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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

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.

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”


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