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Local Youth in Beatles’ Songfest

Sadowsky Performs Beatles’ Classics; Next Stop, European Tour

The Beatles might have broken up 40 years ago, but the music has never faded from memory. Beatles music is as popular as ever, a fact dramaticized not only by Paul McCartney’s successful concerts at CitiField last summer, but in such local events as “Long Island Sings The Beatles.”

The latter event took place on Jan. 30 at The Dix Hills Performing Arts Center and the John Lennon Center for Music and Technology. It featured the best of Long Island high school vocal talent and a few college students, singing popular Beatles hits.

In order to perform, high school students from across Long Island all sent in demo CDs of themselves singing Beatles songs.

These entries were reviewed by a panel comprised of music industry figures and the Five Towns College Music Department faculty. Out of approximately 50 acts selected for audition, 10 were ultimately invited to take the stage Jan. 30.

Needless to say, the performing arts center was packed with up to 580 people in attendance.

“It was one of the best shows I ever saw,” said Fred Gelfand, a music industry veteran who produced the event. “It was sensational. We had a very good mix of songs and people.”

Among those performing was Leonard Sadowsky of Massapequa. Lenny performed the George Harrison classic, While My Guitar Gently Weeps along with the even more famous Yesterday, an acoustic standard written by Paul McCartney, a song that has been covered by countless artists throughout the decades and one that Frank Sinatra once singled out as the best-written song he had heard in years.

Lenny, who is a student at Massapequa High School, was accompanied by his father, who also played guitar during his performance.

Lenny, who also described the performance as a big thrill for him, said that his interest in The Beatles came from his parents, but especially his mother, who he described being a “huge” Beatles fan and someone “obsessed with Paul McCartney.”

Lenny comes from a musical family. He said his own inspiration to play guitar came from his father, who, he added, is a guitarist whose tastes run from Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix. Lenny and his father have been performing together on Long Island since Lenny was 15. The two have played at coffee houses, bars and restaurants, including the Nautical Mile in Freeport.

Another inspiration for Lenny has been his great-grandparents, both of whom were opera singers.

This summer, Lenny will be part of a prestigious tour, “Sounds of America,” an honor band and honor chorus that tours and performs together.

Sounds of America will spend 20 days in Europe, performing at the great cathedrals on the continent in France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Italy.

Each participant in “Long Island Sings The Beatles” received a music CD and DVD video of all the evening’s performances, and will also receive a $250 scholarship toward tuition at Five Towns College, should they choose to attend the school after graduating from high school. Students selected range in age from just 9 years old to 18.

Other performances in the remarkable successful program included:

• Kara Arena of Wantagh singing I’ve Just Seen a Face and Eleanor Rigby. She was accompanied by Victor and Peter Arena

• Michael Janover, A.J. Sammartino, Tom Bauer and Nick Conversano of Islip Terrace, performing Nowhere Man and You’re Gonna Lose That Girl,

• Samile Roberty of Brentwood singing Across the Universe and Hello Goodbye, accompanied by Ron Pace and Michael Sharp,

• Alana Rose Henriquez of Brentwood singing In My Life and Let it Be, also accompanied by Pace and Sharp,

• Desiree Rapp of Brentwood singing I Want to Hold Your Hand, accompanied again by Pace and Sharp,

• Corondi Kingsberry singing Penny Lane accompanied by Eddie Aguilar and Nicholas Shann,

• Ted Rosendale and Mark Kinzler of Melville singing Girl, and I Will Get You in the End.