School of Rock at Montville Township High School Selected for Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Project
Documentary of Student Musicians Who Produce Concerts For Charity Catches the Attention of Stevie Van Zandt and is One of Only 7 Shown at Atlantic City Convention
NOTE: Dante Nasisi, President of Operations for Montville School of Rock and a senior at Montville Township High School, was a major contributor to this article. Background material provided by District Communications Officer Susan Marinello.
Stevie Van Zandt’s Rock & Roll Forever Foundation recently chose the Montville School of Rock to be the subject of a documentary which aired at the New Jersey School Boards Association Annual Convention on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.
The Van Zandt contest, known as the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Project, asks the question: “How can music help tell the story of your hometown?”
Inspired by the award-winning HBO series, Sonic Highways, the documentary project was designed to highlight the hometown music scene and its effect on the community at large. Montville Township Public Schools submitted a treatment that reflected the positive effect of the Montville Township High School sponsored Montville School of Rock has on the entire community at large. The treatment was selected from a group of entries and was one of seven films chosen to be shown at the NJSBA convention.
“You love music. Your students love music. In your classroom, music can be much more than just a subject. It can be a path towards a deeper connection with your students,” Stevie Van Zandt has posted on the Teachrock.org website. Van Zandt is the founder of teachrock.org, which provides workshops that promote the use of music in the classroom.
Video Editing students and Montville School of Rock students made a "red carpet" entrance at the Sonic Highways Film Festival, held on the main exhibition floor at the Atlantic City Convention Center during the NJSBA convention. The MTHS students presented the film, and returned to the stage to share their experiences at the conclusion of the film. Nineteen MTHS students attended from School of Rock and the Visual Media Studios class.
Thanks to the amazing editing job by former MTHS Video Production teacher Cezar Cruz, current video instructor Edward Lippincott, cameraman and MTHS faculty member Robert Mathewson, and MTHS’s talented video production students, the film was among the first chosen out of hundreds of submissions.
Montville Township High School School of Rock Advisor Anthony Sia, Members of SOR, Visual Media Studio teacher Edward Lippincott, members of the VMS class and Superintendent of Montville Township Public Schools Dr. René Rovtar at the New Jersey School Boards Association convention in Atlantic City, NJ.
Visual Media Studio teacher Edward Lippincott and Montville Township High School School of Rock Advisor Anthony Sia with members of SOR and VMS class on the main exhibition floor at the Atlantic City Convention Center on Wednesday October 24, 2018. Stevie Van Zandt’s Rock & Roll Forever Foundation chose the Montville SOR to be the subject of a documentary which aired at the annual New Jersey School Boards Association’s Annual Convention. Students from the VMS class edited a video about the Award-winning SOR club at MTHS.
“This is the end result of a lot of hard work and it is something all of the students should be proud of,” said video production teacher Edward Lippincott of the documentary. “Visual Media studios did the bulk editing but students from Video I and Video II were involved in the shooting process.”
The video, which features interviews and performances from Montville School of Rock’s current membership and alumni, speaks to the importance of having rock ensembles in high schools.
Some of the quotes from current and past band members include:
“Playing and listening to music is my passion, and it’s what gets me through every day. And really I would be nowhere without it” said singer, guitarist, and songwriter Josh Carus, an MTHS senior.
“It’s really different being an individual musician versus playing with a band. Like, there are so many things that you have to be aware of that you don’t really get from just playing on your own.” said singer, songwriter, bassist and keyboard player Adriana Maiella, a junior at MTHS.
Singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist Matthew “Matty” Eriquez, an MTHS senior, who was recently accepted to Berkley College of Music a year early with a scholarship, shared: “I owe pretty much everything I know about arranging music and producing it to School of Rock. Like, I would know nothing without it.”
Montville Township High School students Adriana Maiella (grade 11), Ryan Vaag (11), Jonathan Ro (12), Matthew Enriquez (12) and Joshua Carus (12), members of the Montville School of Rock shared their experiences on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at the annual New Jersey School Boards Association convention in Atlantic City. Stevie Van Zandt’s Rock & Roll Forever Foundation chose the Montville SOR to be the subject of a documentary which aired at the NJSBA’s Annual Convention. Video Editing students and Montville School of Rock students made a "red carpet" entrance at the Film Festival, held on the main exhibit floor. SOR students returned to the stage following the video presentation to answer questions and talk about what the award-winning School of Rock club means to them.
In describing her experience, singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, and School of Rock alumnus ALUS reflected: “I’ve been singing since I came out of the womb. So I knew I wanted to do something in school that involved singing. I met Mr. Sia and knew it was the start of something new.”
The Montville School of Rock was created almost fourteen years ago by Montville Township High School teacher Anthony Sia. Since then the program has helped hundreds of students develop confidence, presentation skills, musical talent and a value for giving back to their community. The organization regularly performs, and is founded on the mission of supporting community non-profits and important causes. Each year the Montville School Of Rock holds more than a dozen concerts, each with its focus on raising funds and collecting donated items for area organizations such as: The Homeless Bus, The Montville Educational Foundation, The Montville Parent Teacher Councils, The Drug Awareness Council, Eleventh Hour Rescue, The Montville Township Kiwanis Food Pantry, The Montville Township First Aid Squad and more.
The band’s next concert will be held in the Dr. Robert O. Stafford Auditorium at Montville Township High School on November 20, 2108 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE for students and $10 for adults. The concerts are family friendly. Proceeds from the November 20 concert will be donated to Montville Township First Aid Squad to help pay for a new ambulance. The MTHS address is 100 Horseneck Road, Montville, New Jersey.
A special viewing of the winning documentary video featuring the MTHS School of Rock will be held at the Tuesday, November 13 Board of Education Meeting in the MTHS Media Center. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the showing will be part of the Superintendent’s Report near the top of the meeting.