(Newark, NJ) – During a special presentation at the Hall of Records in Newark, New Jersey, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the Weequahic High School Marching Band for winning the 2019 Orlando All-star Music Festival in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The Orlando All-star Music Festival is a national competition featuring high school bands from across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as bands from Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan and Guam.

The Weequahic High School Marching Band finished in first place in the Marching competition with an “Excellent” rating and first place in the Percussion competition with a “Superior” rating, making them the overall champions of the event. The Commendation honoring the band was co-sponsored by Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson and Freeholder At-Large Rufus Johnson.

The band is comprised of students from 4th grade through 12th grade, ranging in age from 10-18 years old. Because many of the feeder elementary schools to Weequahic High School do not have music programs, Coach Taylor allows the younger students in these elementary schools to participate and develop their love of music.

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Upon receiving the Commendation, Coach Taylor thanked the Freeholders, the crowd in attendance, and most of all expressed his appreciation to the members of the band. “Even though our equipment is inferior, our skills are not.” Coach Taylor stated. “We’re in an auditorium playing for hours every day. They sacrificed their time, their energy, and childhood fun to be better than the rest.” He continued, “Anything that we can do to help our children stay off the street, we need to come together to support, finance, and do whatever we can to give these kids the opportunity to be great.”

Also in attendance to honor the band were Freeholders Romaine Graham, Leonard Luciano, Robert Mercado, Carlos Pomares, Patricia Sebold, and Freeholder President Brendan Gill.