North Bergen High School senior Jose Romero, a flute player for nearly ten years, admits that his success has not come without its fair share of hard work.
“It takes countless hours of practice on my own,” says Romero, adding he has attended roughly 30 hours of rehearsal in preparation for regional competitions.
Romero is currently preparing to compete in both the Regional Orchestra Festival and Hudson County Teen Arts Festival this May. Both competitions will give Romero the chance to perform in front of some of the most talented musicians in the area.
Although Romero is preparing for his upcoming competitions as a flutist, he is also an accomplished piccolo player, having successfully earned a spot as one of two players in the Regional ensemble last year. According to Brian Bonacci, a band director who runs the program with Michael Connor, Romero’s two consecutive placements are within perhaps the most competitive region in the state.
“The best players from approximately fifty to sixty schools compete,” said Bonacci, “and the best of the best form the [Region I] band.”
Romero says he looks forward to competing with other students at the Hudson County Teen Arts festival that will take place May 21 and 22 at New Jersey City University.
“Teen Arts is a festival where musicians, dancers, and visual artists from around the county are adjudicated by professors,” said Bonacci. “Everyone brings their best performers and best ensembles.”
“I just really like performing and having the chance to compete against others,” said Romero. “I like to see how I stack up against my peers, and kind of show them what I have. It’s exciting to be pitted against other people as dedicated as me.”
Romero is also a member of the High School Marching Band, which rehearses over the summer and competes during the fall. Romero, according to his directors, was integral to their win of the Tournament of Bands Marching Band Championship last November. Last January, he was named to the Region Orchestra after hours in preparation.
“It’s kind of the All-Star game for the music world,” said Bonacci.
Romero said that he expects to graduate this spring and attend Montclair State University for a degree in music education. However, he has not had too much time to consider what particular career path to follow after receiving his degree.
“I haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Romero says with a laugh.
“I like to see how I stack up against my peers, and kind of show them what I have.” – Jose Romero
“He’s one of the best players to come through the High School since I’ve been here,” said Bonacci.
As Bonacci raves about his student, Romero fails to pay much heed; rather, he continues to focus on the daunting piece lying in front of him as he prepares to perform in front of a local television crew.
“His natural ability and his work ethic have led to his becoming a tremendous player,” Bonacci adds.
“He will be sorely missed when he graduates next year,” Bonacci adds with a laugh, and finally, Romero manages to crack a smile.
Stephen LaMarca can be reached at email@example.com.