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Editorial: Oyster Bay Be Prepared To Rock!

There has been a change of venue for the reunion of the Oyster Bay High School classes of the late ’60s and early ’70s. It is being billed as the Battle of the Bands and was to take place at the OBHS PAC auditorium but now will take place at the Italian-American Club on Oct. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Maria Santangelo emailed us the information and explained how this idea got started. She wrote:

It all started with Jeff Wasserman... On a sunny spring day in 2011, a former Oyster Bay High School student and professional singer and clarinetist, Kim (Shea) Chamberlain, class of ‘72, was perusing Facebook. Hmm. Let’s check in and see what Jeff Wasserman is up to. Jeff, a fellow musical classmate, appeared to be quite busy and successful as the founding member of Jeffery and the Free Radikals, recording and concertizing throughout Norway, Europe and beyond. Kim clicked on a recent YouTube performance and was amazed. She then recalled how several Oyster Bay alums, had gone on to become professional working musicians, recording artists, and performers.

One simple Facebook post led to another and then led to a fireball of responses from Oyster Bay graduates. The post was, “Remember the Battle of the Bands? Maybe we could have another ‘Battle’ featuring the former musical talent of Oyster Bay High School from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.”

That was all it took to get responses from Oyster Bay musicians from across the country and the globe. From Randy Langione, master guitarist and teacher to John Berenzy, who is listed in the book Who’s Who of Rock‘n’ Roll, to John Bruschini, who has performed in many of the city’s popular clubs and performance spaces, to Nancy Sirianni, who has performed at major festivals: Woodstock ‘99, and Mountain Stage New Song Festival, to name a few, to David Scadin of The Blu Mojo Band, a Rocking six piece blues band with over two decades of playing power, to many more, these former members of Indigo, Manic Depression, and other legendary bands from The Battle of the Bands, decided to come together to carry on the musical tradition that had started four decades ago.

Working tirelessly, behind the scenes, former Oyster Bay students, Maria Santangelo, Scott Becker, Terry Beccarino-Haney, Sandy Sach, Ellen Fleury, and her husband, Matt Harris (musical sound man), Danae Flood and many more, have been planning this event for almost two years. The weekend will include a “Battle of the Bands” Concert on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1-4 p.m. at the Italian American Club and an open mic on Friday night, Oct. 5, at the Homestead.

Highlights will include performances by coloratura soprano, Joan Petrella, traditional jazz by Kim (Shea) Chamberlain, the original music of world-renowned Jeff Wasserman, a folk-tinged set by Todd Evans and Craig Beilharz, blues, rock and more. Be prepared for a high energy jam at the end of the concert and an open mike at the Homestead on Friday, Oct. 5.

Performers/Groups At OBHS Battle Of The Bands

Oct. 6, Italian American Club From 1 To 4 p.m.

1. Bright Moments Jazz Duo- Kim (Shea) Chamberlain (vocals and clarinet) with husband, David Chamberlain (guitar) Years of attendance: 1968-1971.

2. John Berenzy (guitar) Jazz, Blues, Originals. (1971)

3. John Bruschini (guitar) Jazz (Graduated 1971)

4. Manic Depression-Randy Langione (guitar) (1968) Playing with Louie Mayhew (1968) and may be joining John Berenzy

5.  Blu Mojo Band David Scadin (1971) (guitar) (7 piece band)

• Instrumentation and names of band members Rick Jacobs (vocals) Ron Beccarino(drums) Jeff Leoni (keys) Dave Sacrestano (guitar) John Giordino (bass) Dave Scadin (guitar)

6. Todd Evans and Craig Beilharz (1972)

7. Jeff Wasserman- guitarist, vocalist, songwriter (1972) His band is called Jeffery and the Free Radikals, but they are from Norway... so, he is playing solo and with Nancy Sirianni.

8. Joan Petrella Broadway and show tune vocalist (1973)

9. Nancy Sirianni -vocalists and guitarist (1974).

10. Ron Beccarino (drums) backing up many of the above-mentioned bands.

What a great lineup of performers. Just think, they all got their start at OBHS. What a wonderful kudo to all the teachers who helped those students get their start in music.

It all goes to show that Oyster Bay is truly a wonderful place to live, play and go to school.

— DFK