Wind Ensemble Makes NVOT History

Student instrumentalists celebrated for record setting performance in state band festival.

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Photo credit: Amy Wilcox

The NVOT Wind Ensemble is advancing to the Evening State Concert Band Gala on May 1.

Football has the Super Bowl, baseball has the World Series, and soccer has the World Cup. For high school bands, it is the NJCBF. The NVOT Wind Ensemble brought home a gold rating, allowing them to move on in the most prestigious level of competition in all of New Jersey. 

The Wind Ensemble received the highest score among the 35 bands competing at the annual North Jersey Concert Band Festival on March 22, earning them a gold rating, which was one of only three awarded this year. The ensemble also earned awards for Outstanding Percussion section and Outstanding Woodwind section.

The Wind Ensemble will perform at the Evening State Concert Band Gala on May 1, along with 11 other top scoring bands from New Jersey. The gala is the highest possible level a band can perform on the state level. “It’s historic,” said band director Amy Wilcox.  “The only thing bigger would be to leave the state of NJ for a national festival.”

The Gala is not a competition, but a celebration of what we have achieved.”

The band performed two pieces at the festival, one being the 15-minutes long “Give Us This Day” by David Maslanka— the hardest and longest piece they have played to date. Many of the performers were intimidated by the piece at first, including sophomore Asia Francisco, who performed in person for the first time this year. At first, Francisco “hated the song because of how complex and difficult it seemed,” but as she continued to rehearse the song she said that she “began to feel comfortable playing it.”

The band was also presented with another challenge, as the coronavirus shrunk the already small and select group. Because of this, senior Nick Peterkin said that “we learned how to make our sound much larger than the size of our band.” He credits the win to the team dynamic and intuition. 

And because “the gold rating is not something obtained easily,” senior Elena Nunez said that receiving such a high score “is really reflective of how much everyone was dedicated to the performance.”

The band plans to enjoy their victory as they advance to the next level. Peterkin said that,“the Gala is not a competition,” but “a celebration of what we have achieved.”