Abby Matthews, a clarinet player, and the Woodland High School Wildcat Marching Band Cartersville, GA were named the 2018 recipients of the 15th annual Bob Hope Band Scholarship Award. The award is decided on the merit of an essay competition about Bob Hope and the importance of giving back. The announcement was made by Wesley Whatley, creative director, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. Ms. Matthews, 16, will perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which can be seen Thursday, November 22rd on NBC (9 a.m. – noon in all time zones).
This year marks 15 consecutive years that Macy’s and the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation have proudly presented the Bob Hope Band Scholarship Award. The scholarship is designed to honor one outstanding band member and their school band program participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The award is especially meaningful because, during their lifetimes, Bob and Dolores Hope were truly honored and delighted to be featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and recognized for their service. Moreover, as a gifted song and dance man, Bob knew the importance of music, especially to young people.
For almost a century, Bob Hope was celebrated for his ability to make people laugh. He became one of America’s best-loved entertainers rising to #1 in radio, television, and films. He was a proud American immigrant who gave his time to bring a sense of home to our troops stationed around the world. Since the days of World War II, he worked with the USO to bring humanity and hope to our men and women in uniform. This is the legacy of Bob Hope.
“On behalf of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, and particularly on behalf of my dad, Bob Hope, I want to congratulate Abby Matthews on her most creative essay,” said Linda Hope. “I know that my parents would be very proud that such an accomplished and caring young woman was this year’s scholarship recipient,” she added.
Abby is a junior at Woodland High School. She resides in Georgia with her parents Jennifer and Jeremy Matthews and her siblings Wilson, 15, Laney, 12, and Ellie, 2. Her special interests and accomplishments include the school Academic Team, Spanish Honors Society, Beta Club, Tri-M Music Honors Society (officer), Band Captain of WHS Marching Band, Student Council and being a member of 4-H where she has shown livestock. Abby has traveled with the marching band to Florida, Tennessee and now, NYC! Abby is an aspiring doctor and plans to use her scholarship money towards her education.
Like many of the student recipients of the Bob Hope Band Scholarship, Abby learned about Bob Hope through research for her essay. As she studied the life of Bob Hope, Abby noted in her essay, Hope’s life was a series of accomplishments that were earned by way of his hard work and discipline. Bob Hope was admired because he always made it known he was grateful for his success. He showed that by selflessly lifting up others and giving back – particularly by what he did for the troops and veterans as an immigrant to the USA.
“We are so incredibly proud of Abby Matthews and her accomplishments as a musician and leader in our school and community. Abby works tirelessly and selflessly to achieve her goals. She has inspired her peers and continually inspires me to be the best director I can be. The scholarship funds will be such a blessing to Abby and our band program. We have many instrument in disrepair and are needing to replace many unrepairable instruments, therefore, we will be using all scholarship funds to help improve the quality of our musical instrument inventory,” remarked music educator Eric Willoughby, Director of Bands at Woodland High School for 11 consecutive years.
The Woodland High School Band program was awarded the Exemplary Performance Award from the Georgia Music Educators Association. The band was recognized as a Regional Winner of the National Band Association Program of Excellence “Blue Ribbon” Award. 2018 marks Woodland’s Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade debut where they will be performing “Joyful, Hallelujah!” – this arrangement is a medley that features music from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Ode to Joy,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
About the Bob Hope Band Scholarship
Since 2003, Macy’s and the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation have proudly presented the Bob Hope Band Scholarship. Through a written essay, each school participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can nominate one participating musician, auxiliary team member or drum major from their marching band program who best reflects the value and attributes that Bob Hope represented to millions of Americans, both at home and overseas. These values and attributes include musical ability, leadership initiative, sense of humor and a strong commitment to community service.
Members of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Selection Committee evaluates the essays and selected the winning recipient. The selected student will receive a $10,000. Scholarship award towards her/his education. In addition, the school band program will also receive $10,000. The Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation supports organizations that bring HOPE to those in need, and those who served to protect our nation.
About the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
With more than 50 million viewers across the country and more than 3.5 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event. For 90 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season. Growing in size and scale, the Parade proudly marches down a more than 2-mile route in New York City with more than 8,000 participants in tow including Macy’s employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups spreading holiday cheer. The Parade also features America’s best marching bands, fabulous floats, and Macy’s signature giant helium character balloons. For more information on the Macy’s Parade, please visit www.macys.com/parade or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.