John P. Stevens High School has an instrumental music program truly devoted to providing a variety of opportunities to its young musicians. The 225-member band program boasts a diverse assortment of musical groups. Some are audition-based, such as the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Lab Jazz Band. Other ensembles, including the Group VI Marching Band (175 member), welcome participation by interest. All of the groups in the John P. Stevens Band Program open endless opportunities for students to truly involve themselves in the world around them.
Whether it’s serving the community at local tree-lightings, township festivals, parades, or competing at local and statewide jazz band, marching band, and concert band festivals, these young musicians work diligently to continually bring their musical involvement to higher levels.
In addition to participation in the various ensembles in the program, individual students are encouraged to challenge themselves by auditioning for region and statewide ensembles. The John P. Stevens Band Program is proud to announce that 36 students were selected through audition in December to the Central Jersey Region Band; 4 of those students were selected on a second instrument! More recently, 22 of our students were selected through audition to the All-State Band; 3 of those students were selected on a second instrument! These selections represent the largest number from any one school in New Jersey!
Ever committed to a well-rounded music education, the John P. Stevens High School Band Program seeks to maintain its tradition of excellence in music.
JOHN P. STEVENS HIGH SCHOOL BAND PROGRAM’S ACHIEVEMENTS FOR 2017-2018
** The JPS Band Program received the “Support Music Merit Award” (SMMA) from the NAMM Foundation for its commitment to music education for the second straight year.
** Nationally recognized High School Wind Ensemble, directed by Andrew DeNicola, was selected to perform at the Mid-Atlantic Honors Wind Band Festival held at Rutgers University. They were also selected to perform at the Closing Concert of the 20th Annual State Gala Concert, held at Kean University on Sunday, April 29. The Wind Ensemble was chosen to perform at this event based on their superior performance at the recent CJMEA Concert Band Festival this past March.
** The 185-member Marching Hawks placed 1st at USBands New Jersey State Championships in Group VI Open and received the highest score overall and winning caption awards for Best Music and Best Visual. The Marching Hawks placed 1st overall in the USBands New Jersey Regional Championship Preliminaries winning caption awards for Best Music, Best Visual, and Best Overall Effect. In the evening, the Marching Hawks finished 3rd place overall (Finals), winning caption awards for Best Music and Best Color Guard. The Marching Hawks placed 3rd at USBands National Championships at MetLife Stadium.
** 36 band members were accepted through audition to the Central Jersey Region Bands; 4 members were selected on a second instrument! The following students placed 1st overall: Stephen Juan--English Horn; Sohil Shah--Bassoon; Hannah Seo--Bass Clarinet; Chris Shen--Percussion; Abhishek Taruvai---Tenor Saxophone; Brian Jiang---trumpet; Robert Zhu---Euphonium
** 22 band members were accepted through audition to the New Jersey All-State Band; 3 members were selected on a second instrument! The following students placed 1st overall: Xavier Lee--clarinet; Shivam Yadav--bass clarinet; Abhishek Taruvai--tenor saxophone; Brian Jiang--trumpet
** 8 band members were accepted to perform at the NAfME All-Eastern Division Band Conference (comprised of 13 states along the East Coast) in April of 2017. The JPS Wind Ensemble was also accepted to perform during this prominent conference which occurs once every two years.
** Largest number of students accepted into Region, All-State, & All-Eastern Band from any one school.
** Varun Das, senior drummer, was accepted through audition to the Grammy Jazz Band. While touring for one week with the best high school jazz musicians in America, Varun performed at famous New York City jazz venues, recorded an album, and played at the Grammy after-party.
** The 2018 Jazz Ensemble was selected to perform at Trumpets, a jazz club in Montclair, New Jersey. They played. as the opening band for the “One More Once Big Band”. The featured soloist with both bands for the evening was the world-renowned jazz trumpeter, Ingrid Jensen.
** On Saturday evening, April 28, John P. Stevens High School hosted the NJAJE State Jazz Finals, Division 1, where 9 of the top-ranked jazz bands performed. The John P. Stevens Jazz Ensemble, directed by Andrew DeNicola, placed 1st overall, winning outstanding trombone section, trumpet section, and “Best Sight-Reading Band.” In addition, Varun Das, senior drummer, was the recipient of the Rick Kerber Memorial Scholarship Soloist Award. The John P. Stevens Lab Jazz Band, directed by John Zazzali, placed 3rd overall. The two ensembles were invited to play at the NJAJE State Jazz Festival Gala on May 12 held at Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS at 1:00 PM.