Art & Music Department

Robert J. Wottawa II, Ed.D.

Secretary Carol Bartlett 631-224-2143




Photography Students Enjoy Lennon’s Lighting Workshop


The high school’s photography classes recently participated in a hands-on workshop about lighting with a returning visitor, local wedding photographer, John Lennon. The students were given a chance to use Lennon’s professional camera and lighting equipment, enhancing their technical skills.

“It was such a wonderful experience to have Mr. Lennon come back again this year,” said teacher and Photography Club adviser Heather Toomey. “The students and I learned so much from him.”

“It was great to work with Mr. Lennon and to hear his thoughts on the importance of photographic lighting,” added teacher Joy Taylor. “It is always exciting to hear from professionals and have them share their expertise with our students."

“It was an interesting and fun learning experience that introduced us to new techniques and equipment,” said student Alana Fiederlein. 

“I got to learn about things that I wouldn’t have had the chance to, because of his equipment,” said her classmate John Camlet. “I can't wait until he returns next year.”



Passion on Display at Winter Concerts


The district’s hardworking and talented music students displayed the results of their studies at a series of six impressive winter concerts held in December at the high school’s Rydzeski Hall. During the prior months, students from the high school, middle school, and JFK and RCK elementary schools practiced at home and attended numerous rehearsals and lessons, all in preparation for their performances in front of family and friends.

“Our music students demonstrated a high level of musicianship and professionalism in their winter concerts,” said Giovanna Ruggiero, the high school’s orchestra director. “They achieved this through their consistent dedication and passion for music. I am so proud of the hard work each student displayed and I look forward to hearing continued musical growth in upcoming performances.”

JFK Orchestra Director Jaime DeMaria said, “The concert was a huge success and we all can’t wait to see what these spectacular students can do in the spring.”





MS Band Bus Tour Proves a Holiday Highlight

The middle school’s Holiday Ensemble, composed of spirited students from the school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society, traveled around the district by bus on Dec. 22, spreading cheer through music.

Led by director Concetta Stevens, the band tackled a sprightly selection of holiday classics at each stop, which included Connetquot and RCK elementary schools; the district office, where they performed for administrators; and the Early Childhood Center, where they played for students of the  South Shore Preschool for Early Childhood Education. At each site, Stevens also presented a brief history and demonstration of all the band instruments.



Honoring All-State/All-County Musicians

Four high school student-musicians – Kurte Eide, Richard Hughes, Michael Krebs and Evan Mauner – were awarded All-State honors by the New York State School Music Association, and participated in at the NYSSMA Winter Conference at the Eastman Theater in Rochester.

At the All-State concert, held on Dec. 4, Eide (jazz trombone) and Mauner (trumpet) performed with the All-State Instrumental Jazz Ensemble, Hughes (trumpet) played with the All-State Wind Ensemble, and Krebs (bass) sang in the All-State Mixed Chorus.

Additionally, 18 students from East Islip were named All-County musicians, and participated in the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education’s All-County Festival concerts, held on Nov. 18 at Northport High School..

Zachary Schurman played alto saxophone with the All-County Band under the direction of Dr. James Tapia.

Representing East Islip in the two choral ensembles were Brittney Berke, Kendra Canavan and Sabrina Firneno in the All-County Women’s Chorus and Roy Anderson, Amanda Baranek, Sarah Bloom, Krebs, Vincenzo Mediate and Sara Rapuzzi in the All-County Mixed Chorus. Selections included original compositions by Women’s Chorus Director Joan Szymko as well as a mix of contemporary and classical pieces.

Eight students were instrumentalists in the All-County Orchestra: Eide on trombone, Beth Hillman on oboe, Nicole Humpf on cello, Richie Hughes and Kevin Jacobsen on trumpet, Samantha Smith on violin, Michael Stevens on horn, and Devin Thelemann on double bass. Under the direction of Joshua Gersen, with conducting assistance from retired East Islip orchestra director Susan W. Rydzeski and current East Islip wind ensemble director Christopher Neske, the orchestra performed “Mars and Jupiter” from Holst’s “The Planets” as well as Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture. 

“We are so proud of all our All-State and All-County students for their hard work and dedication to their musicianship,” said Dr. Robert J. Wottawa II, the district’s director of art, ENL, music and world languages. “Our students’ accomplishments are a reflection of our teachers’ support and love of teaching, and we cannot thank them enough.”



Monday, February 20, 2017