St. Christopher’s Makes It to the Big Screen

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Marching Band has a part in Golden Globe Multi-nominee Birdman

It would come as no surprise that the primary topic of conversation around Hollywood today would be the 2015 Golden Globe Award nominees who were announced yesterday. But the same wouldn’t be expected on the quiet campus of St. Christopher’s, an organization dedicated to helping teens with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities, based in this Hudson River village in Westchester County.

Yet today St. Christopher’s was abuzz with talk of the awards and, specifically, Birdman, starring Michael Keaton which received seven nominations, tops among this year’s field - and with good reason. The Marching Cobras of New York, a band comprised of at-risk adolescents with a major contingent from St. Christopher’s, provide the back drop for the acclaimed film’s final scene.

Birdman, a comedic drama about a washed-up actor, played by Michael Keaton, trying to make a comeback, received nominations for Best Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Director, Alejandro G. Inarritu. Keaton received a Best Dramatic Actor nomination, and actors Emma Stone and Edward Norton were recognized for their supporting work.

The Marching Cobras are shown participating in the pre-Super Bowl parade last February. Members of the film crew saw the band performing and took the opportunity to capture them in action at Times Square.

“It started when location scouts came to scout all three campuses one day and happened to catch our Marching Cobras practicing,” said St. Christopher’s CEO Dr. Robert Maher. “They were impressed by the talent, enthusiasm and dedication of the members and contacted me to see if it would be possible to include the band in a film they were working on called Birdman. We thought it was a unique opportunity to highlight the band members and readily agreed.”

“The pre-Super Bowl parade, which was a major honor for us to be invited to participate in, provided the perfect setting because the film is centered on Manhattan’s Theater District, so it all came together beautifully,” Dr. Maher said. “It was great to be part of the film but we certainly never imagined that our kids would be not just marching in a movie, but in what could well be the top film of the year.”

“We knew Birdman was in contention for some nominations, so we were all watching when the Golden Globe nominations were made,” he said. “I don’t think there was louder cheering for any nominee than was heard here in Dobbs Ferry for Birdman. It is truly special for our children to have even a small part in this tremendous film. We owe a debt of gratitude to the location scouts and everyone associated with the making of this movie. Now we can’t wait for Awards Night!”

The band can be seen in the Birdman trailer at the 2:11 mark.

St. Christopher’s, Inc.                                                                                                            
St. Christopher’s, Inc. is an innovative adolescent development organization dedicated to helping children with special needs and their families by delivering a seamless continuum of care. We provide quality education; therapeutic intervention and life planning skills in a safe and nurturing environment with the goal of helping each child reach his/her full potential. For more information visit

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Juliana Wynohradnyk
Thompson & Bender
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