NUTLEY, NJ — Students and faculty within the high school’s music department are always preparing for their next concert, fundraiser or competition. These days, the annual Café Night is what’s topping their agenda.
Café Night, on March 23, is the second of two annual fundraisers run by the Nutley Music Booster Association – the first being Taste of the World – and it showcases musicians from each school in the district.
Director of Bands Vincent Vicchiariello described the event as a mini-concert which has a variety of solos, duets and small ensembles while attendees are served coffee, tea and desserts by high school volunteers.
The event is split into two seating times, each of which has its own lineup of instrumental concerts that highlight the talent within the district.
“Café Night is geared toward smaller ensembles and chamber ensembles,” Vicchiariello said in a phone interview on Feb. 20. “It’s one of our major events and everyone puts a lot of work into it.”
Similar to the Taste of the World event, there will be a 50/50 raffle and a tricky tray. The instrumental department’s Spring Concert, which showcases the high school’s talented musicians, will be on May 16 this year and the musicians have begun preparing themselves for that performance. The concert features the high school’s concert band, wind ensemble, jazz lab and orchestra.
Another highlight on the upcoming calendar for spring is the band’s trip to Williamsburg, Va., in April. The band will be competing in festivals in Virginia and visiting Busch Gardens. This trip involves all high school band, orchestra and choir students.
Vicchiariello, who was appointed director July of last year, has been working on instilling a family culture and sense of ownership within the programs.
“It’s not my program, it’s our program or their program,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with my students to make sure that it’s all of our program.”
Prior to being named director,
Vicchiariello served as assistant director for six years under former director, John Maiello. He is also a graduate of Nutley High School and a former drum major of the marching band.
This past season, the Nutley Raider Marching Band took home a third-place trophy from USBands National Championships. Their performance earned them a score of 95.700.
“We’ve tried to make it a point, especially during our marching band season, to really make a family dynamic within our program,” Vicchiariello said. “I feel that our past season was so successful because we worked as one unit and as a family.”
They also received the Caption Award for best percussion section and finished off the season with an undefeated percussion section.
“Transitioning from assistant director to director has just been great, mainly because of my amazing students,” Vicchiariello said. “They’ve all been there for me just as much as I’ve been there for them.”
He also added that being a part of the marching band while he was in high school gives him another level of understanding.
“I’ve been through it and worked very closely with Mr. Maiello so I know what’s expected and what to expect,” Vicchiariello said.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the correct date of Cafe Night.