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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational & Cultural Center will host a series of programs for community members over 55. File photo

A cultural and educational organization and Stony Brook law practice are joining forces to teach community members over 55 and recognize them for their contributions to society.

In March, The Ward Melville Heritage Organization and Burner Law Group, P.C., launched a program that incorporates virtual travel geared toward the 55 and older community. Attendees will get to explore different places by viewing a big screen while asking curators and experts questions in real time. Nancy Burner, who practices elder law and estate planning, said the first travel program held April 25 included a virtual tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Canada.

“Longevity studies show that by nurturing generative qualities and looking for intellectual stimulation and fulfillment, third-agers are helping themselves to live longer and healthier lives.”

— Nancy Burner

“Viewers were able to interact with the guide and experience an engaging adventure from their seat in Stony Brook Village,” Burner said. “Future programs will continue these virtual tours and will also showcase those community members in their third age who are continuing to live extraordinary and vibrant lives.”

Burner uses the term third age to describe the 55 plus generation and has given talks and written articles about the subject.

Gloria Rocchio, president of WMHO, said the programs at the Educational & Cultural Center will be called the 55 Plus Club. She added attendees have already given feedback on what they would like to see in the future. Upcoming events at the WMHO Educational & Cultural Center will include a cyber security workshop and master classes with special guests, according to Rocchio.

“The idea is to socialize and learn things that are important to [people],” she said.

Rocchio said the 55 plus segment of the population has a wealth of knowledge to offer, and Burner said many are hungry for enlightened experiences and eager to learn new things.

“These third age events held by the 55 Plus Club inspire individuals in the second act to pursue both meaning and purpose in their lives,” Burner said. “Longevity studies show that by nurturing generative qualities and looking for intellectual stimulation and fulfillment, third-agers are helping themselves to live longer and healthier lives.”

The next event, Virtual Travel to South Padre Island — Riders of the Stream at Sea Turtle Inc., will be held May 23. Guests will learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of injured sea turtles on South Padre Island, their release back into the wild, conservation efforts, nesting, hatchling releases and more.

The cost for the program is $15 per person and refreshments are served. Call 631-689-5888 for reservations and visit www.stonybrookvillage.com for details on all upcoming programs.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational & Cultural Center is located at 97 Main St. in Stony Brook.

Photo from WMHO

AND THE FINALISTS ARE …

From left, Max Tuomey (vocalist, Old Bethpage); Caitlin Beirne (vocalist, St. James); Michael Lomando (vocals/guitar, Centereach); Sara Caligiuri (vocalist, St. James); Lydia Korneffel (vocalist, St. James); Ben Fogarty, Mint Band (trumpet, East Setauket); Varun Jindal, Mint Band (drums, East Setauket); Matt Broadbent, Mint Band (guitar, Setauket); Aidan Hopkins, Mint Band (trumpet, Setauket); Tom Manuel, president, The Jazz Loft (judge); Jay Sangwan, Mint Band (trumpet, Setauket); Naomi Pierro, music instructor, Grace Music School (judge); Jordan Amato (vocals, South Setauket); and Edward Decorsia, New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band ( judge)

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization recently revealed the finalists for its 2018 Long Island’s Got Talent competition. Created by the WMHO’s Youth Corps, the annual competition gives students from across Long Island the opportunity to showcase their amazing talents.  

Seven finalists (including a five-person band) were chosen to take part in the final competition on Sept. 7. The finalists will also be given the opportunity to perform at WMHO’s Sunday Summer Concerts series in July and August.

The judges this year will be Tom Manuel, president of The Jazz Loft; Naomi Pierro, a music instructor at Grace Music School; and Edward Decorsia of New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band.

A $500 scholarship will be awarded to the first- through seventh-place winners by Stony Brook University’s Pre-College Music Program, Five Towns College will once again offer a total of $25,000 in scholarships and Green Towers Group will present a $1,000 cash prize to the first place winner.

 For more information, please call 631-751-2244 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

 

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Tom Manuel, left, owner of The Jazz Loft, and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, third from right, along with local musicians look forward to the Swing into Spring! jazz festival to take place in Stony Brook village March 27 to 31. Photo from Kara Hahn's office

Mother nature may disagree, but the calendar shows spring has arrived, and Stony Brook village is planning to help Long Islanders celebrate.

Swing into Spring!, a jazz festival scheduled for March 27-31, is where Long Islanders can enjoy the music at village restaurants. Tom Manuel, owner of The Jazz Loft, where some of the concerts will be held, said the lineup of talent ranges from solo artists to two 17-piece big bands. He said a variety of styles and genres of jazz will be presented, including traditional, bebop, folk and emerging fusion. The festival was made possible by a county grant secured by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

“It’s just exciting to think about spring and getting out,” Hahn said.

The legislator obtained the grant in the fall when there was extra money for cultural arts in the county’s hotel and motel tax fund. She said the cultural arts category of the fund is to enable ways to spur economic development through the arts. The project was included in the adopted 2018 Suffolk County operating budget.

“I had wanted to help The Jazz Loft and Stony Brook village,” Hahn said. “I’ve been trying to think of ways from an economic development perspective of using grant money that could help the businesses in the community.”

“The idea was to showcase musicians from varied points of the Island from both Suffolk and Nassau County.”

— Tom Manuel

Manuel said he was excited about the news of the grant, and after a few phone calls and a meeting with Hahn, presented the legislator with the idea of the five-day festival featuring jazz musicians from all over the Island.

“The idea was to showcase musicians from varied points of the Island from both Suffolk and Nassau County, and also to offer an educational component which will be our Wednesday workshop on jazz improvisation,” the venue owner said, adding the workshop would be followed by a jam session for all musicians of all ages and abilities.

Manuel said the festival will include performances by guitarist Steve Salerno, trombone player Ray Anderson, accordion player Rich Dimino, the Eddie Balsamo Quartet and more. In addition to appearing at The Jazz Loft and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center, the musicians will play at Pentimento, Sweet Mama’s Family Restaurant, Lakeside Emotions Wine & Spirits and Three Village Inn.

Hahn hopes once jazz lovers visit Stony Brook for the festival, they’ll want to come back in the future to the shops and restaurants, and more Long Islanders will become familiar with The Jazz Loft and Manuel.

“I grew up in Stony Brook village so seeing what Tommy was able to do with The Jazz Loft — I know it’s been good for the village,” Hahn said.

Gloria Rocchio, president of WMHO, said she enjoys working with Manuel on projects and believes the festival will be good for the village.

“We do things with Tom all the time, and this is just another extension of how we collaborative so well together,” Rocchio said.

The WMHO president said on the night of March 28, barring no weather setbacks, there will be plenty of different things for visitors to do and see.

“People can actually stroll from one location to the other,” she said.

Manuel considers Stony Brook village a hidden gem, and said he believes collaborations like this festival bring out the best of what the area can offer.

“I hope that this event introduces people to our town that will not only enjoy it, but will come back again and again to experience all we have to offer,” Manuel said. “I am thrilled that Legislator Hahn has reached out to collaborate with The Jazz Loft, and that we can bring live jazz into so many of our restaurants and businesses.”

For more information on Swing into Spring!, visit www.thejazzloft.org or www.stonybrookvillage.com.

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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational and Cultural Center hosted an event to usher in the Year of the Dog Feb. 11 with performances honoring the traditions and rituals observed around the world during Chinese New Year.

The event began with a Lion Dance, which is believed to bring good luck and fortune, and a martial arts demonstration by Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu. The day featured Manhattan Taiko blending ancient Japanese drums with modern movement and traditional dances by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group and Vivian Ye. Vocalists Terry Zhang and Jojo also sang Chinese songs.

Chinese New Year begins Feb. 16.

On Dec. 3, legends and spies from history such as Culper Spy Ring members Major Benjamin Tallmadge and Caleb Brewster, prominent shipbuilder Jonas Smith and philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville joined Stony Brook and neighboring residents to ring in the holiday season.

The village’s 38th annual holiday festival featured the historic characters in giant puppet form, created by Processional Arts Workshop, during the event’s Puppets Processional led by The Jazz Loft owner Tom Manuel and his band. Santa was on hand to hear all the children’s’ wishes and take photos. Additional activities at the event organized by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization included live music with WALK Radio; a performance by Roseland School of Dance; carolers; a holiday train display at the Cultural Center; and Wiggs Optician’s holiday windows.

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BEST IN THE INDUSTRY From left, Lisa Santeramo, Long Island director of operations, office of Gov. Cuomo; Mark Legrady, director event technology, PSAV; Gloria Rocchio, president, Ward Melville Heritage Organization; Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO, Discover Long Island; Alan Fairbairn, CHIA, CHA NYIT; and Robert Koenig, associate dean, Student Advancement Programs, NYIT. Photo from WMHO

Discover Long Island recently announced the winners of the region’s first-ever Tourism Awards in four categories: Partner of the Year, Industry Advancement, Tourism Trailblazer and Tourism Legacy. The honorees were recognized at the Inaugural Tourism Awards Gala at Fox Hollow in Woodbury on Nov. 14.

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce the first recipients of the Long Island Tourism Awards,” said Kristen Jarnagin, president and CEO, Discover Long Island. “These outstanding individuals are setting new benchmarks within the tourism community, which has become an essential economic driver for our region.”

And the 2017 Tourism Award honorees are: PSAV — Partner of the Year Award Global Center for Hospitality Management at New York Institute of Technology — Industry Advancement Award Governor Cuomo for the Long Island Welcome Center and Taste NY Market — Tourism Trailblazer Award Gloria Rocchio, President of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization — Tourism Legacy Award

Discover Long Island was established in 1978 as the official tourism promotion agency for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events and related activities. For more information, visit www.discoverlongisland.com.

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Pictured from left are judge Ed DeCorsia; WMHO Education Outreach Manager Sara Viola; judge Gerry Saulter; finalists Paul Foschino, Christy Jean, Claire Lindsey, Thomas Foschino and Jessica Nunez; WMHO Director of Development Gabrielle Lindau; and Scott Sanders of Shea & Sanders Real Estate. Photo from WMHO
LIGT winner Paul Foschino with Scott Sanders of Shea & Sanders Real Estate and Gabrielle Lindau, WMHO Director of Development

Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village hosted the Long Island’s Got Talent finals on Nov. 3. The evening was sponsored by Shea & Sanders Real Estate, Five Towns College, Rocco J. Morelli DDS of Water’s Edge Dental and the Green Towers Group. Created by WMHO’s Youth Corps, the annual event was open to students from ages 10 to 17 who live in Nassau or Suffolk County.

Five finalists performed in concert in front of a live audience, and the winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Gerry Saulter of the Five Towns College Music Department; performance veteran, Ed DeCorsia of New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band; and Leer Leary, who has been seen and heard in countless TV shows/films, commercials and is a member of Blackfriars Shakespeare Company.

First place was awarded to 14-year-old Paul Foschino, a vocalist and pianist from Bohemia; second place went to vocalist Christy Jean, age 15, of Brentwood; while vocalist Jessica Nunez, a 12-year-old from Wantagh, garnered third place. Vocalist, pianist and guitarist Claire Lindsey, a 13-year-old from Centerport, was awarded fourth place while vocalist/guitarist Thomas Foschino, age 16, from Bohemia received fifth place. Congratulations!

The winners of Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s annual Scarecrow Competition were announced at its 27th annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 31. Over 30 scarecrows were displayed throughout the Stony Brook Village Center during the month of October as visitors voted for their favorites.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Category A – Previous 1st Prize Winners & Professionals

1st place – “Mirror Mirror” by Barbara DeStefano GS Troop 405

2nd place – “The Courageous Lady in Pink” by Linda Hubner

Category B – Adults/Families

1st place – “Cheshire Cat” by Natasha Bartley

2nd place – “Au Pair Annie & Kids” by Cindy Garruba

3rd place – “Old Mother Goose” by Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

Category C – Children (under 12)

1st place – “Poppy Troll” by Beth Siar of Brownie Troop 873

2nd place – “Pinkalicious” by Lauren McGowan of St. Patrick’s Daisy Troop 2165

3rd place – “Captain Underpants” by Beth Siar of GS Junior Troop 3083

Sponsors Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy; Samuel R. Taube R.C.S.W.; Sharon Doyle, MS, RN, CS, NPP; J. Robert Quilty, PhD, P.C.; and the Roseland School of Dance helped to make the event possible.

The streets of Stony Brook were filled with more than 300 runners and an estimated 460 walkers participating in the Walk for Beauty and Hercules on the Harbor 10K Run Oct. 22. Cancer survivors along with family members and friends collect donations to support their walk or run, which takes them through the scenic and historic Stony Brook. All proceeds go directly to a targeted research fund at Stony Brook Medicine for Breast Cancer Research and The WMHO Unique Boutique for wigs.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is currently accepting submissions for its annual Scarecrow Competition. Sponsored by The Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, Samuel R. Taube, Sharon Doyle, J. Robert Quilty and Roseland School of Dance, this will be the 27th year the spooky, silly, scary six-foot creations will adorn the pathways of picturesque Stony Brook Village Center for visitors to enjoy and vote for their favorite.

As in the past, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all scarecrows decorated with a majority of pink will receive 50 bonus points toward the competition. Official entry forms are available in most Stony Brook Village Center shops, at the offices of WMHO at 111 Main Street, second floor, in Stony Brook or online at www.stonybrookvillage.com.

Categories are divided into Professional, Adult/Family and Children’s. Registration deadline is Sept. 29 and there is an entry fee of $15. Winners will receive cash prizes awarded at WMHO’s annual Halloween Festival, beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. Visitors to the Stony Brook Village Center shops have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite scarecrow during the month of October. Voting ballots will be available in all Village Center shops and eateries or at the WMHO office. For full information on this and other Stony Brook Village events, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

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