SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Spotswood High School Cafetorium was alive with the sounds of budding young musicians as the Appleby Elementary School's Visual and Performing Arts Department put on their annual Spring Band Concert on Monday, May 15. Under the direction of Appleby Band Director, Michael Bartlett, the school's Fourth and Fifth Grade Bands displayed the skills they have been working on all year long.

Students introduced each selection throughout the evening giving a brief explanation of the piece about to be played. The Fourth Grade Band kicked off the show with a foot-stomping performance of Michael Sweeney's "March of the Romans." These young musicians only began playing their instruments last fall. They performed two more numbers before the more seasoned Fifth Grade Band took the stage.

The rockin' evening of music concluded with the two bands merging to perform three lively numbers, "Liturgical Fanfare," "Power Rock" and "Ode to Louie." It took quite a bit of chair arranging by Appleby Band alumni, Megan McCook and Samantha Wasserman to accommodate the two bands on stage. In total, the two bands numbered 120 musicians. Both bands featured flutes, clarinets, trombones and trumpets as well as an assortment of percussion instruments. The Fifth Grade Band also had four alto saxophone players as well as a French horn.

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The Fifth Grade Band was the youngest band to perform at the CJAA Band and Orchestra Festival at Freehold High School on May 12. The annual spring event features elementary and middle school bands from the area.

"I truly enjoyed working with these fifth graders over the course of th past two years," Bartlett said at the conclusion of the concert.

The veteran band director went on to talk about how the fifth graders had received high praise at last week's band festival. He also encouraged the young musicians to continue their musical pursuits in the Memorial Middle School band program when they transition into the middle school in September.

Spotswood School District students can begin studying a musical instrument in fourth grade. The band program continues into fifth grade and on into both the middle and high schools. Christina Restine is the band director at the Memorial Middle School while Sarah Carino-Koza is at the helm of the award-winning music program at Spotswood High School.