Student talent shined brightly in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District as a series of winter concerts took the stage throughout the month of December.
Audiences were put in the holiday spirit with chorus, band and wind ensemble performances at Oyster Bay High School; band and chorus presentations at James H. Vernon School and a music showcase featuring the District’s youngest students at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School. The series culminated on a generous note as the Friends of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) President Mr. Ravin Chetram presented the District’s Fine and Performing Arts Department with a $5,000.00 check to send 125 band members to Carnegie Hall where they will perform on April 19, 2018. PAC, a not-for-profit organization that was originally founded to refurbish the high school auditorium, supports a variety of music department initiatives, such as sponsoring the Chamber Singers Music in the Park performances, master classes at Vernon and Oyster Bay High School, a five-week after school theater class at Vernon, scholarships to seniors, and food for late-night rehearsals of student performances.
The concert series began Dec. 6 with the 7th and 8th Grade Jazz Band performing pieces by Duke Ellington and Van Morrison, and the 7th and 8th Grade Concert Band playing pieces such as Abracadabra and Good Night, Dear Heart under the baton of music teacher Mr. Michael Giannetta. The evening also featured Oyster Bay High School’s Symphonic Band, conducted by music teacher Mr. Matthew Sisia, which, among its selections, played a series of American River songs.
The next evening, Vernon School’s 5th and 6th grade students delighted family and friends with such performances as Jingle Bell Jam, by the Sixth Grade Jazz Band and Sleigh Ride by the Intermediate Band, both conducted by Mr. Joe Devassy. The Advanced Band, led by music teacher Ms. Lauren Macy, entertained the audience with four numbers, including Ancient Voices and Frosty’s Caribbean Holiday. The evening culminated with songs by the 5th and 6th Grade Chorus, under the direction of music teacher Mr. Louis G. Costidis and accompanied by Mrs. Elinor Zayas. Among their musical selections, they sang Waving Through a Window from the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen. In a separate concert, the 3rd and 4th grade choruses brought the holidays to life with songs performed with jingle bell necklaces, by candlelight and, for the finale, a fistful of “snow” thrown into the air!
In another concert, the Oyster Bay High School Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Sisia, filled the auditorium with the rhythms of Mexico while the Chamber Singers, led by Ms. Meagan Finnerty, beautifully harmonized songs, such as Three Pieces for Chanukah and a Frozen Choral Suite featured in the Disney movie, Frozen.
At Roosevelt School, the kindergarten and 1st grade classes sang a selection of holiday favorites, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Hanukkah, Hanukkah, and Frosty the Snowman. Each 2nd grade class performed a song that showcased what they learned on various percussion instruments. Then all the 2nd grade classes came together for a finale.
The series concluded with a performance by the Oyster Bay High School Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Sisia and featuring the swing number, In the Mood; the 7th and 8th Grade Chorus, conducted by Ms. Melissa Kozee and accompanied by Mrs. Zayas, which donned top hats and sang, Thank You Very Much, from the musical Scrooge;Bim Bam, a traditional Hassidic song, and Christmas Cannon as performed by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Closing the concert was the 9th-12th Grade Concert Choir, under the direction of Ms. Finnerty and accompanied by Mrs. Zayas. The chorus entertained the audience with such songs as Three Pieces for Chanukah, Four Perfect Pebbles, The Battle of Jericho and O Holy Night.
Prior to the concert, Mr. Michael Giarretto of Cruise Planners of Oyster Bay, who generously donated raffle prizes for the 8th and 10th grade college awareness tours, drew the raffle winners. First prize was a $750 Norwegian Cruise Line gift certificate, second prize was a $200 Cruise Planners gift certificate and third prize was a $150 gift certificate. Money raised from the raffles will help fund a four-day trip to various colleges as far as North Carolina for 10th graders in January and a three-day trip to colleges in the metropolitan/ Philadelphia area for 8th graders in April.
Throughout the concert series, music teachers also took the time to recognize their students who were selected to perform in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale, Jan, 7 and Jan. 12-14. Nearly 30 students in grades 5-12 were chosen for this special honor.
The 7th and 8th Grade Band performs.
The 7th and 8th Grade chorus sings Thank You Very Much, from the musical Scrooge.
Chamber Singer applaud their peers during the All-County announcement.
Friends of the Performing Arts Center President Mr. Ravin Chetram presents a $5,000 check to send the high school band to Carnegie Hall.
The OBHS Wind Ensemble takes the stage.
The OBHS Symphonic Band gets ready to perform.
Oyster Bay High School Assistant Principal Ms. Lara Gonzalez assists Mr. Michael Giarretto of Cruise Planners of Oyster Bay, as he draws the winning raffles for a fundraiser to support the 8th and 10th grade college awareness trips. Mr. Giarretto generously donated prizes.
Second graders at Roosevelt School demonstrate their percussion skills.
The Vernon Advanced Band delights the audience with Frosty's Caribbean Holiday.
The Vernon 3rd and 4th Grade Choruses let it snow during their finale.