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Hicksville Nurtures Opera Stars

Michael Szczesniak and Nicole Piccolomini planted the seeds for their operatic futures at Hicksville High School, and now they’ve gained international acclaim.

The Hicksville graduates recently performed at the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, NY, a major accomplishment in opera.

While attending Hicksville High School, Szczesniak, who changed his name to Michele Angelini to honor his Italian heritage, and Piccolomini spent many hours in the high school chorus room sight-reading opera arias, art songs and theatre numbers with the late Dan Kristoff. Both students were featured soloists several times with the symphonic orchestra, string ensemble, concert choir and madrigal singers.

At Hicksville, Piccolomini played Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress, Nettie in Carousel and Kate in Kiss Me Kate. Angelini went to Julliard Pre-College on bassoon and was selected to the All-National Orchestra. In 2004, when the Little Theater at Hicksville High School was rededicated as the Kristoff Theater, Angelini and Piccolomini performed arias.

“These fabulous young musicians never looked back after hearing the possibilities in the world of opera performance,” their teacher Amy Noll said. “Their focus, hard work and talent have become a treasure of musical memories and friendship for me.”

Angelini, a tenor, has taken the opera scene by storm. He made his European debut in 2006 as the Conte di Libenskof in Il viaggio a Reims at the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival. He credits Hicksville High School for playing a major role in his artistic development.

“To this day, I feel enormously fortunate to have had the kinds of teachers I did in the Hicksville Music Department,” Angelini said. “There was never a moment in my development when my curiosity and thirst for musical knowledge were not equaled by the expertise of my teachers.”

Piccolomini, a mezzo-soprano, will soon return to Opera Leipzig to reprise her acclaimed Erda in Das Rheingold following her role debut with the company last year. She also makes her debut with Nederlandse Opera as Erste Norn in Götterdämmerung.

“I loved being surrounded by people who were so full of passion and love for the arts,” she said regarding her time in Hicksville. “I craved to know as much as I could about musical theatre, opera and orchestral music. I remember sight-reading arias over Dan Kristoff’s shoulder as he sat at the piano like it was yesterday.”

— From the Hicksville School District

News

Looking for a place to work on your bedside manner and start a promising new career in the process? Look no farther than your hometown.

The Vocational Education and Extension Board (VEEB), a division of the county that oversees educational facilities such as the Fire Service Academy and EMS Academy, recently transplanted one of its facilities — The School of Practical Nursing — into a new location right in the heart of Hicksville, where they recently held an open house to celebrate their new home.

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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