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April Garnock

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Amityville Music Hall Celebrates Return of Live Music At Reopening Party

amityville music hall
Family Dinner, a local band, played at Amityville Music Hall for its reopening party on July 8. (Photo by April Garnock)

Seventeen months after the coronavirus pandemic forced Amityville Music Hall to shut its doors, live music fans and musicians excitedly packed the venue on July 8 to celebrate its long-awaited reopening.  

The show sold out, and the small venue was packed with more than 90 people standing shoulder to shoulder, marking the return of a scene that had been missing from the region. Long Island-based rock bands Vinnie Caruana, Innerlove, Victory Garden, Family Dinner, and DJ Beso took the stage for a high-energy show with a crowd that was clearly itching to get back to dancing and singing together in person.

“It’s definitely really weird [to be back]. It still kind of feels like we’re not supposed to be doing it, but it’s a good kind of weird,” said Jennifer Moglia, one of the concertgoers.

The musicians were just as eager to be back at the small venue known for hosting up-and-coming bands and underground acts with strong followings. With dozens of Long Island venues still in various stages of reopening, band members were relieved to finally play live at Amityville Music Hall.

Photo by April Garnock.

“We’ve all been itching, every band here has been itching to do what they want to do again. It’s great to be back here,” the lead singer of Victory Garden said on stage. 

They encouraged people to dance and have a good time as they performed both old and new songs. 

“There should be no room, we’re leaving that … in 2020,” the lead singer of Family Dinner said during their set. “No more pre-Covid habits, everybody dance.”

In the small, humid room filled with the familiar smell of sweat and beer, concertgoers made lighthearted jokes and laughed together.

“Boy Covid, huh?” the lead singer of Victory Garden joked on stage. “Feels good, feeling rusty.”

Vinnie Caruana, the headliner of the night, played the last set before the after-party with DJ Beso began.

“This feels right, this feels … amazing,” he said.

For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment

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One-of-a-kind ‘Selfie Studio,’ PopUp Speakeasy, Opens in Ronkonkoma

popup speakeasy
Courtesy PopUp Speakeasy

If you’re looking for a photoshoot with creative backdrops and fun props, then New York’s first selfie studio, PopUp Speakeasy, is the place for you.

At the studio in Ronkonkoma, guests can access a variety of different themes to take their selfie game to the next level. Catherine Ovejas, the creative director and co-owner, provides different set ups every few months with backgrounds and unique props from different eras.

“I like to think of it as a photo experience,” she said. “[You’re] making your own vision come alive.”

Courtesy PopUp Speakeasy

Since opening on May 1, the studio has attracted all different kinds of people. It’s open to the general public, as well as professional photographers and brands.

“We love that we have something for everyone, so it’s been a fun mix of families, influencers, children, professional photographers, creators, musicians, artists … really everyone,” Ovejas said.

While most photography studios are meant for special occasions and professionals, Ovejas has created something different. Her idea for the selfie studio came from wanting to provide ordinary people with a fun, accessible, and affordable photography experience.

Also unlike a traditional photography studio, PopUp Speakeasy is more of an independent, do-it-yourself situation.

Courtesy PopUp Speakeasy

“Our team is always ready to help and give you directions in terms of poses and ways you can use the props, but it is a selfie studio and what that really means is … bring your own camera,” Ovejas said.

Guests simply buy a ticket and gain access to more than 15 different themes, backdrops, and props for one hour. Themes change every few months and many are inspired by pop culture, decades, and current trends. 

Tickets are $15-$25, and you can make a reservation here or call to book a private event. For more information, visit popupspeakeasy.com or check out photos on Instagram @popupspeakeasy.

Courtesy PopUp Speakeasy

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Webinar Addresses Covid Learning Slide With Founder of Fit Learning

fit learning
Dr. Kimberly Berens, Founder of Fit Learning

Many children have been experiencing learning slides due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a recent webinar offered helpful information on why this is happening and how to handle it.

Schneps Media, the parent company of Long Island Press, recently held a webinar called “Reversing The Covid Learning Slide,” which explained the causes of the Covid learning slide and possible solutions. 

The webinar featured expert guest Kimberly Berens, Ph.D., a scientist-educator, FIT Learning founder, and author of the highly acclaimed new book Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them.

“Behavioral science is actually the science behind how learning occurs, and it’s not how schools are designed and unfortunately it’s not how most teachers are trained, and as a result schools can be vastly ineffective for most kids” Dr. Berens said.

She discusses why summer school is not the solution to the Covid learning slide and how kids were already below proficiency levels before the pandemic due to the way the education system is designed.

“The establishment believes in the way that they’ve designed schools … they believe in the way they train their teachers, and even though these beliefs clearly don’t lead to effective practices … they don’t want to let go of their practices because those practices match what they believe they should be doing,” Berens explained.

Direct instruction, which is born from behavioral science, coupled with repeated reinforcement of behavior, is what children need in order to learn effectively, she added. FIT learning’s system of instruction produces one year’s growth in only 40 hours of training and targets all kinds of skills like reading fluency, basic classroom readiness, comprehension and more. 

“It takes a breakdown to achieve a breakthrough … maybe this pandemic is the breakdown that is required to have the educational establishment actually realize that they are not producing reliable outcomes with kids … and that they aren’t competent to produce rapid acceleration of skills,” Berens said.

For more information on the Covid learning slide and how to improve your child’s education, view the entire webinar here.

To learn more about Fit Learning and Dr. Kim Berens you can email admin@fitlearners.com, call 516-801-4817 or visit fitlearning.com.

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JCC in Plainview Celebrates Inaugural Nationwide Holocaust Survivor Day

Photo by Ed Shin

The Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview celebrated the inaugural, nationwide Holocaust Survivor Day on Thursday.

Holocaust Survivor Day is a day for survivors to celebrate their own life and accomplishments and to be recognized and supported for everything they do for communities everywhere. 

On March 6, Michael Berenbaum and Jonathan Ornstein in the Jerusalem Post called for Holocaust survivors to celebrate their lives on a day not shared with the tragedies of the Holocaust. 

“We are here today to celebrate the survivors, and not talk about what happened in the past, but to celebrate you and what you’ve accomplished today,” said the leader of the JCC event. 

A blessing was shared for all the survivors and their families and everyone celebrated with lots of food and music. 

“What we’re here today to celebrate is about the families that you’ve created, the businesses, the success that you’ve had, the wonderful children and grandchildren you have … you’re all here today to be celebrated.”

Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin
Photo by Ed Shin

For more scene & seen event photos visit longislandpress.com/category/scene-seen.

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Long Island Stage Assists Struggling Musicians in Pandemic

long island stage
Brian McAuliff and John Maggione.

During a time when Covid-19 is still impacting daily life and has forced many live music venues to close for an extended period of time, Long Island Stage has given local artists the opportunity to get back into music and performing.

Long Island Stage is a project started by Brian McAuliff, founder of Bohemia-based Bri-Tech, and John “Johnny Sax” Mangione to celebrate and help musicians get back to doing what they love by providing high-quality recording studios, live virtual concerts, and promotions for artists at no cost. 

“As a fan of music and recognizing that these artists need our support because their livelihoods have been particularly impacted by Covid-19 many have been out of work for almost a year we formed this partnership to help raise funds which will go directly to local musicians as well as music students on Long Island,” said McAuliff.

All donations and sponsorships for Long Island Stage will go through Ramona’s Gift of Music, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to supporting youth music programs and offers music scholarships and awards.

Season one of Long Island Stage started in April and is expected to continue this summer and featured artists such as Kate Van Dorn, Krysta Ferrara, LI Scene’s Tiffany Castillo, Allie Tamburello, Dedric Curry 1 Step Ahead, Evil Sweet, Buddy Merriam, Matt Hoffman, Gene Casey, Latinology, and The New Millennium Jazz Band Quartet. Dates for the next episodes will be announced over the next couple of weeks.

“As artists are out of work, this is a way for musicians to put money in their pocket and get audiences used to going out and going to bars and restaurants and listening to live music once again,” said Mangione.

The Long Island Stage project celebrates 30 years of service to Long Island by Bri-Tech, an electronic engineering firm and the leading sponsor of the project. Bri-Tech opened new studios in Bohemia last year, has donated to many local charities, and wanted to expand their support to the individuals utilizing their studios through this project.

To learn more about Long Island Stage and stay up to date with local artists and performances, visit here.

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Webinar to Give Expert Advice on “Reversing the Covid Learning Slide”

covid learning slide

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of children to fall behind academically, but summer school isn’t the solution.

Kimberly Berens, Ph.D., a child development expert, author of the highly acclaimed new book, Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them, and a founder of Fit Learning, will share her expertise and advice in the webinar “Reversing The Covid Learning Slide.”

Dr. Berens will discuss why summer school is not the answer to the Covid learning slide as many parents scramble to decide what to do for their children.

She will provide expert knowledge about the real issues behind the Covid learning slide and how to reverse it through science based learning strategies that are proven to work and help children adjust academically as schools begin to reopen.

The webinar, hosted by Schneps Media, the parent company of Long Island Press, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jun 29. REGISTER HERE to get the link and attend. Follow Dr. Berens on Instagram at @DrKBerens and on Facebook at @FitLearningTriState.

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Northwell Nurse Choir Gets the Gold on America’s Got Talent Audition

nurse choir
Northwell Nurse Choir celebrates their golden buzzer. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

The Northwell Health Nurse Choir from Long Island put on an inspiring and heartwarming audition on America’s Got Talent, impressing the judges and earning them the golden buzzer, giving them an automatic spot in the quarterfinals. 

The group of 18 nurses performed a medley of “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King and “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers on the NBC show’s June 1 episode, rendering positive emotional reactions from all the judges. The choir was created during the most difficult time of the pandemic for the nurses to spread love and joy through the power of music.

“We know that there’s a lot of us out there that are still hurting. We’re hoping to just shoot out some joy and some love and to let them know that we found our resilience and we’re hoping that they do, as well,” said Winnie Mele, one of the choir members, during the audition. 

nurse choir
Northwell Nurse Choir and Howie Mandel on America’s Got Talent (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

The choir members are a part of the largest health system in New York and come from a team of 19,000 nurses that work for various Northwell Health hospitals and medical facilities. The Northwell nurses have cared for 200,000 Covid-19 patients during this challenging year and created their choir to spread positivity and forge bonds. 

The beautiful medley led to a standing ovation from the crowd and praise from the judges.

“We need you. The world needs you. It’s going to touch a lot of people. People are going to remember this audition. I’m going to remember this audition,” said Simon Cowell, one of the judges.

Howie Mandel, another judge, described the performance as “heroic” just before dramatically pressing the golden buzzer, granting the choir a spot in the live show.

Northwell Nurse Choir. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

In a shower of golden confetti, the nurses join together, jumping and hugging together on stage. If the choir makes it to the final round and wins the competition, they’ll be given a $1 million cash prize.

“It’s just been a very dark, trying time for all of us, but the one thing that’s bringing us a little bit of light and a little bit of hope is music,” said Mele. “This choir has actually been a beacon of hope for us.”

Cheer on the Northwell nurses by watching the full performance here.

Northwell Nurse Choir. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment

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