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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

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.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

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

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



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