2005-01-21 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel


We’re back after a short hiatus and want to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2005. The year 2004 ended in disaster in Southeast Asia with the terrible tsunami. Our prayers and help go out to everyone. Watching the waves come on shore on television, I immediately thought of Rockaway, and heaven forbid it could be us. With a peninsula just three blocks wide in some places, Rockaway could just be washed away – a very scary thought. Let’s just hope and pray that we never have to witness such a disaster ourselves.

The New Year started bright and beautiful with 60-degree weather and it has been much milder than usual. Let’s hope it keeps up until the spring.

Nevertheless, the RMAC is hard at work. After our Holiday Buffet Party in November to thank all of our volunteers from throughout the year, we are in the midst of tackling our 2005 programs. Number one on the agenda is our 50th Anniversary Gala, which will be held in the late spring. This may very well be a black-tie event with dinner and dancing to a well-known orchestra. Planning is in the early stages so keep tuned. Once again our Music Memory Program will be held in several schools and our children have been so successful with the program that they have won several awards at Lincoln Center over the past few years.

Of course, our Sunset Picnic Concert Series will be held once again and we will be presenting some favorites along with new names and a special concert for young artists. Returning this summer will be Kenny Vance and the Planetones and Dean Karahalis and the Long Island Pops Orchestra. New concerts in the planning stage include the first-time appearance of Ragtime music and a special concert presenting young, up and coming artists. Articles and flyers will be around the neighborhood shortly advising how to audition for our judges. Each artist will be required to present a tape as well as background material on what they have done up to the present time and that material, as I said above, will be reviewed by our judges. A limited number of artists will be chosen to perform at one of our Summer Picnic Concerts. The idea for this type of concert has been discussed for some time and we are now ready to go, so watch the paper for additional details.

Our Festival vendors chairman, Fern Liberman, has already sent out more than 800 applications for our Fall Festival, so that is on its way. If you are a crafts person and make your own product, and would like to have an application, you can receive an application by writing to Fern Liberman, c/o RMAC, P.O. Box 97, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693, and Fern will send you an application. Once your application and pictures or slides of your craft are returned to Fern, they will be judged and you will be advised if you have been selected to appear. Each vendor must have his own tent and tables. Since our festival is for two days, you are allowed to leave your material overnight, we have security, or you can break it down and set up the second day. Thousands attended our two-day event in September and this is a great way to present yourself to your neighbors.

As I mentioned above, our special concert called, “Search For Stars” will be on Sunday, July 24. There will be an open call for vocalists, from popular music to folk, from opera to gospel, and all musical genres to audition. All of the material received will be reviewed by judges and those selected to appear at the July 24 concert will have the opportunity to win wonderful cash prizes, with the first prize being $1,000. Two runners-up will also receive monetary prizes in the amount of $250 each. Auditions are for ages 15 years and older and you must send a performance video tape or DVD along with a bio and resume to the RMAC no later than March 15. If you would like the material returned please include a self-addressed stamped envelope. The tapes can be sent to the RMAC at 137 Beach 144 Street, Neponsit, NY 11694. We have been discussing this type of concert for some time and as this year is our 50th Anniversary, what better time to present new talent.

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