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Concert Benefits Youth

The fourth annual Christmas Concert was held last month at the Community United Methodist Church in East Norwich. The concert was a benefit for the local Youth & Family Counseling Agency, and concert-goers brought generous donations of canned goods and new children’s toys for those in need within the local community. Pastor Nelson Kalombo Ngoy gave a warm welcome to the audience, which filled the church to capacity. He also called for a moment of silence and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday, Dec. 5. Linda Gier spoke about the concert beneficiary, Youth & Family Counseling Agency, located in Oyster Bay, but a great resource to surrounding communities as well.

This concert celebrated Christmas carols and hymns from around the world. Each piece was introduced by ensemble members, giving the audience some of the history behind each Christmas carol. The Long Island Zither Ensemble (LIZE), under the direction of Kathryn Prinz, was first on the program. They gave a lovely instrumental performance of several Christmas Carols including: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing;” the Austrian carol “Still, Still, Still;” “Home for the Holidays,” “Silver Bells,” “A German Christmas Carol Medley,” and the traditional Polish carol called “Lullaby, Jesus.”

LIZE members include: Lynn Benov, concert zither (Seaford); Mia Karlberg-Levin, concert zither (Oyster Bay); Nancy Marshall, chorded zither (Mill Neck); Don Offinger, altzither (Norwalk, CT); and Kathryn Prinz, concert zither (Oyster Bay). The zither instrument first evolved from folk instruments in Bavaria and Austria in the early 1800s, then in the mid-1800s, the modern “concert zither” was developed into a fully chromatic instrument. It is a plucked instrument with a fret board, similar to guitar, and accompaniment strings, similar to those of a harp. LIZE holds weekly rehearsals in Oyster Bay and welcomes interested beginners to join them.

This concert marked the second year anniversary of performances for the Oyster Bay Flute Choir (OBFC). The adult flutists have come together from various backgrounds and experience, but all share a love of playing flute. The Oyster Bay Flute Choir played beautifully. Performing members were: Tami Carchietta (Oyster Bay); Kerry McDonnell (East Norwich); and music director Kathryn Prinz (Oyster Bay). The music played by the OBFC included: “Up on the Housetop;” a Flemish carol called “The Three Kings;” the traditional American carol “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas;” the Puerto Rican carol “Pastores a Belén,” and “Jingle Bells.” The Oyster Bay Flute Choir also welcomes interested adult members, former flutists, and aspiring flutists as well.

The Flute Magic! Flute Ensemble, consisting of school-age flutists from fifth grade to 12th grade, gave a very impressive performance, demonstrating their musical skill and young professionalism. The flutists are students of Kathryn Prinz at the Prinz Music Studio in Oyster Bay, and attend school at the Oyster Bay/East Norwich, Jericho, Syosset, and Locust Valley schools. The ensemble performed many holiday favorites, including: the English carol “The First Noel;” “Carol of the Bagpipers,” an Italian carol; “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” A trio of flutists performed a jazz interpretation of the traditional English carol “Good King Wenceslas” called “Good King Wenceslas Freaked Out.” The trio was a special treat to hear and consisted of: Victoria Carchietta, Gigi Grady, and J.J. Greenberg. The Flute Magic! Flute Ensemble members include: Victoria Carchietta, Sophia Castiglione, Jessica Duggan, Sara Farrell, Gigi Grady, J.J. Greenberg, Zosia Lemaitre, Maggie McNamara, Kaitlin Pellechia, Carolyn Poppe, Julia Poppe, Kyra Tosi, and Tammy Wu.

The combined Oyster Bay Flute Choir and Flute Magic! Flute Ensemble also performed “Danse de Mirlitons” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, which was absolutely one of the concert highlights for the performers and audience alike. The concert finale was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and included all the musicians: the Long Island Zither Ensemble, Oyster Bay Flute Choir, and Flute Magic! Flute Ensemble.

The audience also had the opportunity to join in with the Christmas music, as they sang several Christmas hymns in between the ensemble performances. The audience was accompanied by church organist, Jeannine Margiotta.

Refreshments were served after the concert, with the assistance of Community United Methodist Church members, and were a sweet ending to a lovely afternoon of Christmas music. Many people were heard saying they felt moved by the spirit of Christmas throughout the concert.

The concert program was a heartfelt and joy-filled celebration enjoyed by all, and has quickly become a favorite annual Christmas event within the community.

The Community United Methodist Church is located at1310 Oyster Bay Road (Rte 106, one block south of 25A) in East Norwich. For information contact the church office at 516-922-0133.

Youth & Family Counseling Agency accepts food, unwrapped toys, and financial donations throughout the year. Contact their office for more information at: 516-922-686 or on the web at:

For more information on the Long Island Zither Ensemble, Oyster Bay Flute Choir, or Flute Magic! Ensemble programs, contact Kathryn Prinz, Prinz Music Studio, at 516-522-1230 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .