Welcome to the ARIS Orchestra!
Orchestra History below
ARIS Orchestra Director: Mrs. Nancy Petrucelli
Orchestral Instruments: Violin/Viola/Cello/Bass
Where Music is More Than Just Notes
History of the ARIS Orchestra:
In 1997 - I, my husband and my 4 children moved to a wonderful town called Hillsborough. I had been teaching Orchestra, Choir and Band through the years from Oklahoma to Texas, to the Jersey Shore and recently Westfield, NJ. I knew I wanted to teach in the area and I also knew there was no strings program in Hillsborough, so I put my resume out. I quickly got a call from a wonderful person named Diane Vernon. She was the Supervisor of the Arts In Hillsborough. Long story short, she and I devised a way to begin getting a strings program in Hillsborough. I was hired as a full-time general music teacher at Sunnymead Elementary and 2 evenings out of the week I began a strings program. I did this for 5 years and built the program to a viable number of strings students that could sustain a program during the day. It just so happened that it was at the same time that they opened up Auten as a 5-6 Intermediate School. Perfect timing!
At first, the orchestra students were all at Auten and the students that were older remained in the after school program, so I continued to give lessons in the evening. Within 2 years we had the number of students that could make a viable orchestra at the Middle School. So, I was now teaching 4 days a week at Auten and 1 day a week in the Middle School.
From 2004-2005, we hired Cooper Ford, who taught at the Hillsborough High School & Middle School full time! I was now full time at Auten.
In 2005, we hired another High School/Middle School Orchestra Teacher, her name was Marie Lo. The program was really growing!
Marie Lo was the full-time orchestra teacher at the Middle School and at the High School, splitting her day in half.
In 2008, Marie Lo was moved to full-time at the Middle School and a new Orchestra Teacher came on board at the High School at 60%, Sarah Munch (now Mederos).
In 2011, Marie Lo left Hillsborough for California and we hired our Middle School Orchestra director, Joseph Gall.
In 2014, Sarah Mederos became full-time with the High School Orchestra!
In 2013, Gabrielle Chaya was hired as a 2 day a week position at Auten. She taught orchestra and band students. In 2017, she was moved to a full-time position as 5th Gr. Band Teacher, but also teaches about 35-40% of the strings students in small group lessons at Auten.
In 2009 we began our annual District Orchestra Festival every January. For a number of years, it was for grades 5- 12. The 5th Graders would only come and perform in the evening, however, in 2015 we agreed that we were too large to continue to invite the 5th Gr. Orchestra members to play.
Every year we hire an exciting professional conductor/composer to come and work with all of the students during the day, it's very exciting for the students. The conductor/composer works with each of the individual orchestral groups from Grades 6-12 in preparation of the District Orchestra Festival in the evening. We wrap the day up by pulling together a predetermined orchestral piece, where all of the students Grades 6-12 play together. We have grown so large now, that in 2016 we started only being able to put the 6th & 7th Gr. Orchestras on stage and having the 8-12th graders memorize the song and perform it surrounding the audience! This piece is the culmination of the evening- spectacular!
I could not be more proud of the orchestra teachers, the many supervisors of the Arts and thousands of students that have come through the Hillsborough Orchestra program since its inception in 1997. We continue to grow in many ways to this day! I look forward to what the future brings....