Arts & Entertainment

Press Releases

Jazz Festival Comes to Sparta High School


SPARTA, NJ —The music department of northern New Jersey’s Sparta High School is hosting its first Jazz Festival on May 3. It’s the most ambitious event in the history of the school’s music department, which has long been considered among the best in the state.

The Festival, which will take place in the modern, thousand-seat auditorium of Sparta High School, is a chance for the public to witness the remarkably high level of musicianship among area students—and an opportunity to enjoy a unique and exciting night of high-level live entertainment for less than the price of a movie ticket!

The Festival will find the township’s jazz bands hosting several regional groups, including the Sparta Township schools' Jazz Bands,  Pope John XXIII High School Jazz Band, as well as ensembles from Byram, Newton, Vernon, West Milford, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and from the Lenape Valley and North Warren regional high schools. Bands will receive awards that will recognize their achievement as a band as a whole, as well as individual sections, and soloists.

Sign Up for E-News

As is the tradition at jazz festivals, adjudicators have been drawn from the local professional music community, and these highly regarded musicians will rate each group’s performance and offer constructive advice to the students and their directors. Andy Lopez, director of jazz bands in the Sparta Township school district and the organizer of the Festival, has arranged for several esteemed New York–area performer/educators to participate:

  • Saxophonist Alex Foster of the Mingus Big Band, Saturday Night Live Orchestra
  • Trumpeter, composer, and producer Richard Boulger of the AllmanBrothers Band,
  • Randy Brecker and  
  • Former Sparta Jazz Band director Chris Arnold.

“With this jazz festival our goals are simple,” says Lopez. “We’re going to provide a top-notch educational experience for our performers by providing a state-of-the-art performance space, and by allowing our area band directors and their students to receive constructive feedback from some of the top jazz musicians and educators in the country.”

With enthusiasm for the first Sparta High School Jazz Festival reaching fever pitch among student musicians, parents, and the community at large, there’s already been talk about making it an annual event. For now, however, Lopez and his crew of organizers are focused on the success of this year’s show.

“Hosting a festival like this is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Deciding to finally make it happen was an easy choice when I considered what a supportive music family we have here in Sparta. Everyone is chipping in to make what we know will be a memorable night of music.”

The curtains open at 5 p.m. with awards ceremony set for 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door: $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, ages six and under are free.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ — Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday in a chain-reaction crash. 

Students were on board at the time, according to Police Chief Pedro Matos. One driver and two students had minor injuries, Matos said.   

According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...

What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

We Must Address The Unrealistic Affordable Housing Process Now

June 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank all the residents who attended and watched last Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting on over-development and legislative solutions with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and I. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to watch the meeting on SPTV or the Township’s Facebook page at ().

The meeting was a real eye-opener for many of our residents. It ...

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019 and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 23, 2018

June 21, 2018  – Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-19, with an increase in total program funding at 15% year over year.

Since its founding in 1997, Komen North Jersey has awarded nearly $19 million to local community programs in nine North Jersey ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

LifeWay’s 2018 Vacation Bible School at Terrill ...

Religions And Spirituality


Mon, July 9, 10:00 AM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Join the Summer Jewelry Making Club at the Scotch ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness Home & Garden


Mon, July 9, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Learn about Gourmet Salt at the Scotch Plains ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink