The weather outside was frightful, but the gala inside was delightful as 250 guests braved the cold, driving rain to celebrate the centennial of Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. The house was decked out in its finest, with an enormous Christmas tree at the entrance. As guests walked past lighted garlands, waiters with silver trays of chilled champagne flanked both sides of the hallway leading to the great room, where music filled with house from the newly restored Steinway piano.
Over the years, Long Island has fostered a wide variety of musicians spanning various genres—including everyone from Billy Joel and Public Enemy to Brand New and Blue Oyster Cult. This trend continues strong today. Currently, there are hundreds of musicians littered across the island. Among them is East Norwich pop singer Steven Rodriguez.
Originally from Brentwood, Rodriguez moved to East Norwich after serving in the US Navy. Upon arriving home from service, Rodriguez’s friend heard him singing and encouraged him to pursue music more seriously.
“When I returned home from the Navy, a good friend heard me singing one day and encouraged me to sing with a band his friend was putting together.”
Outgoing Long Island Museum Association (LIMA) President Philip Blocklyn announced at their annual meeting that LIMA will offer three professional development grants in 2014 to support member organizations in sending professional staff to conferences, workshops and seminars, whether national, regional, or local in scope.
“The grants are designed," Blocklyn said, “to encourage all of us in the museum association to make professional development a part of our missions.”
The application process and procedures will be available to member organizations in January.
To enter Raynham Hall on any given day is to step back in time. A recent Sunday, however, had visitors experiencing an especially poignant glimpse into life as it was during the Victorian age as Michael Goudket performed an uncanny portrayal of the infamous Dickens’ character, Ebeneezer Scrooge.
“Storytelling was one of the main sources of entertainment for people in those days,” said Goudket.
It therefore seems fitting that the art of storytelling be experienced in the Victorian parlor of the museum with one of the era’s most popular novellas, A Christmas Carol.
There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with music, and critically acclaimed pianist Stan Wiest will be hosting a holiday sing-a-long at Locust Valley Library to help get everyone in the mood on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Wiest has been playing piano since he was 5 years old, and now, at age 69, has recorded his first CD; an album that has been so well-received, it is a top seller on Amazon.com. The talented pianist spent much of his early career traveling and says he played every supper club in Manhattan, while also working full time on a TV soap opera. To promote his album, his local circuit also includes a presentation at Forest Books in Glen Cove on Dec. 12.
About 30 years ago, Wiest stopped traveling to be with his wife and kids and has been running a music entertainment business in Fort Salonga. Now, with his new album, he’s back on the road, something he never expected to happen at this point in his life.
It was a cold night for the annual Menorah lighting at the Derby Hall Bandstand last Monday. The event, which is sponsored by the Oyster Bay Civic Association, was well attended though, with Oyster Bay Jewish Center’s Rabbi Marvin Demant leading the crowd in cheerful Chanukah songs.
“Every year we gather at the gazebo to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah,” said Rabbi Demant. “It is actually very special this year because Thanksgiving and Chanukah will overlap for the first time in almost 100 years.”
It takes a great deal of organization to run the annual Holiday Sharing Program of CSAC, the Community Social Action Committee. Rows of cardboard boxes were set up on tables in the Parish Hall of First Presbyterian Church on Sunday night, Nov. 24. One hundred sets of boxes, that fit just right at two boxes per family, were in the process of being filled with the makings of Thanksgiving dinners on Monday, Nov. 25. The CSAC Holiday Sharing Program offers food certificates or food baskets to needy families and individuals living in the OB-EN community through community support, in an inter-religious community effort working with local agencies, churches and schools to identify those in need.
First Presbyterian Church is a hub of activity in November as it holds its annual Victorian Fair and holiday luncheon, on Nov. 22 and 23, traditionally the start of the holidays in Oyster Bay.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, as the hall was being set up for the Victorian Fair, we asked if the rummage sale would be in the basement again. Isa Gutierrez said, “Oh, no. It’s our Granny’s Attic sale, we don’t call it a Rummage Sale.”
True, the Episcopalians, across the street at Christ Church, call it a Rummage Sale, following their English tradition. The Presbyterians have Scottish roots, which was evident on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 1. “It is our St. Andrew’s Day Worship, it is close to the actual day, and in keeping with the church’s Scottish roots, people will wear tartan plaids. It’s done in many Presbyterian churches,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Prey.
On a crisp November evening, more than 200 people arrived at Chelsea Mansion in East Norwich for the Long Island Jewish Community Relations Council Holiday Party, "Multicultural Visions, Artists Exploring Identity." People from all ethnic and religious walks of life mingled under the heated tent viewing art from six local artists, equally as diverse.
There was Stanley Covington, an African American artist from Hempstead; Paul Kolker, a Jewish doctor, lawyer, and artist from Westbury; Rene Efi Hakimian, a Persian Jew from Great Neck; Simon Zareh a Jewish Iranian art collector from Rosyln; Lisbeh Herrera, a Nicaraguan American artist from Bayshore (her husband and children were present but not the artist); and Manu Kaur Saluja, a Sikh artist from Old Brookville now living in Queens. While guests and many politicians viewed the magnificent art and chatted with the artists, the background was filled with beautiful music played by high school students from Suffolk County Asian American Advisory Board Orchestra. Talk about diversity.
Oyster Bay remembered its veterans by laying wreaths at the American Legion and VFW monuments in front of Town Hall West on Nov. 11. While the number of veterans attending is decreasing, the need to remember them is even more important. Quentin Roosevelt American Legion Post No. 4 Commander Reginald Butt, Jr. said the veteran group goes to schools to speak to the children about what the veterans have done.
“There is a lot of history they don’t teach,” he said. “We go to schools and do flag presentations and say things to students even the young teacher’s don’t know. Every Memorial Day we hold an event here, so we can all remember those veterans.”
This year on Veterans Day, Commander Butt talked about the toll of suicide on returning veterans.
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