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The Promenade’s New Queen

Gina Naomi Baez

plays Garden City

It might not be cold enough to build a snowman, but that hasn’t stopped Elsa from Disney’s Frozen from parading the streets of Garden City this summer. In fact, young Disney fans in the village went nuts at her last appearance at the Garden City Promenade, a weekly event on Seventh Street.

Gina Naomi Baez, famous for her impersonations of the Disney character Elsa, performed at the promenade twice last Friday, Aug. 9. For her first performance, she disguised herself as Elsa and sang hits from the movie Frozen. These included “For the First Time in Forever,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and of course, “Let It Go.” Prior to the show, Baez also signed Elsa’s autograph for the crowds of excited children attending the event. She let parents snap photographs of their kids with Elsa. Some of the girls, so enthusiastic to meet her, had even dressed in their own Disney princess attire for the occasion.

The Rockville Centre native has been performing as Elsa for around a year now, dressing up in a blue gown created by a friend and a braided white wig. She states that it all began with her Youtube channel, where she sings a mixture of cover songs and her own music. After seeing Frozen, Baez uploaded a cover of “Let it Go” onto her channel, and the video got a much larger response than she anticipated. After watching the video, a mother from Rockville Center asked the Hewlett resident to perform as Elsa at her daughter’s birthday party. “I thought it’d be a one time thing,” Baez said. “But I kept getting calls after that.” Subsequently, she became so busy that she got in touch with her own agent, Samantha Carrell, who now helps Baez plan each of her appearances and signing events.

Gina Baez’s Queen Elsa performance wasn’t her only spotlight on Aug. 9 though. She also played a show as herself, singing songs from her debut album You and Me. Produced by Chip Hardy, the CD features completely self-written material, just came out and was on sale for the first time during the Promenade. She performed her music with her Youtube sidekick, Tinkerbelle the dog. Afterwards, Baez and Tinkerbelle gave away autographs and “pawtographs” to fans.

“Queen Elsa” has been writing and performing her own music for years dating back to when she got her start as an eight-year-old. “Ever since I was five, I always wanted to be a singer,” Baez said. Having attended Pace University and earned a theatre degree, she’s done everything from voice lessons to community theatre. Baez has done several professional productions too, such as the off-Broadway shows Under Fire and 8 Minute Musicals.

Even with all of her experience, Baez never expected that her talent would blow up the way it has. “I’m speechless,” she said. “It’s so cool that I get to sing and be an inspiration to all of these kids.”

Not only has Baez been performing in Garden City, but she has also been doing similar performances for charitable causes. She sang at the United Cerebral Palsy Center on sibling day and at Winthrop Cancer Center for Kids. Being a cancer survivor herself, the professional vocalist was particularly pleased to be able to bring her voice to these locations.

Baez has also been working on “Cupcakes,” another track that didn’t appear on her new album. She flew out to LA recently to record the song with producer Patrice Wilson. The song started as a joke, according to Baez, however the song has recently been featured on MTV, Perez Hilton’s site, Huffington Post, and other popular media sources.

“I feel like I work 24/7, and even when I’m sleeping, I’m dreaming about working,” Baez said. Well, it seems that all of her hard work is paying off. Long Island may be seeing its newest superstar in the making.

News

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com