VIDEO: Marching Band wins regional honors; on to states and nationals

The Passaic Marching Band recently won their latest regional competition, held Oct. 2 at MetLife Stadium. With the hard work of the band director, Mr. Christopher Rusca, and his students, the band was able to obtain the title despite not having played together for nearly two years due to Covid.

Mr. Rusca has directed the Passaic Marching Band for 20 years, in which time they have won four regional championships, four state championships and one national championship.

Mr. Rusca took the time to talk about the experience, emphasizing that all instruments are equally important when competing.

“You want to have a good balance, so for instance flutes, clarinets, saxophones, the woodwind instruments, and we have the brass, also the trumpets, and the low brass,” he said. “We always want more low brass. It seems like young kids tend to play the lighter instruments, so the brass is usually a little heavier and needs more air. No other instrument is more important than the other; you just want a nice balance.”

Doing all this hard work means a lot. It just shows us that now every other competition we have, we need to add more hard work each day.

— Prep soph Nelsie Abreu

The award-winning Marching Band includes students in grades 6-12 from all over the Passaic Public School District, including the three high schools, Etta Gero School No. 9, School No. 11 and the School No. 8 Annex. 

Nelsie Abreu, a sophomore saxophone player from Passaic Prep, told​ The Boulevard Online: “Doing all this hard work means a lot. It just shows us that now every other competition we have, we need to add more hard work each day.” 

The band’s next competition will be Saturday, Oct. 30 in the state championships and then Saturday, Nov. 6 at the national championships at MetLife Stadium.


Saul Carrillo

Angel Mejia

Ofelia Osorio

Lucas Tellez

Nashly Moya

Stephany Negrete

Jaqueline Aca

Sean Pastor

Jancel Taveras

Magaly Tepox

Jasmin Bravo

Jocelyn Aca

Eduardo Cano

Agustin Perez

Nelsie Abreu

Marilyn Perez

Yamilet Martinez

Kelsey Esteban

Ariakna Miranda

Adlyn Correa

Johanna Hicks

Citlali Ariza

Katherine Vasquez



Tahon Giles

Aldhair Galvan

Denise Lopez

Alondra Romero

Danielle Collado

Jackie Hernandez

Angela Gibson

Litzi Gomez

Victoria Flores

Jacob Mendoza

Alexander Castillo

Kevin Martinez

Kevin Arriaga

Xavier Muhammad 

Dulce Tomay

Crystal Reyes


Lizbeth Cano

Jade Martinez

Brayam Moran

Andrik Lucero

Evell Williams

Santiago Avellaneda

Jose Perez

Steven Ortiz

Alicia Julmisse

Ashanti Julmisse

Jocelyn Cabajal

Daniela Cabajal

Carmen Cruz

Roxanna Lopez

Keriza Godines

Destiny Julmisse

Alex Julmisse


Khalil Muhammad


Maria Pena


Matty Arriaga