By Gregory Crofton
Does power exist in the words and actions of a high school music teacher? You bet. Especially if he is an ex-Marine and plays saxophone.
“Banded Together: The Boys from Glen Rock High” is a trip back to a gentler, kinder time in 1960s New Jersey — think “The Wonder Years” — when music teacher Joe Sielski taught a group of students the true dedication it would take to succeed as a professional musician.
“I call it my Golden Age not because what I was doing there … but because of the kids going through school at that time,” Sielski said. “They were playing at a professional level.”
Of course, like many great teachers, Mr. Sielski is quick to point the spotlight on the talent of his students, eight kids who grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Each one beat the odds to find success in show business. They ended playing on some of the biggest stages like Late Night with Conan O’ Brien, Franke Valli & The Four Seasons and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Produced and directed by Barry Rubinow, himself a Glen Rock alum, this feature documentary is an ode to teachers and the role that art and music can play in a young person’s life.
It’s also a warm remembrance of times gone by capped off with a concert featuring “the boys” who reunited in 2021 to play a show at their old high school.