2008-09-19 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Eisenstadt Memorial Concert Cancelled

SCA Throws Monkey Wrench Into Best Laid Plans
By Howard Schwach

When the Rockaway Music and Arts Council was forced to cancel its Summer Sunset Picnic Concert series this season, officials of the organization went into high gear looking to run one spectacular concert at the end of the summer that would honor patron of the arts and longtime RMAC official Barbara Eisenstadt, who passed away a year ago.

That concert was scheduled for Beach Channel High School on October 11, and such luminaries as the Long Island Pops orchestra had been penciled in as the entertainment.

Now, however, the concert has been pushed back indefinitely due to the actions of the city's School Construction Agency (SCA), which decided that this would be a good time to repair the school's auditorium.

"We got a call from the administration at Beach Channel High School last week, telling us that they had no choice but to cancel all of the activities scheduled for the auditorium between now and the beginning of next year," said Stephen Yaeger, the president of RMAC. "We were stunned, and we asked the school to see if it could postpone the renovations, but it could not. The SCA, it seems, makes all the decisions on when to do school repairs."

Yaeger says that he does not fault the school's principal, Dr. David Morris, for the cancellation.

"He did what he could, but he could do little about the SCA's decision," he said.

Yaeger and other organization officials went to nearby Scholars' Academy, a school with a much smaller auditorium, and one that presented some "technical problems, but could marginally support the concert.

And, while Scholars' Academy principal, Brian O'Connell, was very helpful and showed the RMAC officers around the school and attempted to facilitate the concert in his building, officials at the city's Department of Education seemed uncertain whether or not they could process the permit to use the school in time for the planned concert date.

"We were in a bind," Yaeger told The Wave. "Dean Kalaharis and the Pops needed a definite date, and we could not provide them with one until we got the DOE permit. We had no choice but to postpone the concert to some time in the future. We appreciate all the help we got from Dr. Morris and Brian O'Connell, but it just didn't work out."

Yaeger says that he hopes to be able to hold the concert to memorialize Eisenstadt sometime in the near future, but says that he can't make any promises.

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