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American Idol Comes To Albertson

Elise Testone performs at Reach for a Star Luncheon

The annual Reach for a Star Luncheon at the Henry Viscardi School is always a major event, raising important funds for this nationally renowned institution. This year’s event was a particular special event in that Elise Testone, a 2012 American Idol finalist was able to perform. 

Performing in front of an appreciative crowd of over 350 guests, plus students, parents and faculty members, Testone helped to make the 31st annual luncheon a significant event. Testone performed her own material, plus a rendition of the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me.” As with any great performer, Testone included student participation during that number.  Afterwards, Testone toured the school in December and jammed with one of the music classes.

Proceeds from the luncheon, Henry Viscardi officials note, fund after-school clubs, sports and activities that give the students the opportunity to socialize with their friends and continue the lessons learned during the school day. One of those activities is Friday Night Rec. Or in the words of Chris, a ninth grader attending the Henry Viscardi School, “You can always tell when it is a Friday Night Rec day by the smiles on the kids faces.” 

“Our after-school programs encourage kids to take chances, be bold, act like leaders, work as a team, cultivate school spirit and give back to their supporting communities,” added John D. Kemp, president and CEO of The Viscardi Center during his remarks at the luncheon. “These experiences also let them dream big. Their dreams include being a football player, business owner, doctor, and fashion designer to quote a few.”

The day was a homecoming of sorts of Testone as she is a native of New Jersey and once had a voice coach from New York City. A graduate of Coastal Carolina University, Testone remained in South Carolina and began performing in bands and writing her own songs. In the summer of 2011, Testone auditioned for American Idol, earning a spot to the finals. In her nationally-televised debut, she performed songs as different as Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Billy Joel’s “Vienna” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Testone received praise from Stevie Nicks and Jennifer Lopez, even though famed record producer Jimmy Iovine criticized her choice of songs. But none of that looks to slow down Testone’s career as she made numerous admirers in the record industry and as important, with a nationwide audience. 


News

The Raise The Roof Concert, held at Christ Church on Nov. 9, was an intergenerational event to benefit the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s seniors.

Board member Suzanne Paolucci explained the center’s wish to get iPods for the seniors as a source of musical therapy. She brought the idea to the center from a talk by social worker Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory. He has produced a film, Alive Inside, that tells the story of music as being restorative. Music is like therapy for the elderly, in particular for those with dementia, as it has been shown to awaken memories of happier times in life, when energy and enthusiasm were boundless.

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.


Sports

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



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