Nutley music is part of who Vincent Vicchiariello is. Not only did he attend Nutley schools as a child, but he has taught at the elementary, middle school and now Nutley High School. So, it’s not surprising that he calls the Nutley band program a family. “When I took over as director at the high school, I made it a point to let the students know that we are all there for each other no matter what,” he said. “We have instilled a culture in our students that they follow, believe in and teach to the new students. They help and care for one another on/off the football field, in/out of the classroom or in/out of the band hallway.”
While parents and students are proud of the many awards that the Nutley band has received under Vicchiariello’s leadership, they are more appreciative of how he has built a community within his music program. In several “40 Under 40” nomination letters, students called him “a role model” and “my rock,” and that “he has taught us the importance of hard work and continuously emphasizes to never give less than our best.” A parent was succinct in his praise of Vicchiariello: “He connects to the kids like no other. Grounded. Has their best interest at heart. One of a kind.”
Another parent wrote about Vicchiariello’s exceptional programs that blend classical music with edgy, modern pieces. “He includes all his staff, his students and even parents in the creative process, actively asking for input. This bridge of communication has brought together a series of fresh ideas that brought life into our music program.”
Vicchiariello strives to find more musical opportunities not only for his high school band members but for students at Nutley’s feeder schools. He saw the benefits of including 8th graders in the marching band, something that he himself experienced. “I had the opportunity to join the high school marching band when I was in 8th grade, and I enjoyed every second of it along with many of my friends,” he said. Vicchiariello knew that students often don’t continue playing music when they enter high school. By implementing this new program, 8th graders have the opportunity to grow and development throughout their extended time in the group.
During the pandemic, Vicchiariello worked tirelessly to provide a safe marching season for his students. Even though all competitions were cancelled, he continued to teach them new music and worked with community leaders and the booster association to practice at a park so that students could safely play together. According to another nomination letter, “He was in constant communication with the parents so that together our children could continue to do what they love, which is to play music,”