Friends of Lynbrook Music Hosts Annual Music Awards Dinner

Musicians and families began filtering into Temple Avodah in Oceanside Aat 6:00 p.m. Senior friends gathered together at tables while Chamber Orchestra members began tuning for their performance. 

To commence the evening’s performances, LHS’s own barbershop quartet, The Drafters, sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” arranged by senior Jaiden Moreno. The quartet starred sophomore Liam Mylan, junior Zachary Buxton, and seniors Andrew Schiller and Moreno.

Following the quartet, the FoLM presented seniors with a variety of awards in the fields of “Most Spirited,” “Most Dedicated,” and “Highest Achievement.”

The senior performances began with a duet by Grace Benedict and Andrew Schiller singing “Suddenly Seymour” from the Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors. After the duo’s performance, music teachers presented awards to freshmen and sophomores, recognizing their dedication to the music department for the last one to two years.

The evening’s performances continued with the Chamber Orchestra’s set, which consisted of “Libertango” and “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” led by concertmistress and senior Kate Chiulli. The orchestra’s performances segued into the recognition of students who were accepted into the Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA) this year. Musicians who performed with Division Four and Five All-County were also recognized for their January concerts. Finally, Buxton was honored for his acceptance and performance with the All-State Mixed Chorus in December. Additionally, sophomore Eric Reilly was awarded with a Nassau Music Educators Association (NMEA) Summer Study Scholarship. 

Official senior awards began with the presentation of the Outstanding Musician Awards. These awards are given to a student in each division of the music department: band, orchestra, and chorus. Benedict received the Outstanding Choral Award for her Soprano 2 prowess, percussionist Brian Mansfield received the Outstanding Band Award, and bassist Dylan Baltes received the Outstanding Orchestral Award. 

Senior performances recommenced with Lola Sokolskiy and Moreno’s rendition of “The Song That Goes Like This” from Monty Python’s Spamalot. The comedic duo’s entertainment concluded with Sokolskiy whacking Moreno in the face as she entranced the audience with a B4. “It was hilarious and enjoyable,” junior Kerry Cullen recalled. 

As students dined, anticipation built for the presentation of junior awards, especially the Arion Awards. Named after the ancient musician, the Arion Award is presented to three juniors every year, one from each music group. This year’s recipients were violinist Parker Sloan, percussionist Jake Schettini, and vocalist Buxton. 

Before the special awards began, attendees were serenaded by the LHS String Quartet’s performance of “Death and the Maiden” by Franz Schubert. The String Quartet is composed of violinists Chiulli and Sloan, violist and senior Caitlyn Melaram, and cellist Benedict. 

Special awards started off with the John Philip Sousa Band Award, presented to seniors Spector and Adam Samuel. In her four years in the band program, Spector has played multiple instruments and performed in many groups. Samuel has led the marching band as drum major this school year. Segueing into jazz, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award was given to Mansfield. Chiulli and Benedict were awarded the National School Orchestra Award, and Sokolskiy and Moreno received the National School Choral Award. 

For their dedication to the marching band and its performances, members of the Color Guard were recognized for their contributions. Seniors Allison Anemone, Logan Reichert, Regan O’Callaghan, Clarissa Charpentier, Julia Redash, and Chloe Vanegas all received pins and bags to commemorate their time with the Color Guard. Captains Charpentier and O’Callaghan were presented with the National Color Guard Award as well. Even Moreno received an owl pin as a thank you for his time as the Lynbrook Owl for the last four years. 

Once a senior has participated in at least three shows with the LHS Drama Club, whether that be in the cast, pit, or crew, he or she is eligible to receive a Drama and Theatre Award. The following students received that honor: Benedict, Moreno, Emily Pozolante, Mia Rinaldi, Samuel, Sokolskiy, Alyssa Inserra, Redash, Schiller, Sophia Scorcia, Naomi Sultana, and Vanegas. Additionally, Sokolskiy, Benedict, and Moreno received the Plaza Theatrical Award. 

All senior members of the music department were recognized for their dedication for the last four years and were gifted with a senior music department photo. Afterward, the members of the 2022-2023 Tri-M Music Honor Society board all received scholarships for their work in the past year. 

As the night dwindled down, performances became more somber with Rinaldi and Inserra’s duet of “This Time” from the TV show Glee. Following Inserra’s performance, she received the Mimi Schildkraut Uretsky Vocal Award, named after a Class of 1964 LHS alum. “I felt so incredibly honored to receive an award that was founded upon a very respected and loved member of the LHS family. Mr. Wyner has such incredible things to say about Mimi, and when I realized that these attributes that he was listing about the recipient pertained to me, it just made the experience all the more memorable,” Inserra expressed. Awards continued with Chiulli receiving the NYSCAME Leadership Award. 

It was time for a senior to receive “the big award:” the Santo Barbarino Scholarship. A hush fell over the crowd as Director of Fine and Performing Arts Adrianna Schaefer began describing the student who would soon be receiving the award. It was only until Schaefer announced that the student had written a parody of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel for the pep rally that dinner attendees realized that Moreno would be the 2023 recipient of the Santo Barbarino Scholarship. 

The LHS Jazz Ensemble took the stage, performing “Take Five” and “Superstition,” rousing the audience in applause. For the final performance of the night, senior Concert Choir members took to the stage to perform “Landslide” with solos by seniors Ryan Benvenuto, Sofia Yaker, Andy Romero, Spector, Pozolante, Samuel, and Alexi Deninno. “It [was] a great sendoff for the senior music students, acting as a last concert for them to show off their skills,” Cullen conveyed. 

The evening concluded with tears, hugs, and lots of congratulations for the award winners. “I am consistently impressed and humbled that we have such a strong music program in Lynbrook that allows us to honor so many students with so many awards!” Schaefer exclaimed.