The Long Island Music Hall of Fame has awarded five Long Island high school graduates $1,000 college scholarships to help further their education in music and the arts.
This is the first time the Hall of Fame has offered a competitive scholarship of this kind, broadening its reach to accommodate students in Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn and Queens, which are all under the Long Island umbrella.
“Even when we’re dealing with artists, the No. 1 thing people seem to be concerned about is music and music education,” said Tom Needham, chairman of the Hall of Fame educational board. “Education is important to us, and this year, we wanted to broaden our scope to include college opportunities.”
This year’s winners include Hauppauge High School graduate Justin Albinder, Herricks High School graduate Joslyn Thomas, Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate Jennifer Lindell, H. Frank Carey High School graduate Catherine Chang and Massapequa High School graduate Timothy Diovanni.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students had to demonstrate outstanding ability, show ongoing participation in school music programs and extracurricular endeavors, as well as the desire to study the arts in college.
Albinder, one of the winners, grew up immersed in the arts. He began by studying trumpet and music, but found his calling as an actor in his teenage years, spending summers performing at the French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts in upstate New York. Albinder was also heavily involved in the drama programs at Hauppauge High School, and took an interest in organizing theatrical pieces that sparked social awareness.
Albinder is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theater at Ithaca College.
“I’m very open minded, I know there is a lot that I don’t know, and I have so much to learn,” Albinder said. “But I’ve always wanted to study theater, it was always on my mind. I couldn’t think of anything else I really wanted to do.”
Joslyn Thomas, of Albertson, wants to take her musical abilities into the classroom, and is studying music education at Westminster College in New Jersey. Thomas is an accomplished soprano and alto and a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, which has partnered with LIMHoF for prior scholarship opportunities.
“I feel like teaching would make me happier than performing, because you really get to be hands on with kids, and make an impact,” Thomas said. “Music gives people an opportunity to express themselves, their thoughts, their feelings, in other ways.”
The scholarship winners will be honored at the LIMHoF annual induction ceremony on Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.