WARREN, NJ -  The audience at the 2018 Winter Instrumental Concert on Thursday, Dec. 13, in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) bore witness to how four bands of student musicians comprised of some 130 student musicians explored an ambitious lineup of nearly 22 compositions. And heard that some 16 WHRHS student have been selected for Region II Band, Ensemble or Orchestra.

The students make up four distinct musical groups: The Symphonic Band, for Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, with 60 student musicians; the Concert Band for Freshmen, with 40 student musicians; the String Orchestra, with 36 student musicians; and the Wind Ensemble, with 43 student musicians. 

Toward the end of the concert, WHRHS Instrumental Music Teacher and Conductor Paul McCullen took the opportunity to introduce a new addition to the musical teaching staff this year, WHRHS Music Teacher Christopher Wyatt. He is the AssistantBand Director, the Assistant Choral Director, and the Music Tech Lab teacher. During the performance of the Concert Band, Wyatt conducted two of the compositions, while McCullenconducted the other three. When they weren’t conducting, Wyatt joined the student musicians in the Trumpet section, and McCullen joined the student musicians in the Tuba section.

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“Mr. Wyatt does a terrific job with the freshmen, and with the students in the Music Tech Lab.” McCullen said.

McCullen also acknowledged the presence of four other adults who played with the student musicians at the concert. One was WHRHS Choral Music Teacher Angela DiIorio Bird, who played Harpsichord on one number with the Orchestra. It was the multi-part, nuanced, and intricate piece, “Fall,” from “Four Seasons,” by Italian composer Antonia Vivaldi (1678-1741).Wyatt accompanied Bird, turning the multiple pages of sheet music. He also played keyboards with the student musicians during the concert for the 8th Graders from the sending districts at the annual concert for the Future Class of 2023. The performance on Friday morning, Dec. 21, lit up the PAC, and was the last major event in the PAC before the start of the Winter Vacation.

Likewise, McCullen thanked Vincent Sorenson, the Instrumental Music Teacher at Green Brook Public Schools, Joelle Varner, Instrumental Music Teacher at Long Hill Township Public Schools, and WHRHS Security Officer Bonnie Burgdorf, who all sat in with the WHRHS student musicians at various times during the Winter Instrumental Concert. For decades, Burgdorf has worked with the WHRHS Music Program, adding her talents on Trumpet. Among the many ways she contributed to the program was as the director of the “Brass in Black” student jazz musical ensemble. 

McCullen said he was first introduced to Burgdorf years ago. Then, when McCullen first came to work at WHRHS, Burgdorf was one of the staff who welcomed him. He said Burgdorf now is planning to retire. She received a warm round of applause from the Winter Instrumental Concert audience. Likewise, mention of the music teachers from Green Brook and Long Hill drew cheers from the audience, no doubt from their former students sitting in the audience, or from younger siblings of the WHRHS musicians, who are still in middle school. Many WHRHS musicians listen to the concert while sitting in the audience, either before, or after, their bands perform on stage.

McCullen was also effusive in thanking the parents in the audience for sharing their children, the student instrumental musicians of WHRHS.

“I want to thank you all for coming tonight, and for getting your kids to and from school every day, as well as to extra practices, sometimes before the school-day and after the school-day,”McCullen said. “Thank you for sending us such great kids to work with. It is a pleasure to work with these ensembles of students. I am really lucky to come to work every day and work with these student musicians.”

Region II Band, Ensemble and Orchestra

McCullen also announced that some 16 WHRHS student have been selected for Region II Band, Ensemble or Orchestra.

Region II, organized by the Central Jersey Music Educators Association, makes selections based on auditions that took place earlier in December. Region II covers schools of the following counties: Hunterdon, Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, and Union.

The students selected are: For Region II Symphonic Band, Cathleen Luo, Jeremy Cui, Daniel Zeng, Daniel Zhang, Ben Watkins, Shiv Goel, Cristina Sarrico and Andrew Muller. 

For Region II Wind Ensemble, the following WHRHS students are: Katie Tan, Alan Wang, James Narayanan, Matthew Schaefer, and Ryan Branco.

And, for Region II Orchestra, the WHRHS students are: Dave Ki and Tyler Wu.

The Winter Instrumental Concert Program

The composition selections for the Symphonic Band were:“March of the Trolls, from Lyric Suite, Op.54,” by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907); “Metamorphosis,” by contemporary American composer Andrew Boysen Jr., from the University of New Hampshire; “March to the Scaffold,” from “Symphonie Fantastique,” by French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869); “Partita for Band, I. Fanfare II. March III. The Blue IV. Rondo,” by contemporary New Jersey Shore Area composer Timothy Broege; and “Fum, Fum, Fum,” a Traditional Spanish Carol, which is a popular number in the holiday repertoire of the Manheim Steamroller Band.

The composition selections for the Orchestra were: “Troika,from Lt. Kije,” by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953); “Fall,” from “Four Seasons,” by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, with soloists student Violin I musicians, Catherine Cai and Dave Ki; and “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” which is a popular number in the holiday repertoire of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The composition selections for the Concert Band were: “Dance of the Tumblers,” by Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908); “The Red Balloon,” by Anne McGinty, a contemporary composer from Ohio; “Jeannette Isabella,” a traditional French carol; “A Cambridge Carol,” a traditional English carol; and “Carpathian Sketches,” by contemporary American composer Robert Jager.

The composition selections for the Wind Ensemble were: “Canzona” by Peter Mennin (1923-1983), who is an American composer and 20-year president of Julliard School of Music, New York City; “Liturgical Music for Band, Op.33 I Introit II Kyrie III. Gloria IV. Alleluluia” by American composer Martin Mailman (1932-2000); “Fanfare and Allegro,” by American composer Clifton Williams (1923-1976); “Second Suite in F, I. March II. Song Without Words, III. Song of the Blacksmith, and IV. Dargason,” by English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934); and two seasonal favorites from American composer Leroy Anderson (1908-1975), “A Christmas Festival,” which Anderson described as having been originally written as a concert overture, using a medley of some of the best known Christmas songs, carols and other Christmas music; and “Sleigh Ride,” complete with its signature concluding percussion element, the sound of the snap of a sleigh driver’s whip. Fittingly, that song and percussion element concluded the concert.

The Student Musicians

The Student Musicians in the Symphonic Band, seniors are: Flute, Priscilla Aguiar, Jasmine Aiello, Catherine Baker, Sarah Branco, Tina Chen, Erika Cheng, Susan Choy, DeekshitaGorrepati, Jenna Hansen, Roopa Irakam, Stephanie Ju, Abigail Kotar, Chelsea Kramer, Isha Nagpaul, Tien Nguyen, and Jacqueline Toscano; Oboe, Erica Hwang and Kaitlyn Roth; Clarinet, Katherine Buser, Max Dublirer, Daniel Han, Sarah Jardim, Nicoletta Koconis, Calvin Khiddee-Wu, TarunLoganathan, Mayur Sharma, and Justine Wang; Bass Clarinet, Achyuta Murli and Paul Zatorski; Bassoon, Ariana Gilligan; and Horn, Gavin Chiu and Leah Lavender;

And, Alto Sax, Seth Calindas, Conner Cheng, Aditya Loganathan, and Alexander Martino; Tenor Sax, Kyle Merrittsand Genevieve Rust; Baritone Sax, John Schmitt; Trumpet, Andrew Cuonzo, James Lavender, Lauren McAvoy, Elisabeth Russo, Kathryn Sellinger, Matthew Strona, Leo Yan, and Kevin Zu; Trombone, Thomas Barca, Ryan Brittan, Martina Lavender, and Nicole LoCascio; Euphonium, Emma Kotar and Surya Rai; Tuba, Jack Remington and Andrew Soliman; and Percussion, Alexander Azarian, Marc Bruno, Brennan Hector, Christopher Larsen, George Leunes, and  Michael Motta.

The Student Musicians in the Concert Band are: Flute, Nicole Brunskill, Christopher Chan, Alyssa Dang, Naomi Gallic, Olivia Kuang, Jovana Lekic, and Liana Liu; Clarinet, AdithiAdusumilli, Marcus Bryant, Alexandra Chiu, Jay Fu, ShrithikKarthik, Hannah Miller, Grace Moreland, Truman Pang, Pavrithra Ponnolu, Arjun Singh, and Helen Zheng;  

And, Alto Sax, Jake Oleske, Bryan Shangguan, RohitTirunahari, and Rahul Verma; Tenor Sax, Teagan Wittmaark; Bari Sax, Harrison Quinn; Percussion, Anthony Azevedo, Steven Brown, Raahil Gunaratne, and Jason Lynn; Trumpet, Zachary Cashman, Shiv Goel, and Samuel Jiang; Trombone, Christopher Baker, Joel Chon, Matthew Jimenez, and Dylan Singh; and Tuba, Zoe Correale, Alex Lopes, Meredith Marmolijas, and Stephen Scharf.

The Student Musicians in the Orchestra are: Violin I, Catherine Cai, Emma Golkin, Dave Ki, Jenny Li, Tony Liu, Ryan Long, Raphael Rivera, Jocelyn Wang, Tyler Wu, and Simon Zhang; Viola, Shealee Dunne, Stephanie Gade, Emma Selvin, AlyannaTam, Valerie Wang, and Nandini Yellamelli; and Bass, Anjali Blow and Michael Horzepa.

Also, Violin II, Grace Alto, Raleigh Brunner, Nolan Brunner, Harrison Lavelle, Dylan Le, Debra Li, Luis Rodrigues, Neha Venkatesh, Luke Viera, Taniya Vinodhkumar, and Brandon Wu; and Cello, Roshni Dave, Madeline Dietrich, Daria Monti, Spencer Shao, Ariana Stoddard, William Wu, Patrick Xin.

The Student Musicians in the Wind Ensemble are: Oboe, Jeremy Cui; Bassoon, Elizabeth Baker and Dania Elsheikh; Piccolo, Ishika Agrawal; Flute, Cathleen Luo, Deepa Irakam, Yvonne Tang, Jessica Yan, and Maylin Zhu; Clarinet, John Kolibachuk, Jeremy Shamai, Katie Tan, Alan Wang, June Yin, Daniel Zeng, and Daniel Zhang; and Bass Clarinet, Vijay Subramanian; 

Also, Alto Sax, Timothe Iroudayassamy; Brandon Tang, and Maya Zhang; Tenor Sax, T.J. Horvath; Baritone Sax, James Narayanan; Horn, Hannah Balla, Taylor Hestvik, Hannah Marszalek, and Benjamin Watkins; Trumpet, Ryan Branco, Elliot DeGuilo, Miah Manning, and Matthew Schaefer; Trombone, Omar Lateef, Cristina Sarrico, and Emily Thompson; Euphonium, Matthew Mandelbaum and Andrew Muller; Tuba, Benjamin DeGuilo; and Percussion, Shoili Banerjee, Eric Peterson, John Santucci, Maxwell Schwartz, Natalia Sosniak, Kobe Tam, and Alexander Tortoriello.




WHRHS PHOTOS Overhead From The Wings

The audience at the 2018 Winter Instrumental Concert on Thursday, Dec. 13, in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) bore witness to how four bands of student musicians comprised of some 130 student musicians had mastered an ambitious lineup of nearly 22 compositions. Above, the WHRHS Symphonic Band performs. The other bands include: The Concert Band, the Orchestra, and the Wind Ensemble.



Among the student musicians who played in the WHRHS Orchestra at the Winter Instrumental Concert are: Celloists, front row, Daria Monti, left, and Spencer Shao, right; second row, Ariana Stoddard, left, and William Wu, right; and third row, Roshni Dave, left, and Madeline Dietrich, right.


WHRHS PHOTOS Conductor and Soloist

Instrumental Music Director Paul McCullen, left, conducts the String Orchestra during “Fall,” by legendary Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, including the Soloists, student Violinist Catherine Cai, right. Fall, which has multiple movements, including the four the Orchestra played, is part of a larger piece that includes compositions for each of the four seasons. Previous WHRHS concerts have featured the other seasons, McCullensaid.



Student musicians in the Symphonic Band concentrate during the Winter Instrumental Concert, Dec. 13.



Tuba players in the Concert Band waiting to go on stage to perform their five-piece program at the Winter Instrumental Concert, include: From left Alex Lopes, Zoe Correale, MeredithMarmolejos, and Stephen Scharf.


WHRHS PHOTOS Trombone Quartet

Trombone players in the Concert Band include: From left,Christopher Baker, Joel Chon, Dylan Singh, and MatthewJimenez,



Saxophone players in the Concert Band include: From left, Bryan Shangguan, Jake Oleske, Rahul Verma, Rohit Tirunahari, Teagan Wittmaack, and Harrison Quinn.


WHRHS PHOTOS Wind Ensemble Five

Among the students in the Wind Ensemble waiting to go on stage to conclude the Winter Instrumental Concert are: From left,  Benjamin Watkins, Horn; Anthony Tortoriello, Percussion; Matthew Mandelbaum, Euphonium; Christina Sarrico, Trombone; and Hannah Balla, Horn. Watkins and Sarrico have been named to the NJ Region II Symphonic Band.

WHRHS PHOTOS View From The Drum Kit

A still photo from a hand held video camera catches a rarely seen perspective: Overlooking the shoulder of the drum kit drummer during a performance of the WHRHS Orchestra. The musicians have a clear view of the conductor.