WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
DIRECTORS: DR. SUMNER, MR. KENNETH ZAMPELLA
BAND HISTORY – ALL ABOUT US
Since its beginning in 1971, the Piscataway Superchief Band has become a nationally recognized, award-winning high school marching band. Dedicated to the principle of excellence in all areas of music education, the band has continuously pursued the total musical development of its members. Its success grows out of this commitment to excellence from the students, staff, and parents who comprise the Superchief Family.
Over the years the Superchiefs have been featured in several TV shows including “American Oompah” and “The Superchiefs Go To Ireland” for PBS; “Marlo And The Magic Movie Machine” for CBS; and “Today in New York” for NBC. The band has performed at numerous halftimes for the New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, and Buffalo Bills, as well as for pre-game ceremonies for the New York Mets. In addition, the band has worked for the Walt Disney Company at the Radio City Music Hall premier of “Pete’s Dragon” and Mickey’s 50thBirthday Whistlestop tour at Penn Station, New York City.
In 1971 the band began with just 44 members, but grew quickly to 205 members by 1974. Throughout this time the members developed their proficiency in marching and music performance, won some local contests, and began many traditions, most of which are still intact today. By the late 1970’s, the band had an established reputation of quality and excellence that culminated in a national championship in 1979 in Daytona, Florida.
Touring Ireland in 1981 and 1985 and capturing first place in the Dublin and Limerick St. Patrick’s Day Parades on each trip, the band garnered international acclaim. Taking first place at the World of Music Festival in San Diego, California in 1983 and 1987, and at the Festivals of Music in Orlando, Florida in 1989, the band continued its success on a national level as well. The band also won consecutive New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parades early in the decade and continued to be locally successful, placing first in numerous shows around the state. They won the first-ever Tropicana Bowl Mid-Atlantic Championship at Rutgers Stadium in 1983 and the first-ever CMBC (USSBA) competition at Giants Stadium in 1988, featuring the finest bands from the tri-state area.
During the 1990’s the Superchiefs focused on the CMBC (USSBA) circuit that features some of the finest bands in the Eastern United States. The band has won five consecutive Group V Open Championships, from 1990 through 1994 and again in 1996. In addition, the band has placed in five Bands Of America Eastern Regional Finals Championships in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2003 and won the Yamaha Cup Preview of Champions in 2001 & 2002. In 2002, the Superchiefs also took first place in the USSBA State Championships.
Another first in the history of the Superchiefs occurred when the band was invited to perform in the 2002 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which aired on NBC on Thursday, November 28, 2002.
Since then, the band has continued its successes and quest for excellence which has been underscored by “excellent” ratings at the New Jersey State Band Festivals, 3rd place finish at the USSBA Championships in 2004, special recognition award by the New Jersey State Board of Education, and the title of “Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America 2005” by the American Music Conference. In the Spring of 2006, the band was invited to perform at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, where we had the honor of performing as a precursor to the “SpectroMagic” Parade. Over the past few years, the band has received numerous first and second place trophies during the marching season. This past year they received three 1st place trohies, one 2nd place trophy, and were a finalist at the first ever, DeMoulin Classic at Rutgers Stadium.
We are proud of our heritage and tradition of sustained excellence, and they are very important to us. This pride is exemplified in the fact that both of the present band directors are former student members of this band as well. They hold close to them the rich history and deeply embedded traditions and continue to instill these ideals in the present student members. We look forward to the future, and to continue the level of achievement that is synonymous with the Superchiefs.