Colorado marching band moving forward from tragedy, leading Mummers Parade

PHILADELPHIA - December 30, 2013

Their visit comes just a little more than two weeks after a teenage gunman killed a student and himself at their school.

The shooting in Centennial, Colorado on December 13th has not kept the Arapahoe High School Warrior Marching Band from visiting Philadelphia to join the Mummers on New Year's.

The band, about 40 members strong, arrived in Philadelphia Sunday night.

This afternoon they toured the Mummers Museum on South 2nd Street.

The award-winning band knew it wanted to visit Philadelphia because of its unique history and cultural differences.

The Arapahoe Marching Band contacted the Mummers several months ago before tragedy struck its school.

It asked simply for the opportunity to march in the Mummers Parade.

"When I got the call and it was mentioned to me that we were leading off the parade that kind of took everything to a new level. It's very exciting," band director Shawn Funk said.

The city was delighted that despite the shooting at its school, the band still planned to come.

"In the face of tragedy, the kids have to move on and continue on with their lives and this is may be a distraction for them and will be good for the school," Mummers Parade Director Leo Dignam said.

On Monday, Councilman Mark Squilla, who's been a member of the Fancy Brigades since 1985, presented the Arapahoes with a city citation.

Then they were treated to soft pretzels and Philly cheesesteaks.

So on New Year's Day, the Arapahoe High School Marching Band will be leading the way down Broad Street for the 114th annual Philadelphia Mummers Day Parade!

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