Barrons Get the Band Together After Graduation


By: Merdan Olevic

(l to r) Nunzio Moudatsos, Ryan Vargas, Jay Sakong, Seamus O’Connor, and Jane Park

Jay Sakong (‘04) , Ryan Vargas (‘03), and Nunzio Moudatsos (‘03), graduated from WHS and are now members of a band named Owel. Jay Sakong plays guitar and provides vocals; Ryan Vargas plays the drums and glockenspiel; and Nunzio Moudatsos plays bass and provides vocals, as well. The band also consists of Seamus O’Connor on guitar, and Jane Park on violin and keys. The band has released two albums on iTunes, Owel in 2013, and Every Good Boy in 2015, since graduating from Woodbridge High School. In a new segment to track the whereabouts of the school’s alumni, The Barron Perspective was able to discuss high school, the notion of success, and what the future holds for three of its own former students.

Barron Perspective: What was your favorite experience at Woodbridge High School?
Nunzio Moudatsos: I just enjoyed seeing my friends every single day, and being able to hang out at practice and after school. I always really looked forward to match day during soccer/wrestling season.
Ryan Vargas: My favorite moment was getting on the varsity basketball team as a freshman. I thought I was so cool.

BP: What activities/clubs were you in involved in at WHS?
NM: I was on the soccer and wrestling teams throughout high school.
RV: Basketball team, cross country, and chess club.

BP: Which teachers influenced you at WHS? How?
Jay Sakong: Mr. Switek definitely comes to mind. He was one of the first teachers I had that I truly cared about not disappointing. He wouldn’t scold you like a little kid, but instead he might throw you a look as if to say, “Really? How old are you again?” Even as I write my response I’m thinking, “ugh, my grammar is horrible!” Plus, he is a fan of Deftones and even introduced me to a band called Far, which ended up influencing my song writing.
RV: Mr. Kane. He taught 10th grade history and I was never more excited to go to class. He didn’t just teach, he inspired me to be better.
NM: I always kept close with my coaches and learned a lot from them. Aside from the athletic aspect, they showed a lot of care for your academics as well as your personal life. It was nice to have someone like that to confide in.

BP: Have any teachers helped you after high school? How?
NM: Mrs. Neidhardt is the world’s greatest dog-sitter! She’s also my mother-in-law, so be nice to her. She’s the best.

BP: What did you learn in high school that prepared you for where you are now?
NM: I think high school is the time where you really learn to get your priorities in order. Whether you go on to college afterwards or go immediately into the workforce, you have to know how much you can handle on your plate at one time. Especially learning to balance your work life, social life, studies, and hobbies.
RV: I met two of my future bandmates, so that prepped me for life-long friends.

BP: Did you immediately start the band after high school? If not, when did the band start?
RV: Nunzio and I were in a band in high school and Jay was in another band. So we always knew each other’s talent, but later in life [I teamed] up with Jay, and when Nunzio joined, I felt like I was a part of the band I always wanted.

BP: What is the most challenging part of being in the music business?
NM: It’s certainly an investment in a lot of ways. Obviously it’s a monetary investment but also time, energy, and emotion. It’s a challenge trying to balance having fun doing it, while also viewing it as a business.
RV: So many challenging factors, but for me the biggest was keeping five people with crazy schedules, and growing and constantly changing, to still love what we do and respect each other and the music we make. It’s very easy to quit, but it’s so hard to push through, and I’m blessed to have four other strong friends to carry me.

BP: What are you guys working on right now? [Editor’s note: Interview occurred in December.]
NM: Right now we are finishing up writing and pre-producing our next album. We will be in the studio for basically the whole month of January and expect the album to be released in the Spring of 2016. Check up on our progress at or on Facebook and other social media outlets.

BP: What was your idea of success in high school? How has that changed since?
NM: I used to think that success was getting a great job with great pay so you can buy a house and do all those adult things that everyone pushes you to do. I learned that success is really just a bar that you set for yourself. If there is anything that you strive to do and can work hard doing, then do it. That’s success.
RV: God, I was an idiot so my success was making out with a hot girl and having my friends think I’m cool. Now it’s being happy and trying to better myself everyday.

BP: Have you reached your idea of success?
NM: So far, so good!
RV: No, but that’s okay.

BP: What advice do you have for current WHS students?
NM: Things don’t come easy, so work hard for anything that you want. If you find something you love to do there’s always a way to make a living doing it. You don’t need to be a lawyer or a doctor to make a great life for yourself.
RV: Friends come and go but your education will create a future. Study hard and I promise you will thank yourself later.