2011-06-17 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

On June 11 RMAC presented the first of our Barbara Eisenstadt Memorial Concerts in the Rockaway Theatre Company Post Theatre in Fort Tilden. Maestro Dean Karahalis, past conductor of the Long Island Pops Orchestra, led his Five Towns College Concert Pops Orchestra through a selection of foot-stomping music which, according to the audience’s response, was a great success.

The Five Towns College Concert Pops is made up of young men and women who have already received their degrees in music, are currently in college and close to graduation, or who are already teaching music. As a matter of fact, two members of the orchestra come from our area and one travels all the way from Albany just to play with this group. To say that they are professional would not be an exaggeration. Different members of the orchestra were applauded for their solo parts. If you were sitting in Lincoln Center you would not have had a better concert and the cost of tickets is way lower than theirs.

The program contained everything from Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” to Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.” Between these two great pieces were “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” from The Beatles, for all the hippies in the audience, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles and “America” from “West Side Story,” among others. The musicians played with the gusto that only Dean Karahalis can bring to an orchestra.

Many of us would have liked to be able to get up and dance, but as Dean said, “No dancing in the aisles,“ only seat-dancing allowed. The applause and whistles after each selection were incredible.

After a short intermission, four door prizes were awarded. One went to Hilda Chinitz and another to Roz Eisenstadt and the two others to other guests at the show. Included were two baskets with coffee, etc. and two prints of watercolor paintings by Rockaway artists Arlene Cornell and Stephen Yaeger. Once the prizes were given out the concert continued.

The last number, which was not on the program, was Souza’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and Dean Karahalis brought the young children in the audience up to help him conduct. Included were his two grandchildren plus John Musumeci’s daughter Olivia and her friend, Steven. Dean has such a knack with the kids and had everyone in the audience clapping along with the music. The applause and whistling at the end of the concert were just incredible. We truly love having Dean appear at out concerts. He is a master showman but more than that, he is a very accomplished conductor. As well as being the founder of the Concert Pops, he has performed with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, the New York Lyric Opera, the Goldovsky Opera and is Musical Director/ Founder of the New York Brass Choir. In addition he has appeared with the U.S. Air Force Band, and a Night at the Opera with Metropolitan Opera star Robert Merrill. In 1992 he was appointed Conductor-Musical Director of the Eglevesky Ballet and currently is musical consultant to the Moscow Festival Ballet, Ballet de Bordeaux. In addition to all this he has appeared with Marvin Hamlisch, Broadway’s Tommy Tune and Joel Grey, among others. Dean is a multitalented man and a wonderful friend to the RMAC.

Before going any further I want to thank John Gilleece, director of the theatre company, their sound man, and especially Susan Jasper and Peggy Page of the theatre company who helped us all evening. Peggy and Susan are just two wonderful people who give their time and effort to our own theatre company right here in Rockaway. All of the people at the company are just great. Sometimes I wish I had more energy and ambition because I would love to be part of their group.

We hope you will join us on Saturday evening, June 25, 7:30 p.m. at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden for our second concert where Jerry Cardone “Old Brown Eyes” will sing “Old Blue Eyes” (Frank Sinatra) music. If you didn’t see him you would think Sinatra is singing and the fact that Jerry looks somewhat like Sinatra only adds to the fun.

Tickets to the concerts are $20 each and can be purchased at the box office the night of the performance or by calling the RMAC number 718-474-6760. For more information please go to our website: www.rockawaymusicandarts.org.

We hope you will join us and be part of a fun event.

Just to change the subject, you know the nice new boulevard at Arverne By The Sea, just put down a few weeks ago; well part of it was being drilled up this morning. Can you believe that? I have one question, why couldn’t what they have to do be done before the new roadway was put in? Just asking!

See you around town.

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