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Oceanport Band Rakes in the Awards, Again

The Board of Education recognized Dianne Ruggeri and each member of her Maple Place Band on Thursday for their recent achievements.

"They're going to need to build more shelves, literally," said Superintendent Andrew Orefice about the proliferation of awards coming to thanks to the band and its music teacher Dianne Ruggeri.

The Board of Education made time at its July 19 meeting to honor the band members and their teacher for their achievements at the Music Showcase Festival in May where the band brought home top honors.

"I'm running out of superlatives and adjectives," Orefice said. "Dianne Ruggeri is the finest in her craft. We're going to have her sign a lifetime term," he joked.

"I'll be here in my walker," she shouted, to rousing applause from a packed house of proud musician parents.

"She's amazing," said mom Michele LaValle, whose son Evan LaValle plays saxophone. "They play songs you wouldn't imagine a middle school band would play."

In addition to teaching music, Ruggeri is a professional musician who plays flute, piccalo and clarinet. You can see her this summer at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in

In May the Charger band competed at the Music Festival Showcase at Six Flags where both the concert band and the jazz band took home top honors, with many of the students playing in both bands. According to Ruggeri the school was the highest scoring of any school in the competition, winning it the Grand Sweepstakes Trophy.

In addition to the overall achievements, Maple Place musicians won three individual awards:

  • Kristen Murphy, alto sax solo
  • William Munoz, tenor sax solo
  • Jon Biagi, trumpet solo

In a letter to Ruggeri, the showcase executive director, Ron Simmons said, "The hard work and dedication that you, the director, and every member of the ensemble displayed was exemplary."

"This put Oceanport on the map," Ruggeri said. Next year when her Chargers return to the showcase, she said, the other judges will say, "Oh, here comes the good band."

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