Wayne, NJ – This week’s Wayne Board of Education (BOE) meeting was the last before the holiday break and as has been done every year at this time, a group of Wayne music students performed before the BOE and School District Administration. This year it was the Wayne Valley High School Chamber Choir that sang three holiday songs.

Lisa Russoniello is the vocal music teacher at Wayne Valley High School and at Anthony Wayne Middle School. “It’s been a while since we’ve been chosen to sing here,” she said. “I think it’s been four years, so I brought my best students to let them show off.”

Before the business of the BOE began, Superintendent Dr. Mark Toback introduced the group, who strode together along the outer wall of the council chamber and filed into place in front of the members of the Board of Education.  Russoniello directed the group through three songs starting with the Carol of the Bells, which was sung in multiple harmony and beautifully done. 

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After the first song, Russoniello addressed the council chambers saying: “We do a lot of varied songs throughout the year and during the holiday season we try to touch on every subject possible.  Since Chanukah doesn’t start till next week, I went with something a little more generic called: Bashana Haba'ah.” Russoniello sat down at the keyboard and led the choir in a slow, melancholy version of the song.  

The last song in their performance was Light a Candle and it was dedicated to Anthony Wayne Middle School Principal David Aulenbach’s family. “Our concert at Anthony Wayne was the day after Henry [Aulenbach] passed,” said Russoniello. “So, we used it as a teaching moment and we talked about what a musician’s role is in the world and how we not only have to spread joy, but we have to be there to try to give some sort of hope, some sort of peace and some sort of solace where there isn’t any.”

After their performance, the chamber erupted in cheers and applause in appreciation of the talent, preparation and dedication of the choir and its leader. 

The performers were:

  • Emily Barbera
  • Rhiannon Bush
  • Gerald Cetrulo
  • Samantha Dentinger
  • Gianna DiTucci
  • Allison Gerardi
  • Louis Messercola
  • Natalia Ortega
  • Samantha Pricken
  • Cristina Reitmeyer
  • Liam Rogan
  • Arnelda Selmani
  • Sabrina Shah
  • Deanna Thomas
  • Jacqueline Tkaczenko
  • Jason Tobias
  • Bianca Vargas
  • Ariana Velardi
  • Katrina Walles