NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley High School alumni Maggie Redstone, Evan Harzer, and Anthony Meola, members of the NHS Jazz Lab, reunited with NHS parent Vincent Villaneuva and Scott Avidon for Taste of the World V hosted by Nutley Music Boosters Association on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The event held at the Nutley Parks and Recreation Building, 44 Park Ave., sold 250 tickets. People enjoyed food from 31 restaurants, two family donations, and deserts created by the Nutley High School culinary students, as well as beverages provided by Nutley Park ShopRite and Nutley Starbucks. All of the food and drinks were donated. Fifteen students from NHS volunteered to serve the food.

International food included BBQ pork belly with steamed Bao buns and slaw, Lumpia (egg rolls), banana fritters, chicken shawarma with hummus and rice pilaf, mi hoac hu tieu xao heo (noodles with pork), sausage and peppers, chicken parmigiana, and spanakopita.

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The former members of the Jazz Lab sat down with TAPinto Nutley while enjoying their meals to discuss what it was like playing together again. Redstone graduated in 2018, Harzer and Meola in 2019. This was not the first time the band reunited since Redstone graduated, they performed together at Taste of the World IV last year. Redstone, now on bass guitar, who formerly played cello in high school, said it feels natural to play together. Harzer said, “We haven’t had a chance to play in a long time. It’s good to come together.” Meola added, “It’s nice to re-experience everything from the outside, not part of the program anymore but [we] are at the same time.” The band hopes to continue reuniting at least at Taste of the World.

Officials in attendance included Nutley Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli, Commissioners Thomas J. Evans, Mauro G. Tucci and Alphonse Petracco; Superintendent of Schools Julie Glazer, Board of Education President Charles W. Kucinski and Vice President Lisa Danchak-Martin. Board members Daniel Carnicella, Frank A. DeMaio, Kenneth J. Reilly and Fredrick Scalera, NHS Band Director Vincent Vicchiariello and NHS Orchestra Director Ashley Rothkopf. Also present was Barbara Hirsh, former director of special education and community volunteer.

Nutley Music Boosters Association President Salvatore Scarpelli, event chair said, “We have been able to use these funds to assist with the purchase of new percussion equipment in the middle school, new marching band uniforms and raincoats […].”

Money raised will go towards the all-high school music department upcoming trip to Los Angeles, California reducing each student’s cost by S100. There will be 140 students attending the trip and taking part in the Disney Performing Arts Workshop.

Members of the Nutley Music Boosters Association executive board are Jennifer Farraioli, vice president; Teres Reaple-Bonilla, treasurer; Suzanne Harabedian, corresponding secretary; and Nadene Mackiewicz, recording secretary. Committee members include Michelle Holler, Jill Kuczek, Dawn and Mike Rabbia, Kim Redstone and Deb Sholander.

Scarpelli said the Taste of the World is such a huge success that the event gained national recognition by receiving the gold 2020 Music for All Advocacy in Action Award for Outstanding Fundraising Program and other schools are beginning to follow suit. This year’s Taste of the World raised $12,000. The money raised will go towards new percussion equipment and new uniforms. Overall Taste of the World has raised $60,000 for the Nutley Public Schools music program. Visit: MusicforAll.

Vicchiariello recapped in an interview the NHS Raider Marching Bands success and what’s in store next for them. “Over the fall we won the state championship, came in second in the nationals by .3, a little upsetting but the kids did quite well and we are proud of them,” he said.

In November the marching band received first place in Group IVA at the USBands New Jersey State Championships, with a score of 95.24 and second place in Group IVA at the USBands National Championships, with a score of 93.99. In 2019, the NHS Raider Marching Band received five first place finishes, one second place finish and 23 Caption Awards.

The marching band consists of 94 members under the direction of Vincent Vicchiariello; Julia Wehrer, assistant band director; and drum majors Zachary Mackiewicz and Alex Merritt. This June, 29 band members will be graduating.

“Last year the BOE purchased a new trailer for the marching band and Ralph Mitrano designed and lettered the trailer,” said Vicchiariello.

Vicchiariello said the percussion section is now up to date, however “we are always looking to improve,” he added.

For more information on the Nutley Music Boosters Association visit: nutleymusicboosters.org.

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