Spotlight on SMPA: Making Beautiful Music in the SHS Community

Music at Summit High School

Whether it’s a Beethoven symphony filling the halls outside the orchestra room, a spirted marching band filing onto the football field, a Big Band jam being belted out in the Grand Summit Hotel, or melodic voices flowing through the auditorium, it all comes from the award-winning Summit High School music program. It’s led by outstanding and dedicated music directors: Mrs. Barbara Vierschilling – orchestra, Mr. Steven Rapp – band, Mr. Daniel King – choir, and Mr. Alex Bocchino – Jazz Band. There are several ensembles in the music program, made up of talented and passionate music students, which include the symphony & string orchestras, chamber orchestra, string quintet, marching band, concert band, jazz band, concert choir, chamber choir and several others.


Summit Music Parents Association (SMPA)

Supporting the music program with funding and parent volunteers is the Summit Music Parents Association (SMPA). Recognizing the extensive benefits of music education on academic performance and lifelong skills, SMPA was established over 35 years ago to support educational, enrichment and performance opportunities for all levels of music students. SMPA also provides need-based scholarships to students to attend the biennial music trip and for private music lessons to further their music study. Scholarships are also given to seniors who have shown leadership and dedication to the music program.

National and All-State levels have been reached by many music students, some who continue on to major in music in college and play professionally. Other students play music for their enjoyment or to enrich their academic program. But all music students benefit from the master classes held by professional musicians, adjudications at festivals, or attendance at professional performances that SMPA provides.


SMPA’s funding comes from Pledge Day as well as concession stand sales at football games. In early November, music students canvas the City of Summit requesting donations from residents on Pledge Day. Parent volunteers organize and staff the concession stand at home football games.

Performance Highlights

The list of music concerts, festivals as well as charitable and civic events at which the many music ensembles perform is long, but the upcoming highlights of the year are the Big Band Dance, the District Arts Festival and the Spring Concerts.

Big Band DanceEvery year, SHS’s Big Band, led by Mr. Bocchino, performs a wide repertoire of musical selections spanning 75 years at the Big Band Dance while people kick up their heels and dance the night away.

District Arts Festival (formerly known as Music Marathon) – Held in the SHS Auditorium and Cafeteria on March 28th from 4:00 – 9:00, music students from all ensembles perform for the community as a “thank you” for Pledge Day donations. Attendees can enjoy performances all afternoon and into the evening.

Spring Concert I – Concert Band/Wind Ensemble/Jazz Band/Percussion Ensemble Tuesday, May 22 – 7:30

SHS Spring Concert II – Choirs/Orchestra/Chamber Choir/Chamber Orchestra Wednesday, May 23 – 7:30

SHS Marching Band Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 28



If you are interested in becoming a member of SMPA, please visit,, and click on “Join Now”.

If you have questions about SMPA or would like to learn more, please email