SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Spotswood High School Music Department held their annual banquet on Thursday, May 18 to honor the musical contributions of students participating in the school's diverse music program . Spotswood High School Band Director Sarah Carino-Koza served as emcee for the evening as Chargers were awarded for their numerous musical contributions throughout the school year. Students have several options within the music program that include Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Pep Band and Percussion Ensemble. Percussion Ensemble is a new addition to the award-winning music program this year. Students must audition to be a part of the Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Band. Musicians involved in the Pep and Jazz Band practice in the evenings after school with many students coming to rehearsal from athletic practices, games and play rehearsals. The Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band all received top honors at the Cleveland Festivals of Music with the Wind Ensemble being voted best band.
"You guys are my dream team," Carino-Koza said of her students. "You work diligently and care about our shared mission of bringing the gift of music into the lives of your audiences. You give of yourself in rehearsal every day. Thank you for pushing to do better than you were yesterday; ever aiming toward an even more successful tomorrow."
Carino-Koza also had encouraging words for the soon-to-be graduating seniors. The veteran band director talked about how the large group of seniors left their mark on the music program, "setting the bar high" for the underclassmen. She also had inspirational words as the group moves on to the next chapter in their lives. Many of the teens will be pursuing their music at the collegiate level.
Before the evening concluded, the departing seniors had heartfelt words for their musical director as well. Many of the students spoke about how Carino-Koza had influenced their musical tastes all while developing and nurturing their musical talents. Perhaps the most poignant moment came when percussionist Brianna Acevedo thanked Carino-Koza for never closing doors to her as others had in her life. The pair shared a hug before other students took a moment to express their gratitude to Carino-Koza for the positive impact the teacher/musician had instilled upon them during their time at Spotswood High School.
The following students were honored with individual awards:
Most Promising Freshman
Most Promising Sophomore
Most Promising Junior
Most Promising Senior
Freshman Unsung Hero
Sophomore Unsung Hero
Junior Unsung Hero
Senior Unsung Hero
Most Improved Freshman
Most Improved Sophomore
Most Improved Junior
Most Improved Senior
Pep Band Achievement Award
Excellence in Jazz Award
Students also received certificates for their participation in each of the following bands. First year Pep Band members received a varsity letter while second, third and fourth year Pep Band musicians received a pin.
The following Spotswood High School students received certificates of achievement for their participation in Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz and Pep Bands. Several students perform in two or more bands throughout the school year.
Anthony Bonacci, Matt Chludzinski, Kaitlyn Ciak, Ron Contard, Kevin Ehresman, Andrew Faulkenberry, Stephen Gardner, Melanie Miller, Ryan Miller, Jeanne Parrilla, Dan Pinnella, Michale Pinella, Aaron Roy, Devin Ryan, Justin Thompson, Solomon Tyson. Krist VanEageninge, Sean Wesen and Dylan Whitfield.
Pep Band: Kaitlyn Ciak, Michael Ciacco, Jenna Citro, Ami Coraggio, Sheliza Dollete, Emily Collins Ron Contard, Jeremy Lalicon, Megan McCook, Emily Michaels, Melanie Miller, Ryan Miller, Devin Ryan, Owen Sullivan, Sam Swiderski, Solomon Tyson, Krista VanWageninge, Matt Chludzinski, Dan Pinnella, Sean Wesen, Adi Zacks, Brianna Acevedo, Anthony Bonacci, Andrew Buiko, Kevin Ehresman, Andrew Faulkenberry, Mike Pinnella and Katie Rivera
The Pep Band will be a featured participant in Spotswood's annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 29.