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OBHS Presents Spirituals And Christmas Spirit

A lovely way to begin the holiday season with a nod toward history

This was the sixth year the Oyster Bay Historical Society has preceded its holiday party with a concert at the Hood African American Episcopal Church in Oyster Bay. Last year and again this year, they brought the Hempstead A Cappella Ensemble directed by Hildyne Bowen to perform in concert. They come together from a variety of churches and denominations to share their love of singing, and their love of Negro Spirituals from their African-American heritage. Ms. Bowen said the spirituals were the gift of the African-Americans that she said, “were created out of the souls of our enslaved ancestors with a biblical message.” They are about running away to freedom; sorrow songs; and rejoicing songs, telling of a life better than slavery as they longed for freedom.

The concert worked up to the toe-tapping, hand-clapping spiritual “Every Time I Feel The Spirit.” It was followed by the poignant and sorrowful “Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name.” Bowen talked about the syncopation in the songs with a beat that came from Africa. It was a heritage they brought here even though they were bought here under force into slavery, “They couldn’t take away the soul or the heart of the Africans. It was a holocaust,” she said. The songs were all they could do and so it contained hidden messages of stealing away to freedom and messages of a better life.

The second part of the concert featured Christmas songs. It ended as Ms. Bowen led the entire congregation and ensemble in singing “Silent Night.”

OBHS executive director had invited everyone to walk down to the Earle Wightman House and walk on through it to the Koenig Center where the new exhibit was on view and a buffet dinner was ready. The evening was unseasonably warm and the guests were able to stroll down to 20 Summit Street to see the new exhibit: “Miniatures: Doll Houses, Little Rooms and Childhood Treasures” at the Koenig Center. 

There was the model of the North Room of Sagamore Hill; a model of the two period rooms in the Earle-Wightman house; and a 1922 dollhouse that belonged to Polly Weeks of Oyster Bay that was donated by her daughter Ellen Nicoll who grew up here. 

Guests enjoyed seeing them and the children’s clothing, children’s books and seeing samplers made by children. The food was delicious and the company was very interesting. People chatted about the collection and about things going on locally including a lecture by Barry Rivadue at the North Shore Historical Museum in Glen Cove titled “Hurrah for Hollywood: Long Island II.” Mr. Rivadue talked about Planting Fields being used as the set for the new movie The Ark about the story of Noah. He said they had a rain machine on site, and said the most trouble they had in filming the scenes were the paperazzo hiding in the bushes. 

The OBHS gift shop, Windfall, was open and books were for sale as well as handmade knitted items by Jacqueline Blocklyn including some that can be ordered. There were cards by Elizabeth Roosevelt and some elegant pottery items waiting to find just the right home. Please call for information at 922-5032 or check their website obh.org.

News

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



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