Wharton Trumpeter, 11th Grader, Wins Prestigious Hanover Wind Symphony Summer Music Scholarship



For Michael Minenna of Wharton, an 11th grader at Morris Knolls High School, “A day without music is a day without sunshine.”


The enthusiastic and dedicated young trumpeter has won the prestigious 2022 Hanover Wind Symphony (HWS) Senior Division Summer Music Scholarship, which he will use to attend the Trumpet Intensive program this summer at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan.


A musical prodigy, Michael has been playing the trumpet since elementary school, and he’s taken private lessons from the fourth grade on with Bob Ferrel, a brass instructor, touring musician and recording artist. In 2020, Michael won the HWS Junior Division Summer Music Scholarship, and attended the Eastman School of Music Virtual Trumpet Workshop in July 2020.


“I want to become a performing artist, like my private teacher, and/or a professional touring artist,” the award-winner says. “My life rotates around music. I spend all day practicing different types of music. I practice so much because of my love and passion for music. My dream for when I graduate college is to play the ‘Carnival of Venice’ at Carnegie Hall.”


This year, Michael has participated in the New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA) All-State Symphonic Band (second chair), the NJMEA All-State Orchestra (fourth chair), the All-North Jersey High School Wind Ensemble (sixth chair), the All-North Jersey High School Symphonic Orchestra (third chair), and the North Jersey Area Band (third chair). At Morris Knolls High School, the honoree has played with the Golden Eagles Marching Band for four years, Concert Band for three years, and Jazz Band for three years. He’s also been part of the Gifted & Talented Program for trumpet performance in 2021-2022. Branching out, the talented musician studied the viola and joined the high school String Ensemble this year. 


In the community, Michael belongs to the Youth Trumpet & Tap Corps, a group that volunteers to play taps at veterans’ funerals; he’s been a bugler for the Rockaway Township Memorial Day parades and flag retirement ceremonies; a bugler for Patriots Path Council of Boy Scouts of America; and a soloist and ensemble player with the United Methodist Church of the Rockaways.


Gail Lalk of Morristown, chair of the HWS Scholarship Committee, says of Michael, “We are so pleased to hear what an improvement Michael has made in his playing in the two years since he was selected as the winner in the Junior Division. He has matured as a player–technically and musically. I think the audience will appreciate his obvious enthusiam for trumpet when he performs with us next season.”


Scholarship Committee member Len Stern of Kinnelon notes, “Michael was our Junior Division winner two years ago. During the discussion part of that audition, he was given a few pointers on how to improve his playing. He took these to heart and literally ‘knocked our socks off’ at this year’s audition. His technical, musical, and personal growth were wonderful to see.”


HWS president William Trusheim of West Milford adds, “We have been fortunate in finding talented young musicians to support in their musical development. This year’s winner, Michael Minenna, is certainly deserving and we look forward to his solo performance with us as part of our 2022-2023 season.”


The Hanover Wind Symphony is a unique extension of the great American tradition of adult music performance. One of only a handful of outstanding community-based adult wind bands in New Jersey, the Hanover Wind Symphony delights audiences of all ages by giving a contemporary twist to traditional favorites. The large orchestra, made up exclusively of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, is committed to mentoring the next generation of wind musicians.


Hanover Wind Symphony Scholarship Committee members include Gail Lalk, committee chair and a French horn player; plus HWS president William Trusheim, a trumpeter; HWS treasurer Len Stern, a trumpeter; HWS music director Matthew Paterno of Parsippany; HWS associate music director Kurt Zimmermann of Rockaway, a trumpeter; Vincent Rufino of Succasunna, a clarinetist; and flutist Drusilla Gaffney of Succasunna.


HWS is working to make this scholarship program self-sustaining through donations. Donations to the Hanover Wind Symphony Summer Music Scholarship Program may be mailed to Hanover Wind Symphony, P.O. Box 100, Whippany, NJ 07981. Checks should be made payable to the Hanover Wind Symphony with “Scholarship Fund” in the memo line. Inquiries about the scholarship program may be emailed to info@hanoverwinds.org.


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