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Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot - Schools

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.”