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.
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.