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Piano Man Attends Billy Joel Tribute

Billy Joel watches Glen Cove elementary school students perform a tribute concert in his name.

Billy Joel applauded and smiled during at the “The River of Dreams: A Billy Joel Tribute Concert” in Glen Cove. Credit: Glen Cove School District
Billy Joel applauded and smiled during at the “The River of Dreams: A Billy Joel Tribute Concert” in Glen Cove. Credit: Glen Cove School District

It’s not every day that students get to sing before a Long Island legend. Yet that was the case Wednesday for a group of Glen Covers when Billy Joel himself attended Deasy Elementary School’s  “The River of Dreams: A Billy Joel Tribute Concert.”

"We invited Billy Joel on a lark, but we didn't expect him to come. It was totally thrilling," Deasy Principal Nomi Rosen told Newsday. "We were all beside ourselves."

Joel, who lives in nearby Centre Island, sat among parents at the Wunsch Center stage at Finley Middle School, where the concert was held. He “applauded at the end of every song, smiling all the way” as Kindergartners through second graders performed an “eclectic collection” of the Piano Man’s hits, according to the district.

Kindergartners kicked off the performance with “You May Be Right” and closed with “Uptown Girl,” with Kalia Edwards featured as a soloist on “Lullaby” in-between.

First-graders performed “My Life,” with Alana Barnes and Jordan Billings singing solos in “Tell Her About It” and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).” Second-grade singers sang “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man,” with solos by Caleb Ham, Amy Cruz-Chacon and Trinity Gilreath, respectively.

"This was a very welcomed surprise,” Rosita Mallo, the school’s concert director told Newsday, noting that she found out Joel was in the audience only moments before the performance. “It gave the kids extra energy to perform."

Days before the show, Deasy parents and teachers began spreading the word by writing letters and through social media, hoping that Joel would attend, school officials said.

And although he was invited to sit up front, he chose a seat further back so as not to rattle the performers, Newsday reported. Joel left the show after hearing the kindergartners and first graders perform, as audience members began asking for photos and autographs.

Still his presence left the kids “in awe” and “proud to perform for him,” Rosen said.
DDB April 11, 2014 at 02:06 PM
What a great experience these children could have all had if it wasn't for the selfishness of the parents and adults around them. Me Me Me...sickening.
loving lindy April 11, 2014 at 03:38 PM
I have not been on the Patch in some time and see this nice story about Billy Joel and of course there is a negative comment by "Get Off My Lawn." Why can't you just say nothing. Why need to comment. This is why no one reads the Patch anymore. Everyone gets so tired of the toxic people. I agree with Carol H. Enough already. Nicely done Billy! Now I am officially done with this on-line news thread. So please Get Off My Lawn, educate us all how "you are entitled to your opinion." No one cares!
teena April 11, 2014 at 07:05 PM
so sick of hearing everyone blaming the parents. the show ended, the parents were all leaving (to get back to work!) and billy joel was sitting right by the exit. all the parents had to pass him. the 'mob' that bothered him for autographs was teachers who brought out their soloist along with their parents. he left because half the auditorium was leaving!
Gabe Gonsalves April 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Billy Joel is a class act.......I know him from my younger days. The man is true to his roots.

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