South High Presents The Tales of Hoffmann

The Great Neck South High School Opera Company will present The Tales of Hoffmann, by Jacques Offenbach, on Thursday and Friday, March 25 and 26, at the school, 341 Lakeville Rd. Both performances begin at 8 p.m. This popular opera will be performed in French (with English supertitles). Singers will be accompanied by the school orchestra.

Offenbach's drama places the title character, Hoffmann, in three, fanciful stories of failed love. The result is a grand and expressive nineteenth-century French opera.

The Tales of Hoffmann is suitable for all ages. It will also be performed for district elementary and middle school students, with the opportunity for questions and answers after the performance.

The opera is produced by Michael Schwartz, performing arts department chairperson. Musical director is Pamela Levy, and Fran Harmon is stage director.

For ticket information, please contact Mr. Schwartz at (516) 441-4851.


September 11th Teacher Award

The Tribute WTC (World Trade Center) Visitor Center recently presented North Middle School social studies teacher Michelle Mastrande with a 2011 September 11th Teacher Award for her work in establishing a seven-week, multidisciplinary unit on the September 11 tragedy. She was one of five teachers to receive this year's Awards. The Teacher Awards, established in 2008, recognize schools and teachers who have "created exemplary educational projects that uniquely explore the impact of September 11, 2001."

As the lead teacher of a seventh-grade teaching team, Ms. Mastrande coordinated and organized the projects, gathered materials, and planned the day-to-day activities. She also brought in speakers, acquired relevant films and documentaries, and arranged for a field trip to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center.

Three other teachers made up the teaching team that presented the curriculum on a daily basis. They were: English teacher Marissa Dove, who guided the children in writing their own poems after listening to those of survivors, family victims, and authors; science teacher Hedda Blitz, who led the students in discussions about respiratory disorders, sinus problems, and different types of cancers experienced by rescue workers and survivors; and mathematics teacher Frank LoPiccolo, who engaged the students in math activities related to the rebuilding and explored the economic impact of 9/11. Librarian Marsha Witten was also helpful in obtaining teaching materials and films.

Ms. Mastrande explained that this learning unit offered the 130 students in the program a "unique opportunity to have history become especially meaningful through readily available media footage and first-person talks with survivors, family members, and rescue and recovery workers."

As a result of their participation in this award-winning September 11 curriculum, many of the students are involved in the planning of their school's fall assembly program in recognition of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. They will also be working with the school's Community Action Club designing and raising funds for a memorial garden in the school's courtyard.


All-County Art Exhibit--March 20

Student artwork from South High, South Middle, and Baker Schools will be on view at the seventh annual Nassau All-County Art Exhibition, on Sunday, March 20, from noon-4 p.m., at the Harley Center, at Adelphi University. This free event, encompassing the work of students in kindergarten&endash;grade 12, is sponsored by the Art Supervisors Association. Drawings, paintings, photography, and mixed-media pieces will be on display.

The exhibit will showcase the work of outstanding young artists from 212 participating schools throughout the County. Student entries were selected by their art teachers with a maximum of three pieces from each teacher. All pieces were produced in alignment with the New York State Learning Standards for the Visual Arts. Participating students will receive an Award Certificate; each district may also select one high school student for a Senior Scholarship Award.

South High has 18 participating artists. Their art teachers are: Department Head Karen Cuchel, Colleen Campbell, Safia Fatimi, Katherine Heller, Jennifer Scheinberg, and Lisa Stancati.

There are 12 student artists from South Middle School. South Middle art teachers are: Department Chair Cynthia Smith, Gina Cacioppo, Karla Krupala, and Geoffrey Mead.

Bakers' three exhibit artists are taught by Tara Franzese.


Children's Entertainment Series Presents Harry the Dirty Dog

The final performance in the 2010-11 Great Neck Public Schools Children's Entertainment Series will be Harry the Dirty Dog, on Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m., at the North Middle School auditorium, 77 Polo Rd.

The storybook, Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion, has long captivated young readers. Harry, who hates taking baths, comes to life in this delightful tale. One morning, Harry runs away to avoid taking a bath. After a wonderful day spent playing in the dirt, Harry gets so dirty that he is no longer a white dog with black spots. He becomes a black dog with white spots. When he returns home, his family doesn't recognize him! Young audiences will surely relate to the thrill of getting dirty and the loving reassurance of family.

Birthday Parties

The Birthday Party Program will again be offered at each performance. Birthday parties must be scheduled in advance, to be held before or after a show. Performance seating is reserved for party members. Party facility fee is $100. Call the Recreation Department at (516) 441-4045 for more information and/or to make a reservation.

Series Information

The Children's Entertainment Series brings affordable and enjoyable cultural experiences into our community. Performances are suitable for children from kindergarten through the fifth grade.

Tickets, available at the door, are $4 per child and $7 per adult. Box office opens one hour before performance. Shows, which last about one hour and have open seating, are supervised by faculty members and parent volunteers.

For more information about tickets or the performance, or to make a Birthday Party reservation, call the Office of Recreation on school days at (516) 441-4045.


Adult Program Registration

Register now for Adult Program spring and summer classes. If you have not received your free catalog with the big yellow butterfly on the cover, please call the Adult Program at 441-4949. We want to be sure that you are on our mailing list. View the complete catalog and register online at


Special Events at the Adult Program

A story about a dog who gave a family hope; an afternoon concert of beloved French songs; a revealing look at biblical women in art; and baseball history and lunch--don't miss these four unique Great Neck Adult Program special events planned for April and May. Two programs meet at the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave.; two are off-site. For more information, or to register, please call the Adult Program at 441-4949, or register online at

Huck: NY Times Bestseller

Huck is the remarkable, true story of how one lost puppy taught a family and a whole town about hope and happy endings. It is a page-turning, unforgettable tale about the tenacity of one small dog, the unexpected, extraordinary kindness of strangers, and a family's devotion to one another. Janet Elder, the author of Huck, a New York Times bestseller, will talk about her book and about hanging on against the odds. Ms. Elder, a senior editor at the Times, was an engaging guest on the David Letterman Show. Mr. Letterman, in talking about Huck, said, "It's about hope.... It's about triumph.... I guarantee you'll feel better about everything after you read this." Huck was named one of the best books of 2010 by People magazine. Enjoy readings from the book and a question-and-answer session. Huck will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Join us at Cumberland for this special event on Thursday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. Fee: $15.

Kit Benton Sings Brel, Legrand, Aznavour

Kit Benton, a long-time Great Neck resident, performed her self-created show, French Connection, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, in NYC, last year. In it, she reveals her enchantment with Paris and her love of the music of Jacques Brel, Michel Legrand, Charles Aznavour, Cole Porter, and others. The music of French Connection ranges from familiar French melodies to songs originally written in French that became popularized internationally through their English versions. It also includes some familiar children's songs, such as "Frère Jacques" and "Au Clair de la Lune." Most of the songs are in English; some are in French. Since childhood, this music has been deeply ingrained in Kit's heart and sharing it with an audience increases her pleasure. Kit rediscovered her love of singing when taking cabaret classes at the Adult Program. She was nurtured along the way by vocal coaches, including Adult Program Teachers Beth Goodrich and Ken Grossman. Kit's director, Eric Michael Gillett, performs regularly at Feinstein's at Loew's Regency. His clients include stars of cabaret and musical theater. Gillett has also appeared on Broadway in the original cast of Sweet Smell of Success and Kiss Me Kate.

The musical director for this performance is John T. Prestianni, an accomplished and talented pianist, who will accompany Kit. Join us at Cumberland for this special concert on Sunday, May 1, at 2:30 p.m. Fee: $15.

Women of the Bible: Art Lecture & Lunch at Riverbay

Riverbay will once again be our host for the viewing of an artistic slide presentation, preceded by hors d'oeuvres and followed by a three-course luncheon. On this occasion, enjoy an intimate and detailed look at biblical females through the eyes of the artists who immortalized them. Enjoy a classical representation of women by Botticelli, Durer, Murillo, Rossetti, and others. Contrast these depictions with those of more modern, contemporary artists. Art Lecturer Louise Cella Caruso will present Eve, Sarah, the daughters of Lot, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Tamar, Esther, Delilah, Judith, Elizabeth, Jezebel, Mary Magdalene, Ruth, Batsheba, Shifrah, and Puah. These women were wives, daughters, mothers, queens, concubines, deacons, warriors, creators, and destroyers. Louise will entertain with anecdotes and sketches that bring the characters to life. The richly intense art will make these biblical dames unforgettable. Group leader Toby Israel will oversee this special event on Wednesday, May 4, beginning at 10:40 a.m. Meet at Riverbay restaurant, 700 Willis Ave., Williston Park (516) 742-9191. Fee: $49 (includes luncheon and gratuity and illustrated lecture). You must be pre-registered.

Baseball & Brunch at Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill

Baseball enthusiasts of all ages--adults, teens, and parents and grandparents with children--can partake of the home-run slugger's southern hospitality at a Saturday brunch amid memorabilia that includes Strawberry's original locker from Shea Stadium. If Darryl Strawberry--an eight-time All-Star--is in town (he lives in Missouri), he'll pop in to make sure we're having fun. If not, he'll provide a handsome baseball cap, embroidered with berries and S-T-R-A-W-B-E-R-R-Y, for one lucky person who will win it in a drawing. As an added attraction, Jerry Berkson, a baseball historian who teaches "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the Adult Program, will speak about the game. A selection of brunch entrée choices, dessert, and beverage are offered for both adults and children. This special event takes place on Saturday, May 21, at 11 a.m. Must be pre-registered. Meet at Strawberry's Sports Grill, 42-15 235 St., Douglaston (718) 517-8787. Fee: $39 for adults; $19 for children 12 and under (includes brunch and gratuity).

Get Fit at the Adult Program

More than 50 fitness classes are offered by the Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program. This spring, get motivated, improve your mood, and have more energy. Day, evening, and Saturday classes are taught in a wide array of fitness and dance styles. No matter what your fitness level or experience, there's sure to be at least one that's fun and works for you. Several are described below. Classes are held at the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave., unless otherwise noted. For more information or to register, please call the Adult Program at (516) 441-4949, or visit our Web site for complete descriptions and online registration at

Tap Dancing

Learn tap-dancing fundamentals as well as a new approach for relaxation, balance, and core strength. Have fun with award-winning choreographer, Jimmy Horvath, who danced for Bob Fosse. Acquire a basic understanding of the full mind-body connection through upper-body isolations and breath control. This tap-dancing technique will have you dancing fit--inside and out! Bring tap shoes, if you have them. Class meets ten Wednesdays, April 6-June 22 (no class April 20, June 8), 3:30-5 p.m. Cumberland. Fee: $175 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents; $185 for nonresidents.

Bollywood Dancing

Bollywood-style dance originated in Indian films, fusing classical styles and western modern dance. Begin by warming up through stretching, cardio movements, and light aerobics to increase flexibility and strengthen core muscles. Then proceed to learn the choreography for a variety of Bollywood songs. The music is an important component for feeling the energy of the dance, which starts at your head and ends at your feet. Come ready to dance, smile, and, above all, feel alive! Joy Shapiro teaches this class on eleven Wednesdays, April 6-June 22 (no class April 20), 4:30-5:30 p.m. Fee: $115 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents; $125 for nonresidents.

Jazz Dancing

No experience necessary! This class consists of a 15-minute warm-up and a 20-minute cardio session, followed by choreographed jazz routines. The last part of the class will include a cool down and a deep stretch. Music used will be some of the latest pop hits as well as other dance music. Wear sneakers or purchase jazz shoes to enhance your technique as you explore jazz dance. Jennifer Stathes teaches this class on nine Mondays, April 11-June 27 (no class April 18 & 25, May 30), 10-11 a.m. Fee: $99 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents; $109 for nonresidents.


Zumba fuses Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away. Our goal is simple: we want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exciting hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate life. The routines feature interval training where fast and slow rhythms and resistance are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix and you've got a Zumba class. There will also be a warm-up and cool-down, along with stretching, dancing, moving, and exercising. Iris Roberts teaches three sections of this class, nine Mondays, April 4-June 20 (no class April 18 & 25, May 30), 4:30-5:30 p.m., fee: $95 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, $105 for nonresidents; or ten Wednesdays, April 6&endash;June 22 (no class April 20, June 8), Noon-1 p.m., fee: $105 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, $115 for nonresidents; or eleven Thursdays, April 7-June 23 (no class April 21), 10:30-11:30 a.m., fee: $115 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, $125 for nonresidents. Jamie Farino teaches Zumba on eleven Thursdays, April 7-June 23 (no class April 21), 4:30-5:30 p.m., fee: $115 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, $125 for nonresidents; or eleven Thursdays, April 7-June 23 (no class April 21), 5:30-6:30 p.m., fee: $115 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, $125 for nonresidents.

Nia: Seated

Exercise, while seated, to diverse and inspiring music. Nia is a movement class that teaches you to be more joyful, expressive, and alive in your body. Nia aims to release blocked energy and improve flexibility, mobility, strength, and balance. Each class will calm your mind and soar your spirits. People of all ages and all fitness levels can enjoy Nia. Movements are simple, allowing you to find your own comfort level and reach your full potential. Vivi Kraft teaches this class on nine Mondays, April 4-June 20 (no class April 18 & 25, May 30), 10:30-11:15 a.m. Fee: $65 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents; $75 for nonresidents.

Dance Movement for those with Parkinson's Disease

This movement class is designed specifically to meet the needs and challenges of those living with Parkinson's disease. Neurologists and neuroscientists confirm that rhythmic, structured, and expressive movement is helpful in reducing some of the symptoms of Parkinson's. It helps organize, increase, and stimulate the mind/body connection, improving plasticity in the brain, cognitive functioning, and memory loss, and decreasing rigidity, tremors, slowness of gait, and social isolation. In this class, practice movement sequences from chairs, focusing on posture, breathing, stretching, coordination, awareness of timing, and quality of movement expression. Progress to standing and traveling dance exercises with support, where possible. Helena Dluha leads this class on ten Thursdays, April 7-June 16 (no class April 21), Noon-1 p.m. Fee: $109 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents; $119 for nonresidents. Register with a family member, friend, or aide, at no additional charge.