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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

Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.

Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”

The Common Core results are in and overall the district performed reasonably well according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Marianne Litzman at Sept. 17's school board meeting.

“The students in grades 3-8 performed wonderfully in some areas but there were also some challenges,” said Litzman. “Overall as a district we performed above average for the County and State levels.”


Sports

It seemed to happen in an instant.

Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.

It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”

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! 


Calendar

Community Council Meeting

October 2

Indoor Garage Sale

October 5

Movie: God’s Not Dead

October 5



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