West Essex Middle School Students Receive Music Awards

Outstanding soloist winner Max Knopping of North Caldwell (left), Lauren Camaratta of Fairfield, Kevin Nadel of Fairifeld, Brianna Shields of North Caldwell, Lauren Moskal of Fairfield, Oliver Shaw of Essex Fells, Meera Ramarkrishnan of North Caldwell, Michael Sessa of Roseland and Music Teacher and Middle School Band Director Eric Fitzke. Credits: Allison Freeman
WEMS Band Director Eric Fitzke, right, congratulates Ryder Morello, an eighth grader from North Caldwell, for being named outstanding soloist for the MS Jazz Ensemble at the West Milford HS Jazz Ensemble Festival. Credits: Allison Freeman
WEMS Orchestra members Spencer Cowen and Zach LiVecchi, both of North Caldwell, with trophies. Credits: Allison Freeman
Left to right, WEMS Jazz Choir members, eighth grader Brianna Convertino of Fairfield , seventh graders Thomas Cassera of North Caldwell  and Madelin Morales of Fairfield, and WEMS Chorus members eighth graders Holly Ruvo and Olivia Solomon and seventh grader Jayden Coldon, all of North Caldwell, stand with middle school Choral Director Donna Mateyka. Credits: Allison Freeman

UPDATE - NORTH CALDWELL, N.J. - The West Essex Regional Middle School band and chorus turned in one of the most successful competition seasons in the history of the program. 

After taking home several "Superior" ratings and first place trophies at the Music Showcase Festival hosted by Dorney Park, band director Rick Fitzke Grey had more exciting news: the concert band was the best to play at Dorney Park all year.

Roughly 40-50 groups attend the five weekend competitions and the West Essex Middle School concert band was awarded the Music Showcase Festivals Grand Sweepstakes Award Winner for best instrumental group. 

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Several West Essex Regional Middle School music groups and students received awards at the showcase. These include the MS Jazz Ensemble, which received a superior rating of 97.3, best rhythmic section, outstanding soloist for Max Knopping and outstanding musician for Oliver Shaw.

The middle school concert band won the Grand Champion Award for best overall musical group, a 96.5 score and first place for best low brass section.

Also at Dorney, the middle school Jazz Choir received a first place superior rating, while outstanding soloist awards were given to Thomas Cassera and Madelin Morales. The middle school chorus received a "superior" first place award and an outstanding soloist awards for Jayden Coldon.

The MS Orchestra placed second with a superior rating and the award for outstanding cello section.

Additionally, Ryder Morello was named outstanding soloist for the MS Jazz Ensemble at the West Milford HS Jazz Ensemble Festival.

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