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Suffolk School Notebook: Long Island music ensembles recognized

Sixteen high school music ensembles on Long Island

Sixteen high school music ensembles on Long Island have been recognized for performances recorded by their students during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. The recordings are available on the LIMHOF's website. Credit: Long Island Music Hall of Fame

Sixteen high school music ensembles have been recognized for their performances amid the COVID-19 pandemic by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

The organization invited local schools to submit videos of music their students created last school year under "unbelievably difficult conditions and pandemic restrictions," hall officials said.

Videos were reviewed by a panel of music educators and the hall's Education Committee. The winning entries can be viewed on the hall's website,

"During the pandemic, school music programs in particular were dealing with incredible restrictions due to social distancing and remote learning, which created major difficulty for students learning to play music," said the hall's Education Chairman Tom Needham. "A lot of schools made it work, and we wanted to showcase their accomplishments under the circumstances."

The winning ensembles were: Centereach High School's philharmonic orchestra, select vocal ensemble and wind ensemble; Farmingdale High School's mixed chorus; Great Neck North High School's chamber ensembles; Great Neck South High School's wind ensemble; Half Hollow Hills High School East's guitar ensemble; Harborfields High School's jazz band; Hicksville High School's chamber singers; Kellenberg Memorial High School's ensemble; Long Beach High School's select choir; Lynbrook High School's concert choir; Southampton High School's swing orchestra; and Wheatley High School's jazz and string ensembles.

"While the circumstances for the recording, and for all of our music programs during the past year, were far from ideal, everybody rose to the occasion and persevered," said Dan Bilawsky, the director of Harborfields' jazz band, which submitted a video of socially distanced students in the school's auditorium performing Benny Carter's "Dream Time."


New principal

Erika Della Rosa is the new principal of Bellport High School in the South Country School District. She replaced Timothy Hogan, who retired.

Della Rosa has served as the school's assistant principal and a summer school principal since 2014. Before that, she worked as a foreign language teacher in the district.

"I am honored to have been chosen to lead Bellport High School," Della Rosa said. "I love this community and our students, families and staff. I wouldn't have wanted to be a principal anywhere else."


New principal

Daniel Danbusky has been named principal of Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School. He replaced James Bolen, who is now the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District.

Danbusky had been principal of Northport High School since 2015, and before that he served three years as the school's assistant principal. He also has been a teacher on special assignment and a dean of students in the Brentwood School District.

"I am very impressed by the success that has already been achieved, and I believe that together we can provide new opportunities for our students to achieve even greater success in the future," Danbusky said.


New principal

Jeremy Garritano has been named principal of Westhampton Beach Elementary School. He replaced Lisa Slover, who moved out of state.

Garritano had served as an assistant principal at Southampton Elementary School since 2019, and before that he was a special-education teacher in the Riverhead Central School District.

"I am truly humbled by this opportunity and realize the incredible responsibility that has been entrusted to me, the children of Westhampton Beach," Garritano said. "I am eager to begin my work getting to know each and every student and family while working to become ingrained in the deep-rooted traditions and values that are at the heart of the Westhampton Beach Elementary School, district and community."


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