SOMERVILLE, NJ The Van Derveer School Fifth-grade band had a final tune-up Friday morning with a special assembly for their classmates, performing 11 songs that they’ll play again Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark during the second period intermission of the New Jersey Devils hockey game against the visiting Arizona Coyotes.
In hockey parlance, the concert will be a “hat trick” for the young musicians – it’s their third time performing at Prudential Center.
The band members, accompanied by teachers, family and friends first made the trek north on the New Jersey Turnpike in 2017.
As in past years, they will take in the game and be recognized by the Devils, according to Christine Wojowoda, the Van Derveer School band director.
The 42-member band will perform songs from their method book, “Tradition of Excellence” and sheet music.
The play list includes: “Mahnomen Harvest.” “Defender of Time,” “Rain, Rain,” “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie,” “Itsy Bistsy Spider,” “ London Bridge,” “The Frog’s Song,” “Processional Dance,” “Power Rock,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Let’s Go ‘Ville.”
The band will be dressed in identical black t-shirts with gold VDM letters, which they performed in for the first time at Friday’s dress rehearsal.
The students had to raise money to pay for their trip to the Prudential Center, raising over $3,000 to pay for tickets and the bus. Several students raised enough money to pay for the tickets of family members, according to Wojewoda.
The 16,000-seat Prudential Center hosts over 200 live events annually, from rock and Gospel concerts to college basketball and professional hockey games.
The Devils also offer community groups – karate clubs, dance groups and school groups - the opportunity to perform throughout the NHL season.
Wojewoda, who describes herself as a “huge” Devils fan, attends games frequently and was immediately hooked on the idea of her young musicians performing at a big-time venue when she first heard of the Devils’ Group Experience opportunity.
“It really hit me, I really need to do something like this with my fifth-grade band,” she said.