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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

On Nov. 10, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of a beautiful new two-story house in Hicksville. However, while new dwellings are an ordinary occurrence on Long Island, this one was unique and special in a way that very few are.

The house at 77 Thorman Ave. was built in memory of Navy Lieutenant and posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Michael P. Murphy, a Long Island native who tragically died in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2005. However, this house represents more than just the dedicated service of a man to his country; it represents the beginning of a new life full of hope for a brother-in-arms and his family as well.

Commuting to work via train is exasperating and expensive—add on the stress of parking and the threat of tickets, and it becomes madness.

At the Hicksville Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station, there are 2,603 total spots, which includes 1,440 in the town parking garage. Of the total spots, 1,531 are permit spots and 618 are unrestricted, according to the Town of Oyster Bay public information office. Though that sounds like plenty, the sheer volume of passengers commuting from the station makes every morning a mad dash for parking.


Sports

Football was Mike Torrellas’ heart and soul. He also liked a good Turkey Bowl.  

Unfortunately, the Hicksville Crusaders co-founder wasn’t able to witness the program’s inaugural event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 8.

Torrellas passed away suddenly last December due to a blood clot, but the spirit and drive of the man who wore the number 53 and tragically passed at that age still surrounds the Crusaders football program.

The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers putting up their fists for funds will be Hicksville business owner Mell Goldman, who will be fighting under the nickname “The Kid.”  

Goldman is the President of All Boro Cleaning Services. He stated that he was enticed at the opportunity and wanted to contribute to charity.


Calendar

Fall Drama Production

November 20-22

Blood Drive

November 24

Christmas Holiday Fair

November 24



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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