Sag Harbor’s Billy Joel is helping a Nassau BOCES school stay open by offering a substantial donation from his foundation.
Newsday reports that The Joel Foundation will give $1 million if Nassau BOCES pledges to keep the Long Island High School for the Arts (LIHSA) in Syosset open for three years.
Joel will speak with students at the Hillwood Recital Hall in Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post in Greenvale on February 8 for an “Afternoon of Questions & Answers…And a Little Music” to raise awareness of the LIHSA and encourage enrollment.
The students will come from both LIHSA, the only public high school arts program that serves students from across Long Island, and Long Island University. Other attendees will include superintendents and prospective students.
Joel, a strong supporter of the arts in public schools, wrote a letter in November 2015 to the Nassau BOCES Board expressing his support for LIHSA’s continuation. The Syosset-based arts program is funded by student tuition from public school districts. Enrollments have been declining for the last several years.
“I went to public school on Long Island and I am grateful for the music program and my music teachers for helping provide me the tools for which I have based my career,” Joel wrote in the letter. He hopes that his support will bring awareness to the need for rigorous arts education options such as LIHSA.
The afternoon promises to be freewheeling and fun-loving. Joel will be spinning yarns, playing music and offering snippets of advice to the aspiring musicians in the house.