Koo to host rain barrel giveaway at Queens Botanical Garden

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), along with the city Department of Environmental Protection and Queens Botanical Garden, will be will be giving away 250 rain barrels to Flushing residents who reserve one next month.

Residents interested in receiving a rain barrel must call Koo’s office at (718) 888-8747 to register. Upon receiving a barrel, residents will be mailed a confirmation letter to claim their barrel at the June 2 pickup event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Queens Botanical Garden, located at 42-80 Crommelin St. There is a limit of one barrel per household.

“Rain barrels are a great way for homeowners to help reduce the burdens on our infrastructure by minimizing the water that flows into our storm drains, sewer systems and local waterways,” Koo said. “Homeowners who recycle rainwater will also realize savings on their water bills and ultimately help create a more environmentally friendly city.”

The Rain Barrel Giveaway began as a pilot program in 2008 with the distribution of 250 rain barrels to homeowners in Jamaica Bay, according to DEP. After a positive response from the public, the program was expanded in 2009. Last year 5,000 barrels were given away to New York City homeowners, schools, and community gardens in all five boroughs.

“Queens Botanical Garden is once again pleased to host a Rain Barrel Giveaway co-sponsored by the very community-minded Council member Peter Koo and NYC’s water agency — the DEP,” said Susan Lacerte, executive director of Queens Botanical Garden. “Water is essential to all life! It helps plants grow — and children, too. You can capture this gift from Mother Nature for use in your own yard, in your own garden — and maybe even to clean your car.”

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Grover Cleveland High School wins International Bridge Building Contest

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

Ridgewood’s Grover Cleveland High School beat its competitors, taking first place in the International Bridge Building Contest at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Tenth-grader Shafiqur Khan, 16, of Kew Gardens brought home the winning trophy from the April 21 competition, beating a second-place finisher from Portland, Ore. The International Bridge Building Contest gives students the opportunity to experience what it is like to be an engineer, designing structures and seeing them perform.

Khan placed fourth at the 2017 Internationals in Dallas, Texas, last year.

“I love building bridges,” said Shafiqur. “I never had a hobby before, but building stuff is my hobby now, and I feel privileged to be a part of something like this with my friends.”

The International Bridge Building Contest requires students to build a bridge from 3/32-square-inch basswood sticks, which is then subjected to weight from below until the bridge falls. The objective is to build a bridge as light as possible. The number of grams the bridge holds is divided by the number of grams the bridge weighs for an efficiency score — or, how many times its own weight the bridge holds.

Shafiqur’s winning bridge weighed 10.75 grams and held 52 kilograms before breaking. Since only 50 kilograms are counted, Khan’s bridge held 4,651 times its own weight.

Grover Cleveland at 2127 Himrod St. in Ridgewood, was first represented at the International Bridge Building Contest in 2009 and has steadily improved. This is the second time the school has won the competition.

“The students spent hours before and after school familiarizing themselves with the rules, and testing numerous practice bridges before they built their competition bridges,” said Lloyd Kiefer, a science teacher at Grover Cleveland. “The students had great enthusiasm, passion, and were very helpful to each other, putting in many hours.”

Khan is a part of the Grover Cleveland after-school Science Research Club, which prepares students for future careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine. The team consists of Ankit Bhandari, Kristina Zotolli, Saiman Tamang, Jeevan Bastola, and Bishan Rayamajhi, Christopher Chan, Tasnia Rahman, Dawa Sherpa, and Anith Devkota.

Grover Cleveland advanced to the Internationals due to its victory at the Regional Building Contest by prevailing in the finals over John Bowne High School in Flushing.

According to Kiefer, for a beginner building a bridge model it can take three to four weeks, whereas an experienced student (by general estimate) can do it within one to two weeks.

“What’s wonderful is that it’s an activity students can do at their own pace,” said Kiefer.

To prepare for the competition, Shafiqur made his design on the computer to be scaled and placed it on a board. He began cutting the pieces and putting it together, building two bridges, which then became 10 in total.

“Eat, sleep and build bridges. That’s what we do,” said Shafiqur.

Ninth-grader Kristina Zotolli, who is a new member of the Bridge Engineering Club, said she would like to pursue the medical or engineering fields.

“I am very interested in different bridge designs and the forces that act on them,” said Khristina. “We always helped each other, and I like the camaraderie of an academic after-school activity.”

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

LIC spring street fair brings out the best of the neighborhood

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

The fifth annual Long Island City spring street fair brought out the memorable goods and innovative art found in the neighborhood Saturday and set the stage for the following week’s event, the LIC Arts Open, according to one of the organizers.

Over 100 exhibitors and performers set up shop under portable canopies along Vernon Boulevard between 47th and 48th avenues, as music filled the air.

Rain threatened to come down, but the weather did not stop people from showing up to see what the commotion was about from noon to 5 p.m.

“This is a great celebration of all the great things in Long Island City,” Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Luskin said. “What we try to do here is get people excited about all the things you can do here 365 days per year, not just one day.”

The street fair offered cotton candy and pony rides for children, while the main stage was graced by Bollywood dancers from St. John’s Prep School, salsa dancers from Martinez Dance Studio and the FogoAzul All Women Brazilian Drumline.

“LIC Springs is a truly unique and fun street festival on Vernon Boulevard that gives neighbors the opportunity to explore and support small businesses, enjoy local talent on the stage and connect with each other over fun activities like giant checkers or the spaghetti eating contest,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said.

The main stage of the festival featured salsa dancing and taekwondo performances, while Manducatis Rustica, located on Vernon Boulevard, hosted a pasta and gelato eating contest. Visitors enjoyed games of life-sized chess courtesy of Modern Spaces, a real estate firm based in the community.

There was also traditional step dancing, accompanied by an Irish folk duo in front of Woodbines, a popular pub which attracts the craft beer crowd.

ProHEALTH Dental, located in LIC, Howard Beach and Corona, offered free oral cancer screenings to attendees.

Martial artists from Tiger J Taekwondo showed off their abilities while children got to test their skills at breaking boards.

Long Island City Partnership advocates for better economic well-being for the area and makes the neighborhood a better location for new and older businesses to flourish.

“The LIC Arts Open is next Wednesday [May 16] through the weekend and we like to think of this as the lead-in to that,” Luskin added. “You can’t pack everything from Long Island City into one day, so you got to come back for the arts open and Taste of LIC.”

LIC Arts Open shows off the work of some of the best galleries in the upstart community of painters, sculptors and architects.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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Source: Times Ledger

See what Queens has to offer this summer

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By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

Rockaway Beach will open to swimmers beginning May 26 and outdoor pools will open June 27, according to the city Parks Department, but if you are looking for more than the sun and surf this summer, Queens has something for everybody.

The Museum of the Moving Image hosts its Jim Henson Exhibition Guided Tours every Saturday at 1 p.m. through Sept. 1, with a museum educator serving as a guide who explores Henson’s ground-breaking work for film and television. The exhibition includes puppets, character sketches, scripts and costumes from the worlds of “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” “Fraggle Rock” and more.

The Subway Series makes its annual stop at Citi Field from June 8 to June 10, and the Sunday night match-up between the Mets and the Yankees will be televised nationally by ESPN. The Queens Chamber of Commerce will host its first Queens Chamber Day/NY Mets Day at Citi Field that night.

The following weekend, Borough President Melinda Katz, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver will present the Only in Queens SummerStage Concert featuring Kool & The Gang to officially kick off the Katz Concert Series. The band will perform “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swingin,” among their other hits, beginning at 5 p.m. in Flushing Meadow Corona Park.

Later in the summer, Flushing Meadow Corona Park will host the Queensboro Dance Festival at the Unisphere at 2 p.m. July 21 and Silent Disco will return to the Unisphere with family friendly music for everyone with three live DJs spinning Motown, Top 40, hip-hop, R&B and more between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. July 15.

In addition to free yoga every Saturday and Sunday from now until Sept. 15, the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria will host its inaugural Queens Green Day between noon and 4 p.m. June 2, celebrating all things green — local ecological initiatives, food justice, gardening, urban farming, and healthy living, including bike safety and advocacy.

Main partners Queens Action Council and Hellgate Farms offer interactive presentations complemented by a variety of art-making, activities and food demos from City Harvest, Bike New York, The Connected Chef, Smiling Hogshead Farm, Mechanical Gardens bike repair, and City Parks Foundation’s Green Girls and Coastal Classroom programs.

Head south on Vernon Boulevard and you will find the waterfront parks of Long Island City, which continue to grow in popularity during the warm weather months.

“The summer is the perfect opportunity to experience the magic of the Long Island City Waterfront Parks,” Hunters Point Parks Conservancy President Rob Basch said. “We expect the amazing phase two extension of Hunters Point South Park to open in June and it will be a must-see destination for everyone in Queens and elsewhere. The Conservancy will be very active in both Hunters Point South Park and Gantry Plaza State Park with our outdoor movies, music, yoga, free summer programming, dance and many other activities to keep everyone busy and entertained. We will be equally busy gardening, weeding and cleaning both parks to keep them looking pristine and beautiful. We look forward to seeing everyone in our parks this summer and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.”

Elsewhere, Queens Pride hosts its Parade and Multicultural Festival in Jackson Heights June 3 and the Jamaica Arts and Music Summer Festival takes place the first weekend in August. Known as JAMS, the festival showcases Queens’ diversity through cultural talents, foods, and arts and crafts. The event stretches along a 10-block area of Jamaica Avenue from Parsons Boulevard to 170th Street.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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Source: Times Ledger

Koo to host rain barrel giveaway at Queens Botanical Garden

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), along with the city Department of Environmental Protection and Queens Botanical Garden, will be will be giving away 250 rain barrels to Flushing residents who reserve one next month.

Residents interested in receiving a rain barrel must call Koo’s office at (718) 888-8747 to register. Upon receiving a barrel, residents will be mailed a confirmation letter to claim their barrel at the June 2 pickup event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Queens Botanical Garden, located at 42-80 Crommelin St. There is a limit of one barrel per household.

“Rain barrels are a great way for homeowners to help reduce the burdens on our infrastructure by minimizing the water that flows into our storm drains, sewer systems and local waterways,” Koo said. “Homeowners who recycle rainwater will also realize savings on their water bills and ultimately help create a more environmentally friendly city.”

The Rain Barrel Giveaway began as a pilot program in 2008 with the distribution of 250 rain barrels to homeowners in Jamaica Bay, according to DEP. After a positive response from the public, the program was expanded in 2009. Last year 5,000 barrels were given away to New York City homeowners, schools, and community gardens in all five boroughs.

“Queens Botanical Garden is once again pleased to host a Rain Barrel Giveaway co-sponsored by the very community-minded Council member Peter Koo and NYC’s water agency — the DEP,” said Susan Lacerte, executive director of Queens Botanical Garden. “Water is essential to all life! It helps plants grow — and children, too. You can capture this gift from Mother Nature for use in your own yard, in your own garden — and maybe even to clean your car.”

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Queens schools sweep DOT’s “We’re Walking Here” competition

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

Six Queens schools swept the Department of Transportation’s “We’re Walking Here” competition that encourages students to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle while learning about street safety.

As part of the “We’re Walking Here” efforts, students track the number of blocks they walked over a two-week period and then engage in classroom activities, where the final project is a public service announcement — either a video or poster — to convey messages the students learned through the curriculum.

This year’s winners in the video category include: Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School taking first place in Astoria; PS 94 in Little Neck the second spot; and Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School in Ozone Park topping third. Winners in the poster category include: Middle School 226 in South Ozone Park taking first place; Al-Ihsan Academy in South Ozone Park in second; and PS 16 in Corona taking the third spot.

“We are so proud of all the students who put their creative minds behind the crucial message of the ‘We’re Walking Here’ campaign,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With more than 100 schools participating, this year’s winning entries have really connected to the critical message of Vision Zero. I heartily invite more schools to get involved and participate in this creative competition.”

The competition, open to all New York City schools, launched in October in conjunction with International Walk-to-School Day. Participants downloaded grade specific lesson plans developed by DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach Division. The first place winners of this year’s competition received a $1,000 grant, the second place schools took home a $500 prize, and third place schools got $250.

“Queens is so proud of our students who produced such compelling PSAs that prioritize safety and healthy active lifestyle choices for all New Yorkers,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Congratulations to the winning entrants — all of whom happen to be from Queens! — and all the participants in this year’s citywide competition.”

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, first place winner in the video category, submitted a video showing the grave consequences of texting while driving on the road.

South Ozone Park Middle School’s 226 winning PSA poster read: “Don’t Die Sending a Reply: Don’t Text and Drive.”

State Assembly Member Michele Titus (D-Far Rockaway) said the “We’re Walking Here” campaign also educates drivers and the general public about the importance of not driving safely in school zones.

“Every child’s life is precious and we must do everything in our power to ensure their safe commute from speeding motorists to and from school,” Titus said. “The loss of even one child is too many.”

Interested schools can now pre-register for next year’s “We’re Walking Here” competition by visiting nyc.gov/walkingschools.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

Bills to create School Security Task Force introduced in City Council

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

A legislative package in City Council, sponsored by various members from Queens, would create a task force to examine the best methods for preventing violence in schools which will be led by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill if passed.

The School Security Task Force would meet once a quarter and pass its recommendations, formed from the input of parents and staff, to the mayor’s office and the City Council Speaker every year.

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) introduced the proposed legislation May 9 that calls for a review of communication technology in schools, NYPD collaboration and safety protocols for students struggling with mental illness.

“As a result of our call for greater school security, we are proud that the Council is moving forward with this package of legislation that will take a hard look at the state of school security as it exists in every school, and what we can do to improve it,” said Vallone. “In the end, you can’t put a price tag on our children’s safety and I’m proud to introduce this important legislation with our speaker, Corey Johnson, and my colleagues.”

Councilmen Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) signed onto the bill, calling for the task force to examine evacuation plans and emergency response protocols at city schools, according to Vallone’s office.

The bill also requires the task force to review emergency protocols at non-public schools

The bills come following a call from Vallone and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Braunstein) for the city Dept. of Education to allow schools to lock front doors during an emergency situation, which is against current practice, in response to the Feb 14 Parkland school shooting Florida which left 17 students and faculty dead.

Changes to policing in northeast Queens schools stirred concern from parents in March following the deadly shooting as the 111th Precinct switched to the Neighborhood Policing Program and reorganized its coverage of schools.

Francis Lewis High School’s PTA Co-president Linda Lovett claimed officers had been removed from schools while the 111th’s Officer John Erdman said the command had actually “been doing enhanced patrols at all of the schools in the precinct for the past three weeks [following the Florida shooting] as of yesterday have made 153 visits.”

A spokesman from Vallone’s office said although the bills have not gone to committee yet, they have the support from Johnson and should move swiftly.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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Source: Times Ledger

Gianaris pulls out of process to appoint new attorney general

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) announced last Friday that he would not participate in the Legislature’s process for appointing a new attorney general ahead of November’s general election.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, 73, took over the office after the abrupt resignation of Eric Schneiderman hours after the release of a blockbuster report in the New Yorker May 7 that he allegedly committed violent acts against romantic partners.

“I am grateful to the many leaders who are encouraging me to run for attorney general and intend to give serious consideration to doing so,” Gianaris said. “In the coming days and weeks, I will continue speaking with my supporters and other interested New Yorkers as I decide whether to seek election to the attorney general’s office this year. This is a critical time in New York and a decision that deserves careful thought.”

He added, “As a result, I will not be participating in the expedited legislative selection process.”

Under state law, the Legislature has the authority to appoint an attorney general should the job become vacant and interviews with 13 applicants began Tuesday. City Public Advocate Letitia James also withdrew her name from consideration in the selection process.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) gave his full support to Underwood Tuesday.

“If there’s any justice in the world where we reward people for their experience and longstanding dedication to the public good, then Barbara Underwood should be nominated by both political parties as the next attorney general,” Avella said. “It would be the best thing for the state of New York to have somebody with her experience and apolitical approach to the job. I can’t think of a better attorney general.”

Underwood was the first of 13 attorney general applicants to interview with the bipartisan legislative committee Tuesday. She told the lawmakers she was not interested in running for the office in November and would serve out the rest of Schneiderman’s term if she is appointed interim attorney general.

Meanwhile, Gianaris announced Tuesday the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations passed his legislation banning state tax dollars from being used to bail out legal expenses incurred by political campaigns by a vote of 7-2. Under current law, politicians can use their campaign committees as legal defense funds if charged with a crime. If acquitted, the campaign committee may recoup attorney’s fees from the state. The politicians can then use that money to run for office or donate to other candidates, according to Gianaris. Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno did just that in 2014 — donating his windfall of over $1 million from state taxpayers directly to Senate Republicans.

“It’s an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars for public monies to reimburse criminal defendants’ campaign accounts,” Gianaris said. “Taxpayers should not be paying for the campaigns of those accused of crimes.”

Gianaris’ proposal would prohibit campaign committees from seeking reimbursement from the state for their legal expenses. The legislation moves to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Gianaris pulls out of process to appoint new attorney general

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) announced last Friday that he would not participate in the Legislature’s process for appointing a new attorney general ahead of November’s general election.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, 73, took over the office after the abrupt resignation of Eric Schneiderman hours after the release of a blockbuster report in the New Yorker May 7 that he allegedly committed violent acts against romantic partners.

“I am grateful to the many leaders who are encouraging me to run for attorney general and intend to give serious consideration to doing so,” Gianaris said. “In the coming days and weeks, I will continue speaking with my supporters and other interested New Yorkers as I decide whether to seek election to the attorney general’s office this year. This is a critical time in New York and a decision that deserves careful thought.”

He added, “As a result, I will not be participating in the expedited legislative selection process.”

Under state law, the Legislature has the authority to appoint an attorney general should the job become vacant and interviews with 13 applicants began Tuesday. City Public Advocate Letitia James also withdrew her name from consideration in the selection process.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) gave his full support to Underwood Tuesday.

“If there’s any justice in the world where we reward people for their experience and longstanding dedication to the public good, then Barbara Underwood should be nominated by both political parties as the next attorney general,” Avella said. “It would be the best thing for the state of New York to have somebody with her experience and apolitical approach to the job. I can’t think of a better attorney general.”

Underwood was the first of 13 attorney general applicants to interview with the bipartisan legislative committee Tuesday. She told the lawmakers she was not interested in running for the office in November and would serve out the rest of Schneiderman’s term if she is appointed interim attorney general.

Meanwhile, Gianaris announced Tuesday the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations passed his legislation banning state tax dollars from being used to bail out legal expenses incurred by political campaigns by a vote of 7-2. Under current law, politicians can use their campaign committees as legal defense funds if charged with a crime. If acquitted, the campaign committee may recoup attorney’s fees from the state. The politicians can then use that money to run for office or donate to other candidates, according to Gianaris. Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno did just that in 2014 — donating his windfall of over $1 million from state taxpayers directly to Senate Republicans.

“It’s an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars for public monies to reimburse criminal defendants’ campaign accounts,” Gianaris said. “Taxpayers should not be paying for the campaigns of those accused of crimes.”

Gianaris’ proposal would prohibit campaign committees from seeking reimbursement from the state for their legal expenses. The legislation moves to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Children’s Orchestra Society will celebrate its 49th Year with Hunter College performance

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Merle Exit

TimesLedger Newspapers

Fresh Meadows resident Yeou-Cheng Ma has been playing the violin since she was 2 years old and the piano since she was 3.

Born in France of Chinese descent, she and her brother, Yo-Yo, moved to the United States in the early ‘60s. That is when Ma’s father started the Children’s Orchestra Society.

“After my father retired, my husband, Michael Dadap, and I took over the orchestra after a seven-year dormancy and started it from scratch,” Ma said.

Dadap is both the principle conductor and artistic director of the group. His love for music is obvious, further enhanced by his hobby of collecting and playing stringed instruments from the Philippines, where he was born. He also composes and one of his compositions will be performed at the 24th Annual Discovery Gala, scheduled for May 24 at Hunter College’s Sylvia Kaye Playhouse.

The gala — a concert followed by a reception — is in celebration the group’s 49th year. Performing at the concert will be the Young Symphonic Ensemble, featuring Tomoya Aomori (marimba) and Pei-Wen Liao (violin). The group will be conducted by Dadap.

Ma and Dadap don’t do everything by themselves, though. Their daughter, Laura Dadap, is a big part of the society as well. An accomplished cellist, she manages the orchestra and has been touring with the show, Voca People. She also performs with a group known as Macabre Americana.

In December 2016, Laura stepped in to sing with the Children’s Orchestra Society at its 48th Annual Winter Concert to help the group prepare for its Carnegie Hall performance with Margaret Keys.

The mission of COS, a nonprofit organization, is to teach children and teens the language of music.

“Our mission is to cultivate and nurture children and teach them teamwork and life skills through music-learning and performing in orchestral and chamber music settings,” Ma said. “Our members receive excellent training in classical music as well as opportunities to perform in concerts with both their peers and well-established musicians.”

At a recent trip to Shanghai, China, the COS performed at Shanghai Symphony Hall. Ma said the children in the group were able to communicate using the language of music despite the language barrier, adding that it was a great experience for the kids in the group.

Ma, a practicing pediatrician, also teaches the violin in her spare time.

“I try to encourage my students to join the orchestra so that they can experience other children doing similar things,” she said.

There are four orchestras within the COS. The Young Symphonic Ensemble is the senior orchestra, which is the most advanced in the society. Then there is the second orchestra, the Sinfonia, and the Junior Symphonic Ensemble. Ma said the is no rule to how young you can join and that a younger performer can move up to one of the more advanced orchestras based on merit.

Two of the young members of the group reside in Queens. Johann Li, 14, of Little Neck, is a rising star on the violin, as is and 10-year-old Jeffrey Yang, of Bayside. They are both currently performing with the Young Symphonic Ensemble.

CSO is based in Flushing at 65-03 180th St. For more information, call (718) 888-0635 and for tickets to upcoming performances, call (212) 772-4448.

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Source: Times Ledger