Story by: Rob Kinch
“Don’t let anyone put a ceiling on you,” warns Joe Giacobbe, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the NFL’s NY Jets, and one of five inductees into the 2018 class of “Rahway’s Own”. “Being tough,” he advises the students, “is important in chasing a dream.” He gives credit for this drive and persistence to achieve his dreams to the strength instilled in him by his hometown…the community of Rahway.
On Tuesday, November 27, Principal John Farinella opened the doors of Rahway High School once again to host this year’s “Rahway’s Own” ceremony celebrating the induction of 2018’s candidates Joe Giacobbe, European basketball star Louis Campbell, jazz musicians (and brothers) Allan and Warren Vaché, and Rahway historian Alex Shipley. The event now in its 5th year, organized by Amy Garcia Phillips and Ann Marie Williams of the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership along with RHS Vice Principal Patricia Volino-Reinoso and assistant football coach and teacher Dan Garay, honors members from the Rahway community who have achieved excellence in their field, who have impacted and elevated Rahway, and who will represent their city as a place for innovation, creativity, and community.
The celebratory opening comments for this year’s program were proudly presented (and enthusiastically received by the high school students in attendance) by “Rahway’s Own” alumnus Coach Fred Stueber who emphasized “how much talent we have in this town.” As the 2018 inductees were recognized one by one for their achievements, Coach Stueber’s sentiment was clearly incontrovertible.
Son of the late bassist Warren Vaché and elder brother of clarinetist Allan Vaché, cornetist Warren Vaché Jr. has defied being labeled as a swing musician, having listened to and absorbed all styles of music. He has spent years playing with such music greats as Rosemary Clooney, Benny Goodman, and Woody Herman and has performed at major jazz festivals such as the Newport Jazz Festival and fistivals in France, Italy, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong. Although Mr. Vaché could not be present due to a prior engagement in India, his brother and famed clarinetist Allan appeared via video to address the RHS students on a personal level. Having graduated RHS in 1971, Allan Vaché went on to perform with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band of San Antonio, Texas for seventeen years, to tour Mexico for the US State Dept., and to perform at NYC’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has recordings as a soloist and has also performed in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. Reassuring the students that, “Confusion is not unique to you,” Mr. Vaché encouraged them to “concentrate on what it is you love to do and develop it.”