Student musicians from Mount Olive Middle School, winners of 2022’s “Battle of the Bands,” joined the Rutgers marching band to perform the university’s fight song during the Rutgers-Wagner College football game at SHI Stadium in Piscataway. Credit: Courtesy of the Marching Scarlet Knights

Mike Lucas, Media Contact, Rutgers Today. This article originally appeared on Rutgers Today. Republished with permission.

Students from Carteret Junior High School won Rutgers University’s third “Battle of the Bands” competition and will head to Rutgers–New Brunswick to play the university’s fight song during a football game.  

Rutgers invited middle school bands throughout New Jersey to submit a video performance of “The Bells Must Ring,” the university’s fight song. The competition was held in partnership with the university’s marching band and the Rutgers–New Brunswick Division of Enrollment Management, which reviewed the submissions for technical skill, captivating stage presence and pride in New Jersey’s flagship institution. 

“We are beyond thrilled for this opportunity,” said George Velasquez-Franceschi, instrumental music director at Carteret Junior High School. “It was a challenging yet rewarding experience learning the Rutgers fight song. My students had a blast putting it all together and we’re looking forward to heading to Rutgers University to perform with the Marching Scarlet Knights.”  

As winners of the competition, band members from Carteret Junior High School will visit Rutgers–New Brunswick to play the university’s fight song alongside the Rutgers marching band during a Scarlet Knights football game at SHI Stadium in Piscataway at a date to be determined. Band members and their chaperones will receive tickets to the game.  

Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor for enrollment management at Rutgers–New Brunswick, developed the initial vision of the contest as a way for younger students to connect with Rutgers at an early age.  

“We are delighted to provide this opportunity for middle school students to engage with Rutgers–New Brunswick in a unique way,” said McAnuff. “All the bands who submitted an entry to the contest this year should be proud of their performances.”  

Todd Nichols, director of university bands at Rutgers, said he is looking forward to reconnecting with younger musicians, as he led high school bands for 19 years before joining Rutgers in 2017. 

“It is an incredibly exciting time in the history of our Marching Scarlet Knights, and we are thrilled to congratulate Carteret Junior High School on winning this year’s competition,” Nichols said. “We can’t wait for Carteret’s visit to campus and their performance alongside our band. It will be a spectacular collaboration.”

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