are truly champions.

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