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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

Rhea Manjrekar traded in her running shoes and track shorts for high heels and an evening gown recently, as she participated in the Miss Teen India New York pageant. The 15-year-old from Hicksville snagged the title of first-runner up, and will be competing for the national title in December. 

 

This was Manjrekar’s first time competing in a pageant. But she started out with major doubts about even participating. 

 

 “At first, I didn’t want to do it. I have extreme stage fright. My mom told me to try it out because she thought it would boost my confidence and look good on my college applications, so I went for the practice,” Manjrekar said. “The girls were so nice. I thought I wouldn’t fit in but I made friends immediately so I decided to do it.” 

The parking lot of Sears in Hicksville transformed into a sea of cars this past Saturday as part of the ninth annual Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show. 

 

The show, which was founded by Jericho prostate cancer survivor Sandy Kane, is the only car show on Long Island dedicated to raising funds for research, testing and also education for early detection of prostate cancer. The all-volunteer car show usually draws around 4,000 attendees. It features 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles and more; a perfect day for car enthusiasts and the like.


Sports

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! 

At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.

The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.


Calendar

Board of Ed Meeting - September 17

Back To School Night - September 18

Pasta Dinner Fundraiser - September 20


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