But over that time, the members of the band have all been wearing the same uniforms. In fact, the band hasn't been able to purchase new uniforms for almost 20 years.
Enter the North Bergen Friends of Music, a group of dedicated parents who decided to step forward to see if they could raise the money to buy new uniforms for the kids.
"It started out with a group of parents who just wanted to get more involved with the band," said Maria Toledo, one of the three trustees with the North Bergen Friends of Music. She is also a mother of two members of the band over the last few years, including current member Ana Garcia, a drummer. "It was a way for the parents to show some school spirit and get involved, to see if we can encourage the parents to go to events. But as we met, we realized that there were more needs that had to be met. And we realized that one of the more important needs were new uniforms."
Toledo, who serves as a trustee with Emily Dominguez and Betsy Orozco, started the organization with the idea that the North Bergen Friends of Music realize the important contributions the marching band and their teachers to the North Bergen schools and overall community.
So the group was formed to establish a working relationship with the North Bergen Board of Education, with community leaders and business owners to help raise funds to meet the needs of music students enrolled in North Bergen schools, to increase parental awareness and involvement in school-related activities, and to promote scholarship, civic engagement, and community pride.
And it all begins with new uniforms.
"We go to events and see the other bands with great, new uniforms and our kids have been wearing the same ones for so long," said Toledo, who serves as the director of a non-profit loan program in Manhattan. "We figured we had to do something to help get new ones for our band."
So the North Bergen Friends of Music had their first fundraiser in May, a Night at the Movies at the Columbia Park Plaza Cinemas, which collected close to $2,000. But the group needs more to reach their first goal.
So the next event, scheduled for Wednesday night, is being called "Savoring the Americas," a fundraising event featuring great food, wine tasting and entertainment.
The event will take place at the Sabor Latin Bistro at 8809 River Road in North Bergen, at the North Bergen/Edgewater border. The festivities are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
The popular Sabor is owned and operated by Fernando Lopez and his wife, Deborah Nazario, who happen to be the brother and sister-in-law of Toledo.
The $35 ticket price entitles one to have some wine, enjoy some hors d'oeuvres and listen to some great Latin music. A silent auction will also take place.
Toledo said that even the staff at Sabor is chipping in to help the cause.
"A hostess, Cynthia Simonetta, is taking pictures for the event and a bartender, Rei Hernandez, is a graphic artist who helped design the invitations," Toledo said. "One of the managers, Luis Iglesias, got some of the vendors to donate some wine. We've also received support from local businesses."
Toledo said that a printing company called The Office, located next door to Sabor, donated the printing for the invitations. Oritani Savings Bank has also been a big contributor.
"An event like this is a higher ticket price, but it sure beats a cupcake sale," Toledo said. "I mean, everyone loves cupcakes, but this is an event."
Toledo said the response for the "Savoring the Americas" fundraiser has been good.
"We have received a lot of interest from people who say they are coming, but we're encouraging people to make reservations, because the restaurant will fill up quickly," Toledo said.
Space at Sabor is limited and they might not be able to accommodate those who want to purchase tickets at the door.
Toledo said that the support has been wonderful from the Board of Education.
"The Board of Education is supporting our efforts," Toledo said. "The relationship is a good one. Mr. [Peter] Fischbach [the superintendent of schools], Mayor [Nicholas] Sacco, they've been supportive. It's all being done in a spirit of cooperation. The relationship is a good one."
Obviously, the students have also been supportive, trying to - pardon the pun - drum up interest by appearing at the restaurant with their instruments.
"It really has been something to watch," Toledo said. "We're really excited about this event."
"Savoring the Americas," a fundraising event sponsored by the North Bergen Friends of Music in order to purchase new uniforms for the North Bergen High School Marching Band, will take place Wednesday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Sabor Latin Bistro, located at 8809 River Road in North Bergen. Tickets are $35 and space is limited, so reservations are required. If you wish to attend the event, call Sabor Latin Bistro at (201) 943-6366 and please mention "Savoring the Americas." For more information about corporate sponsorship, contact the North Bergen Friends of Music at (201) 854-2904.