Well over 100 student-musicians from Connetquot Elementary School in Islip Terrace participated in the May 16 Spring Concert held in the East Islip High School auditorium.
Connetquot Elementary Principal Deborah Smith and East Islip Director of Art and Music Stephen Guarino introduced the program, expressing gratitude to the attending community members for their strong support of the school’s music studies.
The Connetquot beginner strings performed two American classics in “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” as well as Beethoven’s beatific “Ode to Joy.” The 30-member orchestra, accompanied by Rachel Axelrod, followed with rousing renditions of compositions by Robert Gillespie (“Mountain Climbing”), Elliot Del Borgo (“Clog Dance”) and Rob Grice (“Dragon Slayer”). The latter number featured percussionists Alexa Smith, Alexandra Stewart and Jacqueline Baldino as well as chorus teacher Eileen Egbert on bass drum. Both beginner strings and orchestra were directed by teacher Jaime DeMaria.
Directed by Egbert and featuring Emily Vazquez as soloist as well as nine scat soloists, Connetquot’s chorus sang a wide variety of crowd-pleasing tunes, from a terrific rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Lionel Hampton’s “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop” to George Mysels’ “Buy Me Chocolate” and “The Moon” by Dave and Jean Perry.
Closing out the evening of music were the beginner and advanced bands, both directed by Ronald Fox. The beginner musicians tackled the American fiddle tune “Bile 'Em Cabbage Down,” Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Southern Roses” and Czech folk song “Stodola Pumpa,” while the advanced band of 39 students impressed the audience with “Ovation” by Michael Story, “First Suite for Military Band” by Gustav Holst, “Star Wars (Main Theme)” by John Williams and a fun arrangement of Katy Perry's anthemic “Firework.”