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Beatles, Blues And Everything Between

Hicksville resident shares musical talent,

success and passion with community

Music has always been a part of Hicksville resident Ronnie D’Addario’s life. Born and raised in the Theater District of Manhattan, D’Addario grew up surrounded by music, as his father played the saxophone and horns for The Four Seasons and Frank Sinatra and his mother was a talented piano player and singer.

“But on Feb. 9, 1964, everything changed,” said D’Addario. “I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and that was it. Music became my passion then.”

That summer, his mother bought him his first guitar – and he became obsessed. He started writing and recording songs immediately. He wrote his first song “Please Don’t Make Me Blue” at just 11. This marked the beginning of his long and successful musical career, one in which he crossed paths with many notable names in the entertainment industry.

“The first famous person that I knew pretty well was the director and actor Otto Preminger,” D’Addario reminisced. “My mom worked for him for 25 years and there were always celebrities in and out of the office.”

He met many musicians while playing with Clancy Brothers member Tommy Makem at Makem’s New York City club, Makem’s Irish Pavilion. Among these musicians were Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Bono and Eric Clapton. D’Addario also played with Tommy Makem on PBS Television specials and made an appearance with him on the Rosie O’Donnell Show.

About 10 years ago, D’Addario moved to Hicksville, where he now lives with his wife, Susan Hall, and their two children, Brian, 15, and Michael, 13. D’Addario’s success as a musician and Susan’s history as an actress sparked their son’s involvement in music and acting. Brian has been successful on Broadway, playing roles such as Gavroche in “Les Misérables” and Flounder in “The Little Mermaid.” Michael starred in the feature films “People Like Us” and “Sinister.”

In addition to acting, D’Addario’s sons are heavily passionate for music, showing talent both instrumentally and vocally.

“Their resumes are pretty impressive,” said D’Addario. “My wife and I are very supportive.”

D’Addario now works at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, where he has applied his skills as a musician and recording artist for the past decade. The high school releases two musical albums each academic year, and it is D’Addario’s job to guide students musically and lyrically. He then produces recordings of the songs and puts them on the albums.

“[The students] are thrilled with the results,” said D’Addario. “They gain experience and confidence, and they enjoy their first time in a recording studio.”

Although he’s busy raising his family and working at Kellenberg, D’Addario continues to share his music with others. He is a member of a successful local Irish band called The Irish Mist, with which he plays many gigs at various local restaurants and pubs. D’Addario also has three albums that are for sale online and he is currently halfway through writing his fourth album.

And though the times may be a-changing, D’Addario doesn’t seem too fazed.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing – raising my children, writing songs and playing gigs,” he said.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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