For the 9th straight year the men of the World Famous Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra (aka “EAO”) will entertain those attending the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  The EAO, featured on WGN radio and a segment with ABC channel 7 TV’s Frank Mathie, is a Parade favorite.

The EAO plays familiar tunes on kazoos, bucket drums, vuvuzelas, cowbell, judicial handzoo, stumpf fiddle and other unconventional instruments.  Again this year, the group will feature the World’s Largest Drum, built as a tribute to its inspiration, actor and comedian Bill Murray.  They are again hopeful Bill will attend and lead them down Spring Road.

This year, the men of the EAO will be marching with heavy hearts, as 2014 EAO Queen Colleen Sutherland lost her battle with breast cancer in October.  Queen Colleen and her husband Scott have graciously hosted a large pre-parade gathering for the members of the EAO and their families for the past 8 years.

“Colleen epitomized the cheerful spirit of the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  She so looked forward each year to entertaining the families of the EAO and especially enjoyed making the day fun for children.  She would decorate the gathering tent in the spirit of the occasion and help provide food for the families.  Colleen loved Parade Day”, according to EAO third-chair kazooist Bob Hedrick.

“It is difficult to imagine this year’s parade without her, but her memory keeps us strong and we will march with her in our hearts.”

The EAO will honor Sutherland posthumously with its Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony the morning of March 4th.  Also, she will be bestowed the title, ‘EAO Queen Emeritus and Eternal Lady of the Royal Court’.

Most importantly, her memory will be honored through a fundraising effort for the Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Infusion Center.

The Center, located within the Nancy W. Knowles Cancer Center at the Hospital, provided professional, caring treatment to Colleen as part of her fight with the disease.

“We were so fortunate to have the amazing staff at Elmhurst Hospital’s Infusion Center providing care for both Colleen and our family.  They really encourage the family to be part of a patient’s wellness.  We will be forever grateful to them”, notes Colleen’s husband, Scott.

The Armpit Orchestra will raise funds for the Hospital’s Infusion Center by selling pink shamrocks to be attached to its treasured instrument, ‘Mary, The World’s Largest Drum’.  Small shamrocks can be purchased for as little as $5, while larger shamrocks may be purchased for $20 or more.  Purchasers can write their name or the name of an honoree on their shamrock.  The shamrocks will adorn the drum as it traverses the parade route on March 4th.



Shamrocks may be purchased in person
from 10:45 am – 11:45 am
in front of the Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 Spring Road on March 4th.


Donations may be sent by mail to
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Foundation, 155 E. Brush Hill Road, payable to the same.
Mailed donations should indicate “EAO” or “Colleen” on the memo line or accompanying note.


You may do so clicking by here,
reference “EAO” or “Colleen” in the comments and the gift type is ‘Hope Lives Here Campaign’.
Reference below to send donation to the correct charity.