2003-06-27 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Join Us At The USO Gala
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting with Chapey


Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic Dis­trict Leader and Frances Abbracia­mento are taking the USO sign seriously and are planning to attend the USO Gala on Sat­urday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at Floyd Bennett Field.  They hope to see you there.Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic Dis­trict Leader and Frances Abbracia­mento are taking the USO sign seriously and are planning to attend the USO Gala on Sat­urday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at Floyd Bennett Field.  They hope to see you there.

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Join Us At The USO Gala

Please gather your family, friends and neighbors to join us at the thrilling and exhilarating USO Gala on Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $40.00.

Barbara Eisenstadt, the vivacious President of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council, noted that "this rendezvous with history will be a stellar occasion combining the efforts and talents of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Rockaway Music and Arts Council, the Rockaway Theater Company and the Historic Aviation Restoration Project (HARP).  From the big band music of the Rainbow Room in New York City to the County Tyrone Bag Pipes, to the Andrew Sisters - you won’t want to miss this dazzling event while also supporting these organizations. Hope to see you on Saturday evening at Floyd Bennett and Sunday at 6 P.M. at Fort Tilden for the Roadhouse Country Band - a fun filled evening of music and dancing."

Nancy Vardakis, our effervescent and energetic chairwoman of Saturday’s event, invited everyone to come over to Floyd Bennett and enjoy a spectacular evening. Nancy pointed out that people in the community equate the Rockaway Music and Arts Council with quality, value and enjoyment.  "People are appreciative of the programs offered by RMAC and the Rockaway Theater Company. The funds generated by the Floyd Bennett event will go toward supporting the RMAC’s school programs and the free summer concerts in the park.  Through the RMAC school music program (during the last academic year) two schools in our district were chosen to participate in a city wide musical competition at Lincoln Center.  The RMAC school program is opening new horizons for our school children.  So come to our USO Gala at Floyd Bennett. Enjoy a wonderful event.  Step back in history and be a part of this historic event while generating funds for the important and vital RMAC programs."

Sharon Gabriel, an RMAC Board member, found that "we know that this Gala will be a fantastic event. In addition, it honors service men and women who are serving and did serve in our Armed Forces for their heroic service to our country."

Twelve years ago, in 1989, we held the last USO show. It was an overwhelming and resounding success.  People of all ages and from all walks of life came together.  Now we have a chance to re-live this era once again.

Floyd Bennett was New York’s first airport. Prior to the construction of Floyd Bennett Field, there was a small airport on the ground called Barren Island Airport, which was operated in the 1920’s.  Then on January 22, 1936 Mayor LaGuardia signed a 50 year lease by which New York City leased Floyd Bennett Field to the U. S. Coast Guard.  Mayor LaGuardia was present at the dedication services.  Subsequently many historic events took place there. For example, the first helicopter lifesaving operation took off from Floyd Bennett Field, went to Battery Park in Manhattan to load the plasma and proceeded to Sandy Hook.

Through the endeavors of the Historic Aviation Restoration Project in Hanger B, we will be able to see the authentic restored planes and an ambulance from World War II. Our USO show will be on the grounds where pilots such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post, Wrong Way Corrigan and Howard Hughes made their voyages. The field will be transformed into a park-like setting with decorated illuminated trees. 

John Gilleece, the dynamic and talented director of the Rockaway Theater Company, has informed me that they are presenting a fantastic "Musical Salute to Broadway" on Saturday at Floyd Bennett Field as part of the USO Gala. You will be able to enjoy the Rockaway Theater Company’s outstanding renditions spotlighting "Consider Yourself" from Oliver, "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago, "We’re in the Money" from 42nd Street, "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story, "Luck Be A Lady" from Guys and Dolls, an Andrew Sisters Tribute including a medley and tap dancing and "There’s No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun.

Another highlight of the evening will be the fantastic big band sound of Georgie Gee and his "Make Believe Ballroom" Orchestra coming to us from the posh and highly regarded Rainbow Room. An evening in the Rainbow Room would cost hundreds of dollars and be worth the expense.  Here at the USO show, you will have a chance to dance or just to listen to this sought after orchestra.

The opening ceremony and the color guard will be brought in by the County Tyrone Band. Their invigorating sound really causes people to tap their feet and join in the marching and singing. In addition, the U. S Postal Service will also join in the Gala.  They will present  the "First Flight" Stamp for viewing.

Join us in stepping back in history to the wonderful music of the 1940’s on Saturday evening.

John Musumeci, the very talented, dedicated and knowledgeable RMAC program  impresario  has arranged for a great Country and Western musical event to delight us on Sunday, June 29th at Fort Tilden at  6pm.  The evening  will feature the highly energetic and extremely entertaining sounds of the Roadhouse Country Band.   According to Lucille Koch, the President  of the New York Country Music Association, the Roadhouse Country Band will keep everyone dancing and tapping his or her feet through the entire performance. She feels that the members of this band genuinely  love the country music that they are playing and exert 1500% into every concert.  This band has a huge repertoire of country songs. Everyone attending the Country concert will go home exhilarated and will find themselves singing.  

Have a fun filled weekend and join us on Saturday evening and Sunday evening.


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