MORRIS COUNTY — The Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) named several students from around Morris County as its November music students of the month and “Outstanding Brass Instrumentalists” prior to the Thursday, November 10 performance by Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the theater’s Education Department based on their commitment to excellence in the performing arts. The students were honored prior to the performance on stage and had an opportunity to meet with members of the band prior to the performance.
The 2022-2023 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.
The students of the month are:
• Senior Andrew Lin of Whippany Park High School in Hanover Township
• Seventh grader Jordan Hicinbothem of John Hill School in Boonton
• Senior Rebecca Hirschfeld of Mountain Lakes High school in Mountain Lakes
• Senior Maeve Celli of Parsippany High School in Parsippany
• Seventh grader Kensley Lovius of Brooklawn Middle School in Parsippany
• Eighth grader Katherine Trabachino of Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morris Township
• Senior Nicholas Andrade of Roxbury High School in Roxbury
• Seventh grader Griffin Branch of Mendham Township Middle School in Mendham Township
• Eighth grader Anthony Murray of Mount Olive Middle School in Mount Olive
• Eighth grader Jacob Spiegel of Mountain View Middle School in Mendham Township
• Chris Balo of Kinnelon High School in Kinnelon
• Bridget Harty of Pearl R. Miller Middle School in Kinnelon.
Trabachino was nominated by Frelinghuysen Middle School teacher Timothy Beadle, who said she is an outstanding trumpeter who will also play the baritone when needed.
“In addition to playing in band classes, Kate is an important member of the Falcon Big Band and Wind Symphony, both of which meet after school on different days,” Beadle said. “In every group, Kate is the first to know her music and also the first to help the other students. She’s not just a trumpet player; she’s a leader.”
Lin is a trombone player and a member of Whippany Park High School’s (WPHS) band program. He serves as the brass captain for WPHS’ marching band, has successfully auditioned for honors groups, and has been a featured soloist in WHPS’ school ensembles consisting of marching band, jazz band, and concert band.
“Andrew has demonstrated a work ethic that I use as an example to motivate his peers and younger members of our band program,” said WPHS teacher Peter Sciaino who nominated Lin.
“While he displayed a rather high musical aptitude as a young student, he was also regularly working on fundamental skills needed to play at a high level. Now he is an inspiring performer who continues to improve with every rehearsal. In addition to his participation in our instrumental program, Andrew was a standout in my AP Music Theory class. While Andrew is gifted with perfect pitch, his natural abilities did not define his aptitude in the course as much as his work ethic did.
Andrade has been the principal trombone of Roxbury High School’s (RHS) top instrumental ensemble, the RHS Honors Wind Symphony, since his sophomore year and is also a student leader in the marching band, according to RHS teacher Jeffrey Conrad who nominated him.
Andrade has also been active in the Region I and New Jersey All-State Band and Orchestra programs and is a principal trombone of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, Conrad said.
“Nicholas is not only a great young musician, but he is more importantly a wonderful young man: Kind, caring, and supportive,” Conrad said. “He is valued and respected by teachers and peers alike. He leads by example and is always open to constructive criticism. Simply put, Nicholas is a valued member of our program and his presence elevates all those around him.”
Griffin Branch was nominated by teachers Russell Branch and Michael MaHadeen who said Griffin Branch is a true low brass musician playing tuba, euphonium and brass trombone interchangeably and at an advanced level for his age.
Griffin Branch plays tuba in the concert band, bass trombone in the jazz band, and euphonium as a secondary instrument. He attended Blue Lake Fine Arts these past two summers on a merit scholarship. He was accepted into Elementary Honors Band last year as a sixth grader and will be auditioning on both tuba and euphonium for Area Band and Junior High Regions this year as a seventh grader.
He comes from a musical family where he recently performed at his aunt Jaimie Branch’s memorial at the Pioneer Works venue in Red Hook Brooklyn alongside professional jazz musicians Lester St. Louis, Jason Ajemian and Jason Nazarry this past September.
He has performed the solo “Maid of the Mist” by Herbert Clark on tuba in recital during the spring of his sixth-grade year as well at a low brass masterclass for the tuba professor Stephanie Ycaza of the University of Northern Iowa this past summer at Blue Lake. In addition to low brass, Griffin has been studying piano since age four.
Hicinbothem was nominated by his teacher Yvonne Manca who said she has been an instrumental part of the music program at John Hill School. She has been playing the trumpet since fourth grade and has been playing the first trumpet part for the past two years because she has tremendous range and agility, Manca said.
Hicinbothem performs as first chair and the lead trumpet player for her school.
“She never misses a practice and always enters the room with a smile on her face and eager to learn the music,” Manca said. “It is for these reasons that I nominate Jordan for Outstanding Brass Player.
Hirschfeld was nominated by Mountain Lakes High School (MLHS) teacher Meredith Boyan who said she has dedicated so much of her time to improving her individual musicianship through private study and practice.
Hirschfeld performs with the Juilliard Pre-College program and brings her expertise back to school to share with our ensemble, Boyan said.
“She provides our Wind Ensemble with an excellent bass foundation, and she makes the hard passages look easy,” Boyan said. “She is a dependable and important member of the band, both personally and musically, and we at MLHS are lucky to have her participating in our ensembles.”
Murray was nominated by Mount Olive Middle School (MOMS) teacher Melany McQueeny who said he plays trombone in the eighth-grade band and both of MOMS’ after-school groups, the Junior Winds, and Jazz Band.
Murray has also participated in the North Jersey Area Band, McQueeny said.
“He is an incredibly dedicated music student and is always prepared,” McQueeny said.
“Anthony is also always helping members of his section as well. He is a leader within his section, the band, and the entire school community. Anthony is a stellar student. He is always looking at ways to improve himself as a musician and asks some really great questions. You can honestly see the wheels turning in his brain any time a recommendation is given to him. Anthony has truly embodied what it means to be an outstanding brass player, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Spiegel was nominated by Mountain View Middle School teacher Bradley McMurray who said he is an outstanding musician and student who has been taking private lessons for four years.
Spiegel made the North Jersey Region Symphonic Band as a seventh grader last year, McMurray said.
“Jacob is constantly showing me the repertoire he is working on in his lessons and is always interested in performing a solo for the class or at a concert,” McMurray said. “Jacob also plays the National Anthem at all the pep rallies and is very excited to start marching band in high school.”