A West Essex Legend Remembered

Former West Essex Band Director, Darryl J. Bott, 1955-2020

West Essex Band alumni, colleagues and students throughout New Jersey mourn the loss of a legend this weekend. Darryl J. Bott, former West Essex Band Director, passed away on Saturday May 23, 2020 at the age of 65. 

Darryl J. Bott

Darryl J. Bott

He was an inspiration, a mentor and a friend to many high school and college musicians over several decades of teaching in the New Jersey public school systems and at the University level. During his 7 years leading the West Essex Band Program from 1981 to 1988, Mr. Bott evolved each ensemble – the Concert and Symphonic Bands, Marching Band and Jazz Band – into the highest caliber and consummately professional groups of student musicians. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed in the halls of West Essex, as the 1988 Milestone Yearbook was dedicated in his honor.

He brought to West Essex the inaugural Invitational Marching Band Festival in 1982, a tradition that continues to this day as the Tournament of Bands Chapter X Championships.  After countless accomplishments, awards and acclamation, Mr. Bott’s West Essex career reached its pinnacle when his Symphonic Band was selected as the only New Jersey ensemble to perform in the Tri-State Salute to Sousa and the Constitution at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on May 17, 1987. 

Darryl Bott and his hand-built cannon for the 1987 Marching Knights finale, 1812 Overture

Darryl Bott and his hand-built cannon for the 1987 Marching Knights finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Mr. Bott came to West Essex from Wayne Valley High School in 1981. After West Essex, he spent 17 years with Roxbury High School before arriving at Rutgers University in 2005, where he retired in December 2019 as the Director of University Bands at the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

His ensembles at both the college and high school levels have received critical acclaim for their outstanding performances and have performed with world-renowned guest artists.  Mr. Bott has served as a clinician for honor bands and schools across the United States and has had the honor of conducting the President’s Own, United States Marine Band and the New Jersey Wind Symphony

As recently as January of this year, Mr. Bott conducted 3 West Essex musicians for the 2020 North Jersey Area Band Wind Ensemble – an experience these young musicians will not soon forget.

Mr. Bott was a graduate of William Paterson University, where he majored in music education. He received his graduate degree in Wind Conducting from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. 

He instilled in his students the love of music, teamwork, discipline and reaching for greater heights together than any one student can achieve alone.

In his own words, as he wrote in the February 1985 Winter Band Festival concert program, “music is one art form where the most shy or forward individual can express their emotions through this versatile language…the music program offers even more important lessons in the development of team work and sharing a common goal, the art of accepting one’s weaknesses and building upon their strengths, the awe of projecting one’s emotions upon an audience and bringing them to their feet with tears of joy.”

These words are as true today as they were 35 years ago when written.  The thousands of students Darryl Bott and his teachings have touched and inspired over the decades, and those who to this day reflect affectionately upon their time in the West Essex Band during “the Bott Years,” are living proof.  

NEW WEBB BOARD FOR 2020/2021

Congratulations to our new WEBB Officers for the 2020/2021 School Year!

Elections for the upcoming school year were held during the virtual WEBB General Membership meeting on Monday May 11.  Congratulations to the following elected individuals who, with Ms. Swanick and Mr. Fabrizio, will comprise the new Board, and thank you to all for your dedication and support of the program!

  • President: Anthony Fermo
  • Vice President: Stacey Bachenheimer
  • Treasurer: Susan Alamia
  • Recording Secretary: Heidi Levine
  • Corresponding Secretary: Andrew Marino

In addition, thank you to outgoing Vice President Cathy Stampone and Secretary Joanne Marino for all of your support this year – your time and talents were much appreciated! 

MARCHING KNIGHTS RECRUITMENT VIDEO

An Inspiring Invitation to Join the Marching Knights!

Working and schooling at home has not stopped Mr. Fabrizio and the Marching Knights from creating a wonderful and inspiring recruitment video, inviting up-and-coming eighth graders and all else interested to join the award winning Pride of West Essex Marching Band!  Join UsWe applaud these incredible kids and their passion for the Marching Knights.

Click on the Marching Knights image or here to view their welcoming invitation to join!

High School Band Activities

As West Essex responds to the evolving circumstances surrounding Coronavirus, the following High School Band Activities have been postponed or cancelled.  We encourage you to look to emails from Mr. Fabrizio and the district for further updates.

  • Postponed: Carnegie Hall Symphonic Winds Performance
  • Postponed: Music In Our Schools Concert
  • Cancelled: NJ Region 1 Concert Band Festival
  • Cancelled: Essex County Honors Band Concert
  • Cancelled: Indoor Percussion Rehearsals and Performances
  • Cancelled: Winter Guard Rehearsals and Performances
  • Cancelled: March 23 WEBB General Membership Meeting

Indoor Percussion Takes 3rd Place at Brick Competition

Less Than 1/2 Point Separates 1st from 3rd

In a strong second performance of the Indoor Percussion competitive season, West Essex’s 2020 show, “Mechanize”, secured 3rd place with a 76.9 at the US Bands Competition in Brick New Jersey on February 29, 2020.

Brick 4 - DrumlineThe spread was razor thin, as only 0.4 points separated first from third place in the Scholastic Regional A Marching class.

Congratulations to Ms. M, Mr. G & the Indoor Percussion musicians for a great show!

Visit our Photos page for more pictures!

NORTH JERSEY JUNIOR REGION AUDITION WINNERS!

West Essex Winning Streak Continues!

Continuing a winning year for auditions, two 9th grade musicians successfully auditioned for Junior Region Band this year!

Left to Right: Gianna Lodato, Conductor Mr. Rick Fitzke, Dante Ragusa

Left to Right: Gianna Lodato, Conductor Mr. Rick Fitzke, Dante Ragusa

Both students earned seats in the Symphonic Winds ensemble and will be joining other highly talented 7th, 8th  and 9th graders from northern New Jersey in the Concert to be held on Sunday March 8, 2020 at 3:00pm at Madison Jr. High School. The concert was conducted by our very own Middle School Band Director, Mr. Rick Fitzke. The West Essex Band Boosters congratulates the following and all those who auditioned for your hard work and dedication!

  • Gianna Lodato – Percussion – 2nd Chair, Symphonic Winds
  • Dante Ragusa – Tuba – 3rd Chair, Symphonic Winds

Click here for more information on North Jersey Region Band.

STUDENTS TAKE ALL-STATE HONORS

Three Musicians Secure Seats in NJ’s All-State Ensembles

Capping off one of the most successful audition seasons ever for the West Essex High School Band Program, three students successfully auditioned for the 2020 New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble.

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Left to Right: Andrew Marino, Gabriel Ruszala, TJ Viola

Securing a seat in these ensembles is no small task, and the West Essex Band Boosters offer its congratulations to the following for their achievement!

  • TJ Viola (Senior), French Horn, Wind Ensemble
  • Gabriel Ruszala (Junior), Trombone, Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble
  • Andrew Marino (Sophomore), Mallets, Symphonic Band

After a two-day rehearsal and performance in Atlantic City, February 20-22, the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band will perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark on Sunday February 23 at 3:00pm.

NORTH JERSEY REGION 1 AUDITION RESULTS

Congratulations to Region Audition Winners! 

The West Essex Band Boosters congratulate the following five West Essex High School musicians for successfully auditioning for the North Jersey Region I Band ensembles this past weekend!

njsma logo 2We applaud the hard work and dedication of all who tried out, as preparing to audition for these ensembles is no small feat; we are proud of your efforts!

  • Jimmy Alamia, Junior – Timpani – Symphonic Band
  • James Humphrey, Sophomore – 3rd Chair Bass Clarinet – Symphonic Band
  • Andrew Marino, Sophomore – 1st Chair Mallets – Wind Ensemble
  • Gabe Ruszala, Junior – 2nd Chair Trombone – Symphonic Band & Orchestra
  • TJ Viola, Senior – 1st Chair French Horn – Wind Ensemble

The Region Band Concert will be held on Sunday January 26, 2020, at Parsippany Hills High School.  Time to be announced.  Come on out and support our students!  For more information on North Jersey Region Band, click on the logo above.

WEST ESSEX REPRESENTED WELL IN AREA ENSEMBLES

Nine Students Win Seats in North Jersey Area Band Auditions!

The West Essex High School Band Program is well represented in this year’s North Jersey Area Band.  Nine students successfully auditioned and will be performing at the annual concert on Saturday January 11, 2020 at 2:00pm at Mount Olive High School.  The Wind Ensemble will be conducted by Professor Darryl J. Bott, Director of University Bands at Rutgers University (and former Band Director at West Essex High School, 1982-1988), while the Symphonic Band will be led by Mr. Jarred Mattes, Band Director at Kittatinny Regional High School.

The West Essex Band Boosters congratulate the following students and all those who auditioned. We applaud your determination, drive and dedication! Click here for more information on North Jersey Area Band.

  • Jim Alamia, Junior – Symphonic Band – Timpani
  • James Humphrey, Sophomore – Symphonic Band – 4th Chair Bass Clarinet
  • Gianna Lodato, Freshman – Symphonic Band – 2nd Chair Percussion
  • Andrew Marino, Sophomore – Wind Ensemble – 1st Chair Mallets
  • Caroline McElhannon, Sophomore – Symphonic Band – 6th Chair – 2nd Flute Part
  • Ryan Polizzi, Sophomore – Symphonic Band – 1st Chair Trombone
  • Gabriel Ruszala, Junior – Wind Ensemble – 1st Chair Trombone
  • TJ Viola, Senior – Wind Ensemble – 1st Chair French Horn
  • Julia Zon, Junior – Symphonic Band – 4th Chair Percussion

Caldwell University Honor Band Concert Held

We further congratulate the following 18 students who were recently selected to participate in the Caldwell University Honor Band.  These students performed in the annual concert, held on Friday December 6, 2019, under the direction of Professor Rebecca Vega, Instructor of Music at Caldwell University.

  • Anthony Penna, Ava Franchi, Domenic Mangiarelli, Emily Hahn, Ethan Miskulin, Gillian Rodgers, James Humphrey, Joseph Matarazzo, Kathryn Trupia, Lea Bachenheimer, Michael Ragusa, Nicholas Stampone, Samara Schiffman, Sean Jenison, Sephanie Freda, Tiana Pimentel, TJ Viola, Yasmin Cardoso

Congratulations to all!