Talented kids on Long Island
Meet some aspiring singers, dancers, artists and more from Long Island.
BRIDGET ABRALDES, 8, third-grader from Holbrook
TALENT: Irish Dance
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Placed first in 2010 in the under 8 years dvision of the North American National Irish Dance Competition in Disney World; traveled to Scotland to compete internationally in October 2010.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: Bridget's most memorable performance moment was winning the North American National Irish Dance Championship for her age group, which took place in July 2010 in Orlando. Since then, she has two Top Five finishes at the All Scotland Championships in Glasgow and Great Britain Championships held in southern England in October 2010. She just won the Mid Atlantic Regional Oireachtas held over the Thanksgiving weekend in Philadelphia.
AVA BIANCHI, 9, fourth-grader from Hampton Bays
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Performed the National Anthem at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton in September 2010; played Eponine in "Les Miserables" at the Gateway Playhouse and in "Good Morning Baltimore" at the Bay Street Theatre Festival in Sag Harbor for an October 2010 fundraiser.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: "I really liked performing at the Hampton Classic. It made me feel like a superstar because it was a big stadium with a lot of people. Just to get the chance to perform there was a really great honor since all the singers who perform at the Classic each year are great singers."
CHARLIE DANE, 12, sixth-grader from Oyster Bay.
TALENT: Sings and plays guitar
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Winner of the 2010 Town of Oyster Bay Arts Council Talent Competition and Morgan Park 2010 Young Performers Talent Competition; performed at pre-game concert prior to New York Islanders game in October 2010.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: "I played a benefit concert at Nassau Coliseum before the Islander game on Oct. 16 and then sang "God Bless America" on the ice during the game. It was memorable because I had never performed at such a large venue before and it was for a great cause: Let's Rock and Roll For A Cure."
HANNA FIERSTEIN, 15, Tenth-grader from Bay Shore.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: When she did a talent show at school and everyone had signs up, screaming and waving their cell phones, which was a very touching moment.
RACHEL HANKERS, 15, Tenth-grader from Centereach
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: First place winner of "Centereach Idol" in 2009; performed at the "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" Fundraiser for the Lutz family at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson in 2010; took first place in the teen division of the Town of Brookhaven's Annual Vocal Talent Show in 2010; First Place Winner Long Island's Got Talent in 2010.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: On July 31, 2010, she won the "Long Island's Got Talent" contest benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County. Rachel won a trip to Disney World for 4.
MATT KNISPEL, 14, eighth-grader from North Massapequa
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Matt says that the most memorable moment was his very first live performance that took place at his elementary school's talent night.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: After the warm reception he received from the parents and fellow students, Matt said, "I love this feeling. This is what I want to do." And he's never stopped performing. He also said he is very grateful that so many other musicians he played with have given him their kindness and support.
OLIVIA MEGALE, 10, sixth-grader from East Meadow
TALENT: Singing and comedy
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Woodland school plays: "Camp Rock" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: "Livi" has had a few different solos in her ballet recitals in the past, but her favorite and most memorable performance came last year when she had one of the leads in "Camp Rock" in her school’s musical. Her character was the only one who had two singing solos and even more fun than that was the fact that Livi was playing the “mean” girl in this play and that was fun and challenging to her because that is the exact opposite of who she really is. Livi will be in Woodland’s production of "Fiddler on the Roof" this spring.
JACK MEGALE, age 12, seventh grade from East Meadow
TALENT: Sings, plays guitar and piano.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: School singing competitions
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: Most memorable performance was at Woodland Idol last Spring. Woodland Idol is a singing competition that is set up in the form of American Idol and takes place at many schools on Long Island. A packed house and the roar of the crowd really got him going.
SAM MILLER, 11, sixth grader from Merrick.
TALENT: Guitar player.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Sam Miller has a site on YouTube called iloverockproductions. When he was 9, he posted a guitar lesson for the song “As tears go by” by "Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. So far that lesson has close to 6,000 views. He keeps on playing guitar and posting new videos on You Tube. Sam loves the guitar. He is looking for other musicians his age, so he can start a band playing The Who, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Band, Pink Floyd and more Classic Rock bands.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: In August, Redbull beverages saw a performance of his on You Tube and contacted the family to bring him in to play on their stage. They loved him and asked if he could come back for two more nights. When he came back, Sam played for “VH1’s Save The Music’s Break n through.” The next night Sam played for a Redbull benefit for Skateistan. That night, all of the world’s top skateboarders came with their hand-painted signed skateboards to sell at auction. The money made that night helped give the children in Afghanistan a place to go skateboarding. All of the skateboarders there loved him and were screaming “Sammy Hendrix” because Sam played two songs on guitar by Jimi Hendrix. One was “Fire” and one was “Purple Haze.” Sam used a backing drum track and his father Jack backed him on bass guitar. All of the non-Americans there were asking Sam, “How do you play like this at such a young age?” He was also told by the skateboarders that in the countries where they are from their children only play guitar video games.”
MARISSA ANN RIZZITELLO, 13, eighth-grader from Ronkonkoma.
TALENT: Composes and sings.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: "I've performed at events such as singing the National Anthem at Long Island Ducks games. I also sing at many Make-A-Wish fundraisers and have sung at a few family weddings. I also have performed in several plays. I have had the lead parts in the plays 'Guys and Dolls,' 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'The Music Man.' I am currently rehearsing in a school musical play, 'Thoroughly Modern Millie.' I play the lead character Millie and am very excited. SCMEA is another event that I have participated in three times."
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: "My most memorable performance was when I sang the song, 'Through the Eyes of Love' at my aunt and uncle's wedding. After my performance, my whole family crowded around me, cried hysterically and started hugging and kissing me. They were all so proud of me and it made me cry. I love music and performing and I hope to pursue a career in it."
CHRISTINA SANGENITI, 11, sixth-grader from Malverne
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Auditioned for NBC's "America's Got Talent"; has the lead role as Jo Jo in the play "Suessical"; performed in children's choir since 5 years old
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: Auditioning for "America's Got Talent"
JESSE SCHEINMAN, 15, Tenth-grader from Dix Hills.
TALENT: Stand-up comedy.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Jesse has performed at many venues in Manhattan and on Long Island. The list includes: Gotham Comedy Club, Caroline's, New York Comedy Club, The Brokerage, and Governors. He has also performed at local hotels through Comedy to Go. He is almost always the youngest comedian and receives many laughs because of his material and much recognition from the audience. He is always invited back. He sometimes has audience members asking to pose for pictures with him.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT Jesse's most memorable performance was the first time he appeared at Caroline's in the heart of Times Square. He performed alongside members of "Saturday Night Live" and "Last Comic Standing" in front of a packed house. He made the audience feel at ease with a 14-year-old comedian by opening with, "My parents told me I was going to see 'Toy Story.'" Since then he has been invited back twice. His next appearance there is Dec. 20, 2010.
BRIAN SIEGEL, 14, ninth-grader from Cold Spring Harbor
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Youngest member of the adult choir at Temple Beth El in Huntington.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT; He was nominated twice and participated in All County chorus and then performed at the Tiles Center for the Performing Arts at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University; at the age of 14, he was invited to participate in the adult choir of Temple Beth El and performed a lengthy solo in Hebrew at the Yom Kippur service of Temple Beth El, where he remains a soloist of the choir and continues to perform.
KAYLA STARR, 13, eighth-grader from Sayville
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Performs at car shows
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: Kayla is an oldies singer specializing in the '50s and '60s. She travels around performing the Tristate area mostly at oldies shows, sock hops, festivals, car shows and concerts under the stars. She is soon to set sail on a tropical cruise with many other oldies groups for an oldies cruise next December. "My most memorable performance was recently a show called the Stevie GB Variety show at the Bellmore Theater. It was my favorite because I kind of was the headline act. Usually I am the opening act. The Bellmore Theater also has really great Jawbreakers in the lobby!"
ALEX WORRELL AND BRANDON STOCKERT, 11, sixth-graders from Sayville
TALENT: Singing, playing guitar (Brandon, bottom) and drums (Alex, top)
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: They started out opening for Kayla Starr at car shows and street fairs. Not only are they the biggest Beatles fans ever, it's the only music they play.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: "The huge turnout at our first performance and getting tips to spend at the Sayville Summer Festival!"
CASSANDRA VITALE, 9, fourth grader from Elwood.
TALENT: Singing and dancing.
CONTESTS/PERFORMANCES/RECOGNITION: Cassandra has an intense passion for performing. She was singing before she spoke full sentences as a very young child and had displayed an interest in performing at a very early age. After seeing her first live performance ("The Nutcracker") at the age of 4, Cassandra declared that she wanted to be in a show and was cast in the same production of "The Nutcracker" a year later. She eventually pursued musical theater and by the age of 7 was performing in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Following that show, she was cast in "Beauty and the Beast" at Northport Community Theater. She is currently a lead orphan named July in "Annie" and is having the time of her life. Rehearsals usually run five nights a week for these shows, and she gets home sometimes after 11 p.m. and has to get up for school by 7 a.m. the next morning. Once the show starts, she is committed to performing every weekend until the show closes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But she absolutely loves every moment of it, from the late nights to making new friends to learning new techniques. Something interesting about Cassandra is that she finds her own auditions on different theater websites and researches the roles open before asking her parents to bring her. She usually watches clips on YouTube from the shows that she is looking into to see if the specific part maybe right for her.
MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE MOMENT: To date, her most memorable performance moment is being "miked up" for her solo in "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile." She considers it a privilege to be vocally distinguished that way. She is making the most out of her opportunity to be highlighted in that number!