Maria Regina High School’s first-ever marching band made its debut in the recent 44th Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade. It was the only all-girls marching band among the 50 groups including several other high school ensembles that marched in the popular community event.
Outfitted with brand new special uniforms and equipped with bells, snare and bass drums, the 11 young musicians — which also consisted of two sets of sisters — performed “America the Beautiful” for the enjoyment of residents and supporters who lined up the neighborhood streets along the parade route in Morris Park.
Making their first public performance were: twin sisters Allison and Emily Ibarra of Mount Vernon (both played bells); sisters Clevisa Bujaj (bells) and Jessica Bujaj (bass drum) of the Bronx; Shaiyanne Noisette (bells) of Mount Vernon; Angelina Costa (bells) of Yonkers; Ciara Anselm (snare drum) of Greenburgh; Kelly Cambillo (snare drum) of White Plains; Nathalie Bello (bass drum) of Elmsford; Gianna Buccieri (bells) of Port Chester; and Mariam Ahmed of Dover Plains.
The marching band was joined by their music director, Steven Finkelstein, as well as President Anna E. Parra, Principal Maria Carozza-McCaffrey (Class of ’99), Jennie Bertino, Theology teacher and a contingent of other supporters from the school including faculty members, parents, students and alumnae.
Maria Regina’s band is part of the new marching band and a string and rhythm orchestra program that the leading all-girls Catholic high school launched last year. In addition to parades, the band will participate in pep rallies, school concerts and open houses, performing patriotic favorites, marches and the school song.
The string and rhythm orchestra is designed to introduce students to an array of instruments including violins, violas, cellos, guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion that the school has purchased. Its repertoire will encompass holiday songs, hit songs from Motown, rock-n-roll and pop, as well as standards.
Musical experience and the ability to read music are not required to participate in either the band or string and rhythm orchestra. Both are under the direction of Finkelstein, a professional percussionist who previously served as the marching band and orchestra director and music instructor at Aquinas High School in the Bronx, specializing in working with young musicians who have little or no experience.