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Music To Infiltrate Oyster Bay

From June 28 through July 6, 35 aspiring performers will gather in the village of Oyster Bay to take part in the third season of Oyster Bay Music Festival, a nine-day intensive musical immersion and concurrent free live classical music festival. Ranging in age from 11 to 24 and hailing from communities throughout Long Island and greater New York, these high-level classically-trained musicians will spend their days coaching with expert faculty, rehearsing solo and chamber music, and taking seminars on audition preparation, performance psychology, body awareness, and performance presentation.

Unlike other programs for young musicians, however, Oyster Bay Music Festival’s students spend the greater part of each day performing for the community. The festival hosts 20 public events during the week as well as six programs at senior centers and several “pop-up” concerts in the village, including daily performances at Gulden’s Cafe, a local favorite.

“Our students perform a lot, often twice a day,” says Lauren Ausubel, co-director and flutist. “This gives them unparalleled opportunity to develop their performance skills, to get comfortable in front of an audience, and to realize that, without the audience, there is no concert.”

Unique to Oyster Bay Music Festival is its dedication to the art of performance and the revival of classical music as a vital part of community.

“As performers and teachers we continually confront the perception that classical music performances are stuffy and inaccessible,” says co-director Pippa Borisy, pianist and director of the Great Neck Music Conservatory. “We want to create an experience of live performance, rooted in the community of Oyster Bay, that is fun, enlightening, and full of surprises.”

Classical music will appear in unexpected places over the course of the week: top among them might arguably be Oyster Bay’s famed Cruise Night on Tuesday, July 9, where Steinway & Sons will park a concert grand in front of 20th Century Cycles for a program called “Vintage Cars, Vintage Music;” a concert titled “Classical, with Attitude” featuring musical collaborations with special guests from Eglevsky Ballet at Christ Church on July 2; or a favorite family event from last year called “Clarinets, Clavichords and...Cucumbers?,” a concert and “vegetable orchestra” workshop with Dale Stuckenbruck at Raynham Hall Museum on Saturday, July 5.

OBMF partners with Oyster Bay Historical Society to present “Dead Composers, Living Musicians,” classical music masterpieces performed with youthful insight and vigor, on Monday, June 30; and “Your Roots are Showing: Folk Traditions in Classical Music” on Wednesday, July 2. At Raynham Hall Museum OBMF features French music, “Après-midi in the Salon,” on Thursday, July 3.

An early musical celebration of Independence Day takes place at Christ Church on July 3 with a program called “I Hear America Singing.” New this year is the Festival’s interest in the natural wonders of North Shore Long Island: an open “Found Sounds” Jamboree and Instrument Making Workshop at Beekman Beach at 2 p.m. on July 4 and “Songs of the Sea,” classical music inspired by the sea nestled beside the beautiful Ida May Project on Saturday, July 5 at The Waterfront Center.

 The festival kicks off on June 28 at Christ Church with “Upbeat,” an Opening Festival Concert and Reception; and ends in the same location with a concert entitled “A Fitting Coda” on July 6. All concerts are free and designed for all ages.

Co-director Sarah Hoover, soprano, professor at Hofstra University and music journalist, has long recognized the need to reach out in new directions. “If classical music is going to remain a viable art form, not just in urban centers and established concert halls, all of us who perform and teach performers must build real relationships with our audiences.”  

To build these connections, festival directors and students will share anecdotes and engaging “musical game shows” during concerts, and students will be coached in how to talk with audiences and write their own program notes.

“What we can share are the stories about classical music – about the compositions, the composers, the time period, the people who performed or heard the music,” says Hoover. “These stories help us see how relevant and alive classical music still is today. They are our own stories.”

News

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



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