NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Two West Essex sophomores, Gabriel Ruszala and Grant King, have successfully auditioned for prestigious spots in the New Jersey All-State Jazz Band and the 2019 All State Mixed Chorus, respectively.

Ruszala has earned his seat as the first chair trombone player in the New Jersey All-State Jazz Band. Each year, only three tenor trombones are selected from the many high school musicians who audition. The sophomore will be performing with other top high school musicians under the direction of long-time Count Basie Big Band drummer Dennis Mackrel on Nov. 15 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.

King will be performing during the Teacher's Convention in Atlantic City on Nov. 8 and at NJPAC on Nov. 17 as a Tenor 2 for the 2019 All-State Mixed Chorus. 

In January, Grant represented West Essex High School at the state level when he sang in the Region 1 High School Choir. He is currently an Honors member of the Concert Choir, a tenor in the men's a cappella choir "No Girls Aloud" and was also played the lead role of Danny Zuko in this year's spring musical "Grease."