Mr. Vicchiariello, NHS Director of Bands Impacts Students
Mr. Vicchiariello is the NHS Director of Bands and has been teaching for over a decade. Interviewed on October 28, 2021, he shares his experiences and what his job entails. He acknowledges all of his students as equals, proudly stating, “There are no substitutes.”
Prior to Nutley, he taught general music, choir, band, and strings in Highlands Elementary School, Sandy Hook, for a year. Mr. Vicchiariello has “learned many things and continues to daily”, now in his 12th year of teaching in Nutley. Within those years, he has so far conducted elementary band and strings to middle school, and now marks years of teaching at NHS.
As the Director of Bands, day-to-day responsibilities include Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Lab. The extracurriculars are NHS’ Marching Band, Classical Percussion, and Jazz Ensemble, while also overseeing Winter Guard. He explains, “You can also say that the other band groups in the district fall under me, so I can organize multiple events and make sure everything is going well from elementary all the way to high school.”
Mr. Vicchiariello describes band as a “doing activity” - a passion for music that cannot be created without the right actions. Prior to Covid, he believed that everyone was in a great place. Students took full responsibility for the States Championship season and had ownership of everything - from the classroom to the marching band. Virtual band was a cacophony of stress, confusion, and isolation. Based on the students’ feedback, they highly disliked playing into a computer monitor and were unaccustomed to performing as soloists.
Though the internet lag heavily restrained them, they attempted to overcome these obstacles by mixing virtual performances, constructing a music video with student recordings, and playing for each other through the computer. Coming back to in-person school, Mr. Vicchiariello says, “I could not be happier than where we are right now. This is what we wanted, to be back together. Is it totally normal? No, of course not! Our biggest challenge is getting everyone back on the same page. We’ve gone back to the basics and are building a solid foundation once again - and we’ll get there by supporting each other.”
To extend and express their support, Marching Band Students were also interviewed and voiced their thoughts as the Marching Band season had come to an end.
Vincenza Gabriele, a freshman flutist, says, “He has taught me to keep going and strive through emotional times. I learned that the things I have to miss due to this activity push me through the finish line — and of course, push-ups for self accountability.”
Another freshman, color guard Sofia Saracino, remarks, “He helped me have a better view on what I had to do whilst spinning last season. It definitely made me stress less knowing he told us to take care of ourselves and made sure none of us got hurt. Though he was obviously hard on us, it was kinda like tough love.”
Katelyn Fitzpatrick, senior saxophone/bass, notes on his teachings. “Mr. Vicchiariello influences us by pushing past our breaking point. He teaches in a unique but very loving way and has taught me an insane amount of music theory and knowledge.”
Caroline Ritacco, a junior flutist and assistant drum major, adds on, “I feel like he has a positive influence on our band. He always encourages us to be better and always tells us the truth, no matter how good or bad. We always want to try and make him proud.”
Ritacco elaborates, “He is a genuinely fun teacher, but when it’s time to work, he makes sure we know it’s work time. He’s very strict when it comes to playing and marching technique, but most importantly — respect towards others. His positive impact, confidence, and assertiveness inspires me to have the leadership he does as a drum major.”
Though band season has long ended, he looks forward to next year’s season and starting up again.