A New Era for Lynbrook Fine and Performing Arts


LHS students ushered in a new era for the Lynbrook Fine and Performing Arts Department on Feb. 15 at the annual Jazz and Pop Concert. This concert was the first to be performed in the John F. Brancifort Auditorium, which opened this month after a two-year renovation period. It was also the first Jazz and Pop Concert hosted by Fine and Performing Arts Department Director Adrianna Schaefer, who took over after former director Joseph Pallotta’s retirement last spring.

“We are so beyond excited to be in here tonight, as I’m sure you are, as well,” Schaefer addressed the audience as she introduced the concert. Schaefer, then, thanked all those involved in the production of the concert, including music teachers, choreographers, lighting staff, and administrators.

At the end of the night, Schaefer reappeared to give her final thanks to the parents. “I’d like to take a moment to thank the parents and families, our biggest supporters, for the endless rides home after rehearsals, the late night dinner prepared, consistent encouragement in the face of adversity, and your unending love. Thank you for all you do,” Schaefer said.

The new auditorium has a modernized look with seats upholstered in Lynbrook green, wood-paneled walls for high quality acoustics, and an upgraded lighting system. The renovation of the auditorium coincided with the construction of the Alice Bresnihan Wing, an addition to the high school featuring new classroom space and a refurbished music suite.

The Jazz and Pop Concert is a beloved LHS tradition. It is distinguished from other LHS music events, like the Winter and Spring Gala of the Arts, because of its signature fun and intimate feel, which is mainly a result of its location – it is the only annual Lynbrook music concert hosted in the auditorium, as compared to the Galas that are hosted in the gymnasium.

“The Jazz N Pop concert has traditionally been a favorite of mine, and I know for many members of the community, too,” said chorus teacher Barry Wyner. “Our regular concerts are in the tradition of western classical music, which is valuable for our students to experience, but Show Choir is more kids being kids – singing, dancing, and having fun with friends to songs they’d listen to on the radio. I just love the infectious joy and energy they bring to the stage when the big night comes.”
Tuesday marked the first Jazz and Pop Concert since 2019, as the past two years’ concerts were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The show featured three LHS music ensembles: Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Band, and Show Choir.

The Chamber Orchestra opened the concert with three energetic pieces: “Green Rhythmico” by Kirt Mosier, a jazzy piece with an Irish flavor; “Send in the Clowns” from the show A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, as a tribute to the late composer; and “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)”, a jazz piece from the ‘50s that was made popular by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra.

During the Chamber Orchestra’s set, orchestra teacher and conductor Alyssa White congratulated her students and those who performed solos. “What an exciting occasion to be able to open up our first concert in the new beautiful space we have,” White addressed the audience. “Thank you for being a part of that.”

The Show Choir performed a medley from the hit Broadway play “Hamilton” during the show, and its members were lauded by the audience.

Next, the award-winning LHS Jazz Band performed. Their first piece was “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!” by Julian Adderley, which featured a sundry of soloists: freshman Cooper Shorr on guitar, junior Parker Sloan on tenor saxophone, senior Chris Gragnano on alto saxophone, and freshman Liam Mylan and senior Stephen Christian on trumpet. Succeeding songs included “Hard Bargain” by Ron Sexsmith, “Day Is Done” by Peter, Paul, and Marry, and “Caravan” by Duke Ellington.

Band teacher and conductor Brian White explained that most solos were improvised, a skill that the Jazz Band has specifically emphasized this year. “It’s really at the heart of what we’ve been working on at our rehearsals for a number of months,” White said. “It’s the core of this style, jazz. They’re making it up in the spur of the moment, and it’s where the instrument they’re playing becomes their voice.”

Senior Jaden Harvin soloed “Lovely Day.”

The Show Choir performed 10 pop songs from the past several decades, along with 10 corresponding dance routines, which were choreographed by junior Catherine Wren and senior Max Moscheni. Songs performed included “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, a medley from the musical film Grease, and “Treat People with Kindness” by Harry Styles. Show Choir ladies performed a medley from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, and the boys performed a sea shanty that was popularized on the social media app TikTok called “Wellerman.” The night concluded with a heartfelt rendition of “I Lived” by OneRepublic, which was especially emotional for the Show Choir’s graduating seniors.

Performers were permitted to buy three tickets each, so admittance to the show was limited. Additionally, seats were predetermined by ticket, and families were spaced out to allow for social distancing. Nonetheless, performers and audience members agreed it was exciting to get back to live performance, and the energy was palpable throughout the night.