Other NJ News

50 years After RFK Assassination, the NBHS Band’s Moment is Remembered

a7631b9ace78af9c7f6d_IMG_1553.JPG
From left, Nick Santoro, Kathy Krauss-Galtere, Barbara Krauss-Santoro and Russell Marchetta, from the 1968 NBHS band that played as the train carrying the slain Robert Kennedy came through the city Credits: Tom Haydon
6058695f423271485ef4_IMG_1551.JPG
Nick Santoro speaking to the New Brunswick city council about the 1968 high school band that played at the train station 50 years ago for the passing of the slain Robert F. Kennedy. Credits: Tom Haydon
a7631b9ace78af9c7f6d_IMG_1553.JPG

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a warm June day in 1968, 40 members of the New Brunswick High School band stood on the city train platform playing solemn hymns.

It was supposed to be a one-hour performance as they waited the train traveling from New York to Washington, carrying the body of a slain presidential candidate, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

But one-hour dragged into two, and then three, as the train was delayed, and all the major television stations continued to film the band for news reports seen across the country.

Sign Up for E-News

“We didn’t realize the impact we were going to have,” Nick Santoro, one of the band members, told the New Brunswick City Council on Wednesday night.

“We received letters from every state in the union. We received money from a shoe salesman in California who bought shoes for everybody in the band,” Santoro said.

As the country this week marked the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, the New Brunswick city council recognized Santoro and three other band members who performed at the train station on June 8, 1968, three days after the shooting.

Council President Glenn Fleming explained that the band was expected to play for one hour, but the train carrying Kennedy’s body from New York to Washington D.C. was delayed because of an accident in Linden.

“It was hot. There was no air (blowing) at the train station. There was no water,” recalled Russell Marchetta, who played trumpet in the band on that day. Many years later, Marchetta became an assistant city administrator for New Brunswick. He retired earlier this year.

Santoro’s wife, Barbara Krauss-Santoro, and Barbara’s sister, Kathy Krass-Galtere, were also in the band and appeared at the council meeting. The two women were the daughters of then high school band director George Krauss.

The entire band performance was organized in one day, the band members said. On June 7, one day before the train was coming through the city, a veterans group approached the high school about having the band play at the station.

The school music department rounded up band members. Krauss passed out U.S. Army hymnals, the former high school musicians recalled.

 “We just played unrehearsed,” Nick Santoro recalled.

When the band director learned the train was delayed in Linden, he called for the student musicians to take a well-deserved break. But television reporters - who were standing on the opposite train platform - asked Krauss to have the band keep playing while the cameras rolled.

“We were playing 55 minutes then taking a five-minute break,” Santoro recalled.

When the train finally arrived, it rolled slowly past the station. Barbara Krauss, who played alto saxophone, recalled that news camera footage recorded her father playing “Taps” as the rail cars left the station.

It was a version of "Taps" that she will never forget.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montclair

Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

NJ Native and Children Shot in Colorado Road Rage Incident: Child Dies

June 22, 2018

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO: A native of Colts Neck, NJ and her children were attacked in a road rage shooting that left her 13 year old son dead and both her and another child injured. A third child was able to run to safety.

Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first degree murder, extreme indifference; three counts of attempted first-degree murder; three counts of first-degree assault ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Softball Camp

Education Health & Wellness Sports

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Summer Nature Day Camps at Scherman ...

Education Green

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Softball Camp

Montclair Police Blotter: Thai Chef Burglarized, Four iPhones Stolen and More

June 13, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -  The following police blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on June 12, 2018:

Burglary/Theft:

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Burglary to an apartment.  Cash was taken in this incident.  Access was gained through an unlocked rear door.  

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Theft of a scooter from the rear yard of a residence.

06-05-2018 (Elm ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Montclair July 4th Celebrations to Honor Township's Sesquicentennial

June 22, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair is celebrating July 4th with a special 150th anniversary themed parade and fun-packed family picnic – expanded to mark the Township's sesquicentennial in style. The day’s events will be followed by evening fireworks at Yogi Berra Stadium on the Montclair State University campus. The parade and picnic are free, admission to the stadium will be $3 ...