The five Scarbrough siblings in The Footlight District — Sarah, Gracie, Faith, Hannah and Cecil — know hardship firsthand. When parts of Mississippi were devastated after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, they were rendered homeless for a time before moving in with family in Champaign, Illinois, and then eventually up to Chicago.
“We had stories of people eating out of garbage cans, living in tents,” Sarah said. “And then we’re here in Illinois and life is normal. People are going out shopping and eating at restaurants, and it was really hard for us. … We can’t just go on like life is normal when so much of our community doesn’t have food.”
To help fix that problem, one of the first things the family did on arriving in Illinois was to set up a food drive to send aid back down to their home community.
“Even though things seemed so dark, good things can come,” Sarah said. “There’s always a chain reaction, and that brought us here. And we love our life here in Chicago. We love the music community. We love the vibe. We love the Chicago pride.”
The five siblings, who had been playing music together since they were little, brought that same spirit to their band three years ago when they formed The Footlight District. It also permeates the band’s second album, “Fairytales for the Dark Age,” a themed collection of songs with a narrative throughout.
Today, The Footlight District presents the music video for “The White Witch & The Black Magic Man,” a song from that January release.
“We wanted to inspire people that no matter what you’re going through, no matter the trials or the hardships you’re going through, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Sarah said.
Video by Loon Base Studios
Find out more about The Footlight District.
Also, watch The Footlight District talk about the new album with Michael Heidemann on WGN Radio’s Sound Sessions podcast.