2006-06-07 / Schools
Manalapan H.S. music students take sweet trip
BY AMY ROSEN
MANALAPAN - The sweet sound of music was a little sweeter for members of the Manalapan High School concert band, orchestra, choir and marching band as they took their show on the road to Hershey, Pa., to perform in the Music in the Park concert series May 12-13.
According to band director Jos Maunez, the long-awaited trip was the culmination of months of hard work on the part of the students, the Manalapan High School Music Parents Association (MHSMPA) and Manalapan High School administrators - and it went off without a hitch.
In addition to hours of practicing during and after school, the group of about 80 students worked diligently to raise money to offset the cost of the trip. Fundraisers included bagging groceries at local supermarkets, a bowl-a-thon, a holiday concert and selling snacks.
The band members said they appreciated the community's support, especially at their largest fundraising event, the annual marching band competition, a spectacular show of marching bands from around the state that takes place in the fall at Manalapan High School.
According to Joseph DePasquale, president of the MHSMPA, school administrators, local merchants and community members have been very supportive of the fundraising efforts of the music students at Manalapan and have helped the band purchase new uniforms and equipment this past year.
This trip, the first in five years, was a real treat for the music students. The first day was a busy day, dedicated to traveling and performing at three schools, starting with the concert band playing at Hershey High School, then on to Dauphin High School for the orchestra to perform, followed by a choir performance at Middle Town High School. After dinner and some free time at the hotel, the group was up bright and early for the marching band to perform at Hershey Stadium at Hershey Park amusement park. Then the students were off to the park to enjoy a day of rides.
"I'm really proud of the kids because it was the first time they went out of the state overnight, and they did a great job. I am especially proud of the choir and orchestra, who don't get to compete on a regular basis, as does the award-winning marching band," Maunez said. "They really came through. I think this experience is a great building block for the future. The trip ran so smoothly with no problems in behavior or scheduling. It was a good experience all around."
Maunez was pleased with the judges' scores for the groups. The orchestra was rated excellent with a score of 80 out of 100, the band and choir were rated good with scores of 78 and 75, respectively, and the marching band received a score of 80 and finished in first place in its size group and second place out of all the competing bands.
DePasquale said, "The students and parents appreciate the efforts of Mr. Maunez, who has accomplished amazing things for the school's music department in his first full year as band director. He not only stresses excellence in music, he teaches them lessons in life that include remembering to be respectful of others while striving to reach their goals in life."
DePasquale will step down as president of the band parents association next year. Mike Lennox will take over the position.