Music Department Receives Various Awards
October was a month to remember for the Ramsey Music Department, as a numbers of individual students and ensembles have been recognized with various honors. The month began with auditions for the Music Educators of Bergen County’s middle school band and chorus. This was a banner year for our students as 18 middle school students earned 20 total spots in the 2016 All-County Middle School Band and Chorus. Two students, Abigail Lim and Ankit Verghese, earned selection to both the band and chorus. In addition, 4 band students - Matt Kutam (oboe), Tejan Poage (tenor sax), Olivia Tokish (trombone), Emily Peters (percussion) - and one chorus student - Allison Los (soprano) - earned the highest scores for their instrument/voice part! The other students accepted include for the band: Matthew Hyland, Emily Lee, Jordan Paik, Charlie Simpson, Bernard Sweetman - and for chorus: Zachary DiGirolamo, Bailey Felderman, Briana Howard, Madeline Keane, Sarah Patunas, Enoca Shin. We believe that the nine choral students accepted is an all-time high for Ramsey, and the eleven band students accepted is more than any other school in the county. The students are under the direction of choral teacher Mr. Paul Ricigliano and Blue Band director Mr. Michael Stephenson.
As if this wasn’t enough excitement at Smith School, Gold Band director Mrs. Jenna Hanratty has begun rehearsals for the brand new Advanced Gold Band. Born out of increasing interest from her students and a desire to give students an opportunity for increased musical enrichment, this group of 33 interested students will rehearse after school one day per week on additional repertoire. The Advanced Gold Band joins the already established Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Select Chorus as yet another opportunity for extra-curricular music at Smith School.
At Ramsey High School, both the RHS Chorus and Big Blue Marching Band have had banner months as well. On Tuesday, October 25th, the Ramsey High School Chorus, under the direction of Mrs. Rebecca Saltzman, was one of four local high schools selected to perform at Carnegie Hall as the opening act for the legendary band Foreigner. The ensembles from each participating school sang one selection to open the concert, and then all four groups combined to back-up the group during their performance of I Want to Know What Love Is. Our students performed wonderfully and represented the community in outstanding fashion. The Record also ran a feature article previewing the event. In addition, later that week three RHS Chorus students, Jeffrey Castellano, Ashwin Verghese, and Joshua Fergang, auditioned for and gained acceptance into the 2017 Bergen County High School Chorus.
And finally, the 141-member Big Blue Marching Band, under the direction of Mr. Clifford Bialkin, completed yet another outstanding season. After winning the TOB Chapter 10 Group 4 Open Championship at West Essex HS on October 24th, the band travelled to Hershey, PA for the 2016 Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships. This is the 12th straight year that the band has qualified for this prestigious competition, and they performed in outstanding fashion, finishing in 5th place in their group among bands from across the Eastern Seaboard. In addition, the Marching Band has been invited by Senator Cory Booker to represent New Jersey in the 2017 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C. Yet another honor for our outstanding music program.