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Sister Act: Return Of The Divas

Hicksville residents celebrated iconic female singers this past weekend during a live concert at the Hicksville Public Library.

“Sister Act: A Salute to Legendary Divas” is made up of two actual sisters, Andrea Giammalvo and Celeste Santini. The sisters dressed up in costume and sang the songs of famous female vocalists of the past.

The performance was originally written as a school performance with the intent to educate students about the journey of women in music. “We wanted kids to know who these great ladies are and how these women paved the road for the great ladies of today such as Beyoncé,” said Giammalvo.

During the show, the sisters performed music as early as Billie Holiday in the 1940s, to more recent hits from the 1990s.

There were a great number of people in the audience who had previously seen “Sister Act”. “We have some groupies, which is so cool,” said Giammalvo.

One fan of “Sister Act” has seen the duo perform at least 10 times. The first time Brenda Zysberg saw the sisters perform was about seven years ago.

“Each show gets better and better,” said Zysberg. “They are extremely talented ladies and they put on a beautiful show.”

Zysberg keeps coming back for more shows because of the great talent of the two performers. “They have wonderful voices and the variety of the songs they sing is beautiful,” she said.

Members of the audience were singing and even dancing along to the songs, including Bernadette Davidock. It was her first time watching the “Sister Act” performance, and she was impressed with what she saw. “I would pay to see them,” Davidock said. “These girls are very talented. They have professional voices.”

The older songs brought back memories to Davidock, who grew up in the 1950s. “I loved all the Broadway songs, and all the rock and roll 1950s and 1960s music that they sang,” she said.

The best part about performing ”Sister Act” is working with her sister, according to Giammalvo. “She’s the best,” she said. “We truly get along. There is no faking it.”

The performance is part of the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Community Youth Services, Cultural and Performing Arts Division. Giammalvo and Santini perform at libraries, private parties, schools, as well as fundraisers.

The sisters became involved with the town when they first began performing this act 15 years ago. “Every year we wind up in the Distinguished Artists concert series for them,” said Giammalvo. “It’s been great. We’ve been blessed to work for our local neighbors on Long Island.”

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