Singing Songs for the Piano Man


Deasy Elementary School’s annual spring concert carried a special theme this year, and the students received more than they bargained for. Vocalists in grades kindergarten through second presented “The River of Dreams: A Billy Joel Tribute Concert” held under the direction of Rosita Mallo in conjunction with the school’s visual arts department, led by Jean Bennardo.

With student artwork serving as the backdrop, each grade level at Deasy took to the Wunsch Center stage at Finley Middle School to sing an eclectic collection of the Long Island legend’s greatest hits. Kindergarteners led off with “You May Be Right” and closed with “Uptown Girl,” with Kalia Edwards featured as a soloist on “Lullaby” in-between. First-graders led off with “My Life,” with Alana Barnes and Jordan Billings providing solo vocals on “Tell Her About It,” before the group closed with the classic “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song). Second-grade singers opened with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and closed out the festivities with “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man,” with solos delivered by Caleb Ham, Amy Cruz-Chacon and Trinity Gilreath on the latter. Students kept the audience grooving as they swayed their arms to various movements depicted in the lyrics of the different songs.

This wonderful tribute was made even more memorable by the presence of one special surprise guest: Mr. Billy Joel, himself, attended the show!  He sat in the audience among parents, and applauded at the end of every song, smiling all the way. Principal Nomi Rosen acknowledged the Piano Man’s presence and the students – and adults¬ – were in awe, pleased and proud to perform for him. Deasy parents and teachers began spreading the word about the tribute during the days leading up to the show, with the hope that Mr. Joel would attend.

Special thanks to Ms. Mallo and the students for putting on such a wonderful show. Thanks to Ms. Bennardo and her student artists, all of the Deasy support staff who made the concert possible and of course Billy Joel, for taking the time to witness these young music makers in action!


Several media broadcasts reported on the story. Click on the links below to view some of the local coverage