This weekend, the North Shore Vikings Masquers Club is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a special gala, an event that will include more than 140 alumni, students and a 36-piece orchestra, promising to be a spectacular experience.
“We are celebrating five decades with a unique American art form,” says David Soto, band director of the North Shore High School.
The gala was conceived as a way to celebrate 50 years of musicals on the North Shore stage and raise funds to revive the Summer Theater Workshop, which ran for 42 years before funding was cut from the school budget.
The event honors the Viking Masquers troupe founding advisors: director Bruce Mooney, music director Bennett Lentczner and technical director Robert Hooban. The program begun by these three dedicated teachers has given thousands of students hands-on experience in hundreds of productions and has launched numerous careers in the performing arts. But even graduates who have chosen other careers credit their Masquers experiences with teaching them important life lessons about the value of working hard under deadline pressure, improvising, collaborating, making do with limited resources and being resilient.
Soto disclosed that there will be three acts, each one representing a different era of the high school’s Masquers club. The first act will be conducted by renowned music educator and retired North Shore Band Director Bennett Lentczner; the second act by retired North Shore Band Director Jeremy Kempton, and Soto will conduct the third act. Vocal music direction is by retired choral director Stephen Goldstein and current choral director Michael Kerschner, assisted by guest vocal director Laurel Stinson. The director is current theater teacher Michael Kleba.
“This once in a lifetime extravaganza provides an opportunity for kids to interact with former crew members and graduates,” says Soto.
The show is on Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the NSHS theater; a pre-show dinner will take place at 5:45 p.m. in the NSHS cafeteria.
Rick Bloom, president of the nonprofit booster club Arts Angels, who is also House Manager for the gala, explains that the volunteer organization was formed in 1994, a couple of years after the first contingency budget and was created to support all of the arts programs in the district.
The club was started by a small group of parents who share the belief that education in the arts is essential to education. This year’s membership includes more than 120 households. The club advocates for the arts programs that remain a vital part of the North Shore experience in the three elementary schools, middle school and high school. Over the past decade, Arts Angels has raised many thousands of dollars to enhance programs, by funding master classes or purchasing equipment and supplies not covered by the school budgets.
“It’s important for kids to get exposure to the arts,” says Bloom. When they are exposed to various arts programs, he says, “Kids often find a home in a high school where they had felt adrift. We do whatever we can to support the programs.”
Arts Angels is an official booster club of the North Shore School District, and is governed by a volunteer 12-member board of directors who serve one-year terms
“Members of Arts Angels are present at every school concert, selling roses and chocolate stars to honor student performers, and to raise awareness of our advocacy for arts programs. We volunteer our expertise in supporting fine and performing arts programs, most visibly in the theater program where in addition to assisting with technical aspects of the district’s three productions, we provide on-line box office services,” says Julia Brennan, producer and creative director for the gala.
Other Arts Angels volunteers for the gala include Melinda Bloom, technical director, and Gina Martone Brown, who is organizing the pre-show dinner along with Artie Stein, from the class of ‘63.
Other annual activities of the Arts Angels include distributing student-designed luggage tags (popular for music instrument cases,) hosting a make-your-own tutu booth at the Sea Cliff Mini-Marts, organizing a student art show and book fair during the winter holidays at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, hosting a pre-show Spotlight Dinner in the cafeteria before the annual High School musical performance, recognizing district teachers for their support of the arts in an Honor-A-Teacher program and assisting the fine and performing arts department in organizing special student appreciation events.
Randy Blaun, a graduate of NSHS who lives in New York City, is excited to be a part of the gala. She says she was in every production - and often the star of the show- that took place during her four years, and four summers, at North Shore. She is particularly excited to be a part of the show that pays tribute to Mooney, her former drama teacher.
“It is a terrific program,” she says, noting that there was “a prodigious output” under Mooney, including actor Michael McKean who will be making a special video appearance during the gala. Also performing will be Kate Mckinnon, an’02 graduate and cast member on Saturday Night Live.
“This will be a whirling dynamo of theater,” Blaun says.
Purchase tickets, make a donation or buy a program ad at: www.Masquers50thGala.org.
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
Local residents were out in full force at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting at Glen Cove City Hall in opposition of a new 7-11 convenience store that is set to be built at the corner of 4th Street and Cedar Swamp Road. According to Stuart Grossman, chairman of the Zoning Board, the meeting was officially supposed to be focused on sign variances for the new store, but residents wanted to make sure their voices were heard.
New York State Assemblyman and Frost Pond Road resident Michael Montesano said that he hopes the board will deny the application for the new 7-11 because of the traffic impact and light pollution the new store will create.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, many in costume, a new addition to the popular event. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date, Daphne, a 3-month-old long-haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.
“This is a splendid event to celebrate Coe Hall and Planting Fields; everything looks so wonderful in the summer,” said Joyce. “The gardens are glorious and we have a new exhibition to celebrate and it’s just so lovely to be out here in these gardens.”
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) is holding its 34th Annual R. Brinkley Smithers Golf Invitational, a charity tournament, on Monday, Sept. 22, at The Creek and Piping Rock Clubs in Locust Valley.
This year, LICADD will have Kristin Thorne, Emmy Award Winning WABC-TV news reporter and personality joining them as Emcee and Auctioneer. The live auction boasts playing opportunities at some of the country’s top golf courses, along with dozens of silent auction and raffle prizes to please the most discriminating of tastes.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
All athletes interested in putting their bodies to the ultimate test can hop on over to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay, which will once again be the site of Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at Roosevelt Park.