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Fine & Performing Arts News 


Syosset Artistic Olympians Take Multiple Awards

Two first- and third-place awards and a perfect score

Syosset High School students excelled at this year’s Olympics of the Visual Arts Competition held in Saratoga Springs, New York. 

Overall, 41 students participated as two groups won first place in their respective category, while two other groups took third-place honors.  

Syosset teams won first-place awards in the Architecture and Typography categories and third place in Drawing and Illustration. Additionally, the Architecture team received a perfect score on its project! Here are the descriptions of each award-winning project:

ArchitectureFirst Place (perfect score)
Rea Chen, Sophia Cheng, Brenda Chou, Kaitlyn Hom, Kelvin Hu, Allison Liu
Long-Term Project: Design and build a scale model of an outdoor human labyrinth to be built in a parklike setting suitable for four seasons in the Northeast. Their labyrinth concept was a metaphor for human life. The structure is made from plexiglass, foam core, wood, moss and stained glass and is shaped like a human heart, which is divided into eight levels representing stages in life that get more complicated as they work their way up. 

TypographyFirst Place
Abraham Huang, Helen Lin, Paul Martin 
Long-Term Project: Design a new letter to be added to the English alphabet, including the phonetic sound, place in the alphabet and use in a word. The group created a letter based on a power symbol with the sound of Ohm. Students created a 3D rendition that symbolized the power in nature with each section representing a different biome on earth.

DrawingThird Place
Melinda Blumenstock, Michelle Liu, Rika Mizoguchi, Ryun Shim, Helen Zhang, Liana Zhang 
Long-Term Project: Erasure as a medium. Create an original drawing using materials and techniques of reductive drawing. Students created a scroll drawing depicting the life of Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, who rose to become pharaoh but then was erased from history.

IllustrationThird Place
Wilson Chow, Songyee Kim, Zahrah Nasim, Esha Sharma, Lynnie Yang, Zarin Zaman  
Long-Term Project: Illustrate an idiom. Create an original illustration that best interprets your choice of an idiom. Students created a five-panel painting depicting, “She carries the weight of the world.”

Sponsored by the New York State Art Teacher’s Association, the Olympics of the Visual Arts program provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to participate in individual or group artistic problem-solving. Students create long-range solutions at their schools, and travel to the Albany area to compete on short-range problems in a daylong celebration of creativity. Awards are presented for different categories at every level.

This year’s event was held on April 25. This is only the second year Syosset has competed in this statewide competition.

Kudos to Chrysoula Highland who worked tirelessly to help students prepare for this event. 

Two of LI’s Best Young Artists

Two Syosset High School student-artists recently had their work selected for the 2018 Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum exhibit in Huntington. Congratulations to Cailin Ferrari and Brett Kaplan, whose work was on display at the museum during the month of April. Their works were among 80 selected to appear in the annual exhibit, which accepted 385 entries submitted from 62 schools throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties this year. 

Additionally, Brett’s artwork was among 21 of the 80 Long Island’s Best works to appear alongside Mitchells luxury brand’s spring collection in its Huntington Village store. Cailin (left) and Brett are seen here displaying some of their artwork.

art pic

Fine and Performing Arts Chair Named NYSSMA President

The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) is proud to introduce Syosset Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts Michael Salzman as its next President. 

Salzman has served the Syosset community since 2004 first as a middle and high school band director before obtaining his administrative position. Prior to that, he taught elementary band in the Seaford School District. Additionally, he has been on the music faculty of Hofstra University since 1993. 

“I am honored to assume the presidency of this important music education association,” Salzman said. “In selecting the theme for my presidency, I thought about the importance of every child having access to a high quality sequential music education." 

Passionate about the benefits of music education in the lives of children, Salzman has been very active in professional associations throughout his entire career. A member of the Nassau (County) Music Educators Association’s Executive Board for more than ten years, he served the NMEA as President in 1999-2000. His work with NYSSMA throughout the years has included membership on the Advocacy and Finance Committees, service as the All-State Band Chairperson, the Nassau County Representative, Second Vice President and President-Elect.  

Well-known and well regarded as a tubist, Salzman is a former Principal Tuba player of the Long Island Philharmonic and a founding member of the Cosmopolitan Brass Quintet. He has performed with the Goldman Memorial Band, the Concert Pops of Long Island, the Bridgeport Symphony and the 92nd Street Y Ragtime Orchestra. He has performed as a tuba soloist at conferences and universities across the state including the Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College and SUNY Binghamton. He is the Regional Coordinator of the “TubaChristmas” concerts held every year at Rockefeller Center. 

Salzman resides in Plainview with his wife Kathi. They have two grown children, Miriam, 26, a freelance stage manager living and working in New York; and Gabriel, 21, a Radio Production Major at Hofstra University. 

NYSSMA is the largest state affiliate of the National Association for Music Education with a mission to advance music education across New York State for its membership and students in member school programs.

salzman photo

Chamber Singers Light Up St. Pat’s Cathedral

Once again, the Syosset High School Chamber Singers serenaded visitors to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for the holiday season.  

Each year, choral director and Chamber Singers director, Kristin Howell provides a recording for admission into the St. Patrick's Cathedral Guest Choir Concert Series, open to the public throughout the year. This year, the auditioned chamber group comprised of 10, 11 and 12th graders, performed an eclectic and challenging a cappella program of more than 14 songs during the December 19 concert. Highlights included Michael John Trotta's, "Veni, Veni Emmanuel" and Dolly Parton's "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" along with holiday favorites "Adeste Fideles" and "Joy to the World.” 

Three Syosset High School percussionists and a flute player accompanied the choir on different selections.  

“We have been performing at this historic venue since I started teaching in the district in 2000, when I sent my first recording submission,” said Howell. “We were accepted without hesitation and now I consider it tradition!”

Prior to making the trip into Manhattan, the Chamber Singers spent the better part of their morning spreading holiday cheer locally. They sang to patients at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, walking through the halls singing as they were met with smiles from their audience.  

“The experience of students sharing their talents through choral music is a memory these young adults take with them for life,” added Howell, who noted that several chamber group alumni were in the audience at St. Patrick’s for this year’s performances. “It was an incredible day filled with incredible music.”

NAHS Tree a Hit at Fundraiser

Syosset High School’s National Art Honor Society has once again used its creative talents for good. For 17 years, Syosset NAHS has participated in United Cerebral Palsy’s annual Festival of Trees fundraiser held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, where they decorate a special holiday tree to be sold to raise funds for UCP. 

This year’s NAHS contribution, “Stars and Stripes,” was the first to sell at the festival, just minutes after doors opened. The tree sold for $500. Moreover, the tree was awarded third place in the Festival of Trees “Theme” category. 

Every year, UCP raises money from admission fees to the exhibition and through the sale of decorated trees, which are sold to businesses around Long Island for display in their lobbies and windows. Traditionally, 100 percent of the net proceeds from tree sales go directly to UCP. This year, 10 percent of these profits will be sent to select organizations assisting individuals with disabilities in the areas affected by the recent hurricanes.

The Syosset NAHS first participated in the Festival of Trees in 2001, when members designed a tree in tribute to the police officers and firemen who lost their lives on 9/11. Pictured are (from left) NAHS students Sami Finkelstein and Lillian Guo, NAHS adviser Demi Protonentis and NAHS student Jordan Fells at this year’s Festival of Trees, alongside “Stars and Stripes.” 

The Syosset NAHS was also featured in a televised News 12 segment:

Three to Perform at All-National Music Festival

Three Syosset High School student-musicians have been invited to perform at the 2017 National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensembles concerts to be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 28-29. 

Grace Mittleman and Eric Schess have been invited to perform with the NAfME All-National Honors Choir, while Hannah Son was selected to play the flute in the All-National Honors Symphony Orchestra. During the 2016-17 school year, talented music students across the United States and overseas in military-base schools practiced diligently to gain a chair or part in their local, district and state music honor ensembles. Of those most elite high school musicians, 608 were considered to be the “best of the best” and were selected for the NAfME festival by audition. All-National Honor Ensembles consist of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed choir and jazz ensemble.

Selected students will be rehearsing a challenging repertoire in preparation for performing under some of the most prominent conductors in the United States. Grace and Eric will perform under the direction of Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, while Hannah will follow the lead of Dr. Margery Deutsch. Dr. Stroope is the professor of music and director of choral/vocal studies at Oklahoma State University, while Dr. Deutsch served for nearly 30 years as director of orchestras and professor of conducting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“This is the highest recognition that a student-musician can receive for participating in a school music program,” said Syosset Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts, K-12 Michael Salzman. “Having three students from one high school invited to perform on this national stage is a great honor. Congratulations to Grace, Eric and Hannah, all of the music teachers they have had through the years, the parents who continue to support their pursuit of music education, and our Board of Education, administration and community for their ongoing commitment to the performing arts.”

Grace, Eric and Hannah are congratulated here by Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante, Salzman and band teacher Larry Ballereau. Missing from the photo is choral teacher Kristin Howell.

Three to Perform at All-National Music Festival photo

All-State Musicians

Syosset School District Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts, K-12, Michael Salzman recently had the opportunity to meet with Syosset High School student-musicians, who have been selected to participate in this year’s New York State School Music Association Winter Conference. This year, 34 students will participate in the All-State festival, either as active members of ensembles or as alternates, including some who were selected for multiple instruments. 

Syosset High School regularly receives a high number of NYSSMA Winter Conference selections. This year’s particpants are seen here, being congratulated by Salzman and Syosset Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante (pictured at far left, middle and front row, respectively) and orchestra teacher Stephanie Merten and band teacher Larry Larry Ballereau. Missing from the photo is choral teacher Kristin Howell.

Congratulations to Syosset High School’s 2017 NYSSMA All-State Musicians: Sami Ahn, Matthew Ardizzone, Stephanie Benedictus, Gabrielle Bieder, Sydney Chen, Josephine Chuang, Sean Han, Allison Hsu, Susanna Hur, Maxwell Izakson, Brandon Ji, Jihoon Jun, Paige Kahn, Joseph Kim, Anthony LaBarca, Thomas Lam, Hannah Lee, Subin Lee, Justin Lee, Annie Lin, Kalena Liu, Nicholas Massimo, Gabriela Mataras, Ashkan Moghaddassi, Aileen Park, Jake Quadrino, Harrison Rubin, Madison Schatz, Albert Shabaev, Brandon Sung, Callista Tse, Derek Warshauer, Emily Wong and Charles, Zandieh.

All-State Musicians photo

Selected for Piano Showcase

Congratulations to Christopher Zandieh, an eighth-grader at South Woods Middle School who was selected to perform in the 12th Annual NYSSMA Piano Showcase held in conjunction with the winter conference Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Rochester Convention Center. Christopher was one of 12 winners selected from nearly 100 applicants after earning a perfect score of 100 on a Level VI solo at last spring’s solo festivals. His application involved performing a solo piece from memory and submitting a video recording, which was evaluated by a committee over the summer.

Christopher has been playing piano since the age of four and attends a Saturday program at Julliard. He also plays alto sax on the school jazz band. He is congratulated here by Principal Michelle Burget and his band teacher Karen Buck.

Selected for Piano Showcase photo



Sunday, July 21, 2019