Arts & Entertainment

Nutley Music Boosters event is food for the soul; Music for the ears

Nutley High School Jazz Lab under the direction of John Maiello, perform at Taste of the World II presented by the Nutley Music Boosters Association on Saturday, Jan. 21. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi/photographer
Lindsay Merritt, a seventh grader at John H. Walker Middle School, scoops some chicken souvlaki over spinach rice at the Music Booster's event. 21. Merritt plays the clarinet in the school's band. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi/photographer
Junior Sam Coulson samples some penne vodka at Taste of the World II. Couslon is a saxophonist at the high school. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi/photographer
Vincent Villaneuva and Scott Avidon open at Taste of the World II presented by the Nutley Music Boosters Association. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi/photographer

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Music Boosters held their second “Taste of the World” event Saturday evening at Good Shepherd Academy to help raise funds for the Nutley instrumental programs. Event co-chairs were Sal Scarpelli and Kim Redstone.

Another successful evening at a packed gymnasium with over 250 event tickets sold. The event did so well last year at the Nutley Elks Club that the organization had to seek a larger location. “Preliminary profit from [Taste of the World II] shows about $10,800,” Jill Kuczek music boosters treasurer told TAPinto.

Amongst those present for the evening included Mayor Joseph Scarpelli and Public Affairs Commissioner Steve Rogers as well as Board of Education members and music teachers. Family and friends also joined in support of the talented students.

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The evenings opening act was by Scott Avidon and Vincent Villaneuva. They kept the crowd pleased with upbeat tunes as the Nutley High School Jazz Lab prepared to take the stage.

Jazz Lab students charmed the crowd while residents enjoyed their multicultural dinner. Band members are Thomas Boniello, Ian Frobose and Zachary Sebek on saxophones; John O’Brien on trombone, bass guitarist Mike Bereski, percussionist Anthony Salimbene and pianist Stephanie Calluori. Vocalists Cecelia Mielnicki and Gabby were also a part of the evening. 

While the students performed, the tables were called one by one to the giant buffet of 35 different local restaurants offering a large array of food choices. Eateries from Nutley and surrounding towns including Bloomfield, Belleville, Clifton, Montclair, North Arlington and Rutherford helped make the night special with their trays of offerings.  

According to event Co-chair Kim Redstone, this is the association’s largest event they host. “It’s the biggest function of the year. We showcase the Jazz Lab, they are amazing. We have a great instrumental program. We are fortunate to have a town that has a great arts and music program and we have to support it,” she told TAPinto.

All food for the event was donated from those restaurants, including the soda, which was courtesy of Nutley Park ShopRite. “There is so much food. A lot of people were very generous,” said event co-chair Sal Scarpelli.

A new inclusion for this year’s event was a wine raffle donation. Over 100 people contributed in the raffle, making one lucky winner very happy to take it all home. Music Booster President Suzanne Harabedian guarded the liquid treasure. “I didn’t expect it, over 100 bottles will go to one person,” she said.

People were able to sample food from all over the world. Choices included pizza, penne vodka, sausage and peppers, chicken parmesan, balsamic sausage, Buffalo wings, burritos, tortilla chips and salsa, burgers, pretzels, chicken pad Thai, hummus and Bosphorus salad, spanakopita, pork fried rice, chicken masala and the list goes on. You name it, and it was probably on the buffet.

If that wasn’t enough the desserts were endless as well. Italian pastries from Aromi DiNapoli (Nutley) included sfogliatelli and cannoli, Jarets Stuffed Cupcake (Nutley) as well as Polkadot Cupcake Shop (Nutley), zeppoles courtesy of Gencarelli Brothers Pizzeria (Nutley), cookies from Gencarelli's Bakery (Bloomfield) and Portuguese custard cups were just some of the many items that could be found.

“It was a good opportunity a lot of energy. We do what we do best, perform,” said senior Zachery Sebek of the NHS Jazz Lab.

“It is pleasant to see how many people showed up,” added senior Ian Frobose, also in the NHS Jazz Lab.

Some of the Nutley establishments at Taste of the World were Ritacco Brother’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, Rocky’s, Thai Essence, The Bosphorus, Mamma Vittoria, Jim Dandy’s, Diamond Spring Pool Club and Restaurant, Houng Viet, New Man Hing, Nutley Diner, Old Canal Inn, Pancho’s Burrito’s, Petracco’s Deli and Philly Pretzel Factory.

Also present were Natraj Palace (Bloomfield), Gino’s Pizzeria (Belleville), Michael’s Roscommon House (Belleville)  and Moe’s Southwest Grill (Clifton) just to name a few of the very long list.

Contributions also came from Nutley Booster families such as Abernovich, Harabedian, Kuczek, Patel, Redstone, Somers and Villanueva.

Along one wall was also a long line of tables of Tricky Tray items also donated for the event. People could receive items such as tickets to the CMA Awards show, Wheel of Fortune, a Broadway show, sports memorabilia, a guitar and gifts cards.

The evening was concluded with a musical performance by Tony Salimbene, Mike Bereski and Ray Calluori.

The next event will be Café Night on Saturday, March 25. is an online newspaper serving the Township of Nutley. is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is the only locally owned news organization serving the community. Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TAPintoNutley  Got a news tip? email us at 

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