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Teacher Goes Out With A Twist And Shout

The Roosevelt Elementary School spring concert wore a veil of sadness this year when it was announced that after serving 39 years for the district, the famously adored Robert Stern has decided to make this year his last. If Stern’s goal was to go out on top, he has certainly exceeded that mark with this year’s concert topping the best of the best.

The concert played tribute to Broadway, with second graders singing “Sunrise, Sunset,” from Fiddler on the Roof, Beethoven with first-graders perfuming “Ode to Joy,” and The Beatles for the grand finale performance.

“I’ve learned never to underestimate a 6-year-old,” Stern said, before he introduced the coming number, “Young at Heart,” in the style of Frank Sinatra. Stern went on to tell the story of how when asked about the kind of music they listened to, one, otherwise reserved, student piped up that they liked Frank Sinatra, so he decided to include it in this year’s performance.

PTA President, Jennifer Scamell, thanked Stern for his contributions over the years. She described Stern’s concert as a “complete” concert in which he would delight us with music spanning multiple generations and covering a variety of genres. Rather than simply introduce the next number, Stern would typically share an anecdote and transport the audience back to the place and time where the song was originally heard.

“There is no concert like a Mr. Stern concert,” said Scamell.

On a similar note, PTA Vice-President, Jenn Isles remarked, “While we are happy for Mr. Stern, we are sad for ourselves, because there never has been nor will there ever be another Mr. Stern.”

For the finale performance, Stern described a scene at Shea Stadium in 1965 which permanently altered the course of music, when Ed Sullivan introduced--the Beatles. In a hot gymnasium in a school celebrating its 50th anniversary, Stern went on to introduce, “The Beatles,” as four second-grade students ran out with plastic  guitars and played the part of John, Paul, George and Ringo amidst squeals of delight from their back-up singers.

Stern has surprised his audience in a myriad of ways over the years, but this year, the staff and students at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary had a surprise for him. As he was about to dismiss the students, Roosevelt Principal, Gina Faust, took hold of the microphone and informed the audience there was yet one more number to be performed unbeknownst to their music teacher and up until that moment the master of ceremonies. Faust then guided the students as they sang “Happy Trails To You,” while swaying and waving a banner that read, “We Love You Mr. Stern.”

News

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



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