Glen Ellyn concert to support Blackfeet reservation school in Montana

  • Singer-songwriters Michael McDermott and his wife, Heather Horton, will take the stage for a charity concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at St. Petronille's Parish Life Center. All the proceeds will support a project to install a new playground at a small school in Browning, Montana.

    Singer-songwriters Michael McDermott and his wife, Heather Horton, will take the stage for a charity concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at St. Petronille's Parish Life Center. All the proceeds will support a project to install a new playground at a small school in Browning, Montana. Courtesy of Michael McDermott

  • Concert organizers hope to raise $30,000 to replace the playground at a school on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

    Concert organizers hope to raise $30,000 to replace the playground at a school on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Courtesy of Teresa Curi

  • St. Petronille alumnae Megan Currie, back row, third from the right, and Kathleen Caffrey, left, volunteered at the De La Salle Blackfeet School during a mission trip. St. Petronille grad Kelly Stack, right, taught at the school for five years.

    St. Petronille alumnae Megan Currie, back row, third from the right, and Kathleen Caffrey, left, volunteered at the De La Salle Blackfeet School during a mission trip. St. Petronille grad Kelly Stack, right, taught at the school for five years. Courtesy of Teresa Curi

 
 
Updated 11/21/2017 12:11 PM

Teresa Curi left a charity concert at her Glen Ellyn parish three months ago inspired by the music of Michael McDermott and his wife, Heather Horton -- a couple who "sing from the heart."

She wanted to do something heartfelt for a small school on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Curi, her daughter and other St. Petronille parishioners volunteered there four years during a weeklong mission trip before Easter.

 

So Curi decided to harness the musical talents of McDermott and Horton for another good cause: a benefit concert Saturday night at St. Petronille to raise funds for a new playground at the De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana.

Curi and other organizers hope to raise both $30,000 for the project and awareness of the school run by the De La Salle brothers and volunteer teachers.

"We want to bring attention to the school and all the good work that the De La Salle Blackfeet community is doing," Curi said.

In a remote corner of northwest Montana, Browning struggles with high unemployment, drug addiction and poverty. But it's also a tight-knit community that fosters cultural exchanges with suburban students who lend a hand at the De La Salle school twice a year on mission trips through St. Petronille.

Members of the group complete maintenance projects around the campus and help in the classroom as teacher's assistants.

"I was really touched by it," Curi said. "It was probably one of the most impactful Easter weeks I've ever had."

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Curi was touched by volunteer educators who are selflessly making a difference at the school that serves students in fourth through eighth grades.

"Despite the struggles in Browning and the reservation, there is hope for the future," Curi said. "The De La Salle kids do well in high school with many of them going on to college."

Her 22-year-old daughter, too, saw teachers act as a role models to students. She remembered them offering to drive kids home if they didn't have a ride after school.

Their good deeds left such an impression that her two trips to the school gave rise to her own career in education.

"They just hold a special place in my heart," said Megan Curi, who works as a preschool aide at St. Matthew Parish School in Glendale Heights.

The Wheaton mother and daughter hope the concert raises enough funds to replace the De La Salle playground. The school has only a few pieces of equipment sitting on gravel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Our hope is to provide a soft surface so that it's much safer," Teresa Curi said.

As fans of McDermott and Horton, Curi and her daughter attended the benefit concert in August at St. Petronille to support Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago.

"He's extremely honest. He's a great lyricist," Teresa Curi said of the singer-songwriter.

Curi wanted the couple to return to the parish after Thanksgiving to give folks a chance to give back in the spirit of the season.

"We have so much to be grateful for," she said.

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