NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - After being ranked the number one high school in the state and winning the ShopRite Cup for the second year in a row, New Providence High School continues to excel as the marching band won the state championship on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Marching Band Director Michael Niedziejko, who has been at the school for 19 years, said he was impressed with his students’ performance. In almost two decades in New Providence, Niedziejko said the efforts and talents of the students, the school and community have really helped them over the years.
“I simply am lucky to have such a great place to work and I reap the rewards of having amazing people to work for and with,” he said.
Niedziejko grew up surrounded by music and engineering and fell in love with them both at a young age. His mother, grandfather and brother played instruments, while his father was an engineer.
At Delaware University he majored in engineering. His advisor that music was useless to study, but he transferred to Westchester University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a degree in music education and was involved in numerous activities including the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corp, which performed around the country and was extremely competitive.
“That particular experience I think molded me into the educator that I am today,” he said.
As only the third band director in school history, Niedziejko walked into a very highly respected and successful program. The district values music and the arts, which makes things much easier, he said. Furthermore, the music boosters and the Pioneer Band Wagon support them as well.
His favorite part of being the band director is the students. He said while he has four children of his own, he considers all of his students to be part of his family. Over the last 11 years, they have placed first at the state championship eight times and five times at the regionals. However, he said working hard and maximizing their effort is more important than trophies and awards.
"It's not something that I value,” he said. “It’s more about the journey together.”