It was a great way to start off the holiday season for the Glen Cove High School Select Chorale as the 49-member group took a four day trip to Washington, D.C. for singing and caroling at various landmarks.
The chorale, which left on Dec. 11 and returned home on Dec. 14, sang Christmas carols for President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, at the White House.
“We all had sweat on our palms when they first entered the room and began our performance," said chorale member and senior student Matt Grabowski, "but meeting the president of the United States, arguably the most recognized person in the world today, was an awesome experience.”
The end-of-year holiday is a season of giving, when we are infused with the spirit of generosity, empathy for those in need and “good will to all” (not to mention a Dec. 31 tax deadline for deductions).
Unfortunately, this year the peak giving season is shorter than usual. The late Thanksgiving holiday truncated the number of fundraising weekends leading up to Christmas. That’s on top of a challenging macro-economic environment, and it is putting the squeeze on charities. Some local fundraisers have quietly indicated that they are worried about meeting year-end objectives.
The weather outside was frightful, but the gala inside was delightful as 250 guests braved the cold, driving rain to celebrate the centennial of Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. The house was decked out in its finest, with an enormous Christmas tree at the entrance. As guests walked past lighted garlands, waiters with silver trays of chilled champagne flanked both sides of the hallway leading to the great room, where music filled the house from the newly restored Steinway piano.
While guests from all parts of Long Island and even New York City admired the decorations, hors d’eouvres of shrimp, lamb and quiche were passed around and Japanese chefs prepared different types of sushi and sashimi for tastings. Outside, Richard Daly of Ice
Melodies carved a replica of Coe Hall in one and a half hours using only a postcard as a visual guide.
If you’ve ever thought about immortalizing your pet with a high quality portrait, Yvonne Dagger is the artist to go to. The animal lover/activist has a knack for capturing the essence of each animal she paints, and her work is on display at The Painted Pet, the gallery that recently opened in Locust Valley. The portraits on display are mainly of at-risk shelter animals who Dagger felt “needed a voice” and decided to keep their stories alive and relevant through the oil paintings.
“I wanted to elevate them to a status of fine art, give them a chance to have something better, even if it’s just to be in a painting.”
Local officials have been working with Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton to examine the tax impact of National Grid’s plant decommissioning. It has been a universal item of concern that the Glenwood plant will create a greater tax burden in the North Shore community. While the decision to decommission was beyond her purview as a county legislator, DeRiggi-Whitton has found a way to participate in the process within her level of government. She also has some relatively good news to ease concerns.
Recently, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy raised some questions about the tax assessment on the National Grid properties and how they might be assessed most fairly, in the best interest of residents and business owners. The mayor approached Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton with his research because the Nassau County assessor is responsible for this.
Over the past few decades, Long Island parents and students have had to come to terms with various changes in both curriculum and standardized testing procedures dictated by the New York State Education Department. But none of these changes has caused such vocal and wide-spread outrage from both parents and educators as the implementation of the new Common Core standards and the high-stakes testing that accompanies them.
While the controversy over Common Core is multi-dimensional, ranging from concerns about the swift implementation of the program, the appropriateness of the curriculum and the loss of local autonomy, the Dec. 11 forum, sponsored and moderated by New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine, focused specifically on the mandated testing regiment associated with Common Core, its effect on our students and the challenges our local school district teachers and administrators now face.
Carle Place High School Student Organization officers and selected class officers attended a three-day leadership conference in Buffalo recently. The weekend, which started with a trip to Niagara Falls, was part of the New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities 2013 State Conference.
“The conference was an invaluable experience for the student leaders,” said Erika Fallik, Carle Place Student Organization adviser. “It provided an opportunity to gain valuable information on project planning, community service ideas and projects, team building and fundraising ideas. It was also a great venue to network with student leaders throughout New York State.”
The North Shore High School’s cast and crew of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare delivered three spectacular performances during the weekend of Nov. 22. The play was comprised of comedic twists of Shakespeare’s 37 works.
Each work was somewhat modernized and condensed to a few minutes to fit all of them into the performance. The quick changes of plot and characters kept the audience on the edge of their seats and yearning for more.
Although there were many acts, the cast was small and the venue was intimate. The seating surrounded the stage, enabling the cast to interact with the audience throughout the entire performance. The narrators of the play made it extremely easy for people to follow along if they were not familiar with each of Shakespeare’s works. The play was suitable for not only high school students, but adults as well. Many North Shore School District teachers attended the performances to have a laugh while supporting their former and current students.
Residents of the North Shore School District approved a $19.6 million infrastructure bond referendum last week to finance key repairs on a long-term basis in the district’s buildings. The vote was held Tuesday, Dec. 3; homeowners are not expected to see any increase in property taxes as a result of the bond, since the district plans to phase in payments as older bonds are paid off and phased out.
Christmas has arrived in Glen Cove. Keeping with annual tradition, the Winter Festival was held in Village Square the Saturday after Thanksgiving, complete with live music, hot cocoa, horse and carriage rides, and of course, Santa.
Throughout the afternoon, residents took advantage of the free horse and carriage rides around town and Santa was available to take Christmas gift orders and pose for pictures. Despite the brisk air and increasingly dropping temperatures,
about 100 people gathered to hear the Glen Cove High School Jazz Band perform Christmas carols and other pieces, followed by some songs from the Select Chorale. The vocalists gave a preview of their upcoming performance at the White House in DC, where they will have the opportunity to sing this Friday. The jazz band is an award-winning ensemble, led by director Nicholas Carbuto.
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