Tag Archives: Hunter College

Astoria residents vie for win in national music competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Regret the Hour

Two brothers, who now call Astoria home, are hoping their band wins the grand prize in the national “Get Out of the Garage” competition in Brooklyn this weekend — and they’ll be carrying with them the memory of a bandmate who lost his life to cancer.

Nate and Ben McCarthy, originally from Nyack, started the band Regret the Hour in 2011 after years of being surrounded by music in their home and wanting to start their own group.

The brothers, who sing and play guitar, formed the band while in high school with drummer and vocalist Anders Fleming and bassist Jesse Yanko.

While finishing up the recording of their first album in 2012 called “Better Days,” which Ben calls a “DIY project,” 16-year-old Yanko died after a long battle with cancer. The album was later released in 2013.

“I think it just feels gratifying to be here right now and done all of this after that. I know that’s something that [Yanko] would have wanted,” Ben said about the band’s decision to move forward after questioning what to do next. “I think [the album] is a big part of the history of the band and you can hear it in the songs.”

The group later started playing at bars in Nyack and didn’t make the move to bigger venues, such as the Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory, until Nate and Ben decided to head to Astoria as they attended Hunter College.

Regret the Hour, which has released three EPs along with their first album, will now take the stage on Feb. 28 with four other independent bands for the second annual Get Out of the Garage competition finals, presented by Guitar Center and Converse.

Image courtesy of Get Out of the Garage

Image courtesy of Get Out of the Garage

The artist discovery program, which started in October and includes bands from across the country, offers an opportunity for musicians to launch their careers.

Out of more than 8,000 submissions, five bands were chosen – including Regret the Hour. Part of the process to choose the finalists was based on how many people watched a music video on the Get Out of the Garage official website for each band.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Ben said about being chosen. “We couldn’t have done it without all the people that helped us out, that watched the video and shared it.”

The grand prize winner of the competition will earn a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, studio recording time, a music video, $25,000 in cash, new gear and more.

Regret the Hour plans to perform two songs during the finale, one from the album they recorded with Yanko and another from their new album, which is in the process of being completed.

Ben added that although they are nervous about the big performance, they are excited about getting as far as they have on their own. They are not backed by a record label and they don’t even have a manager, so they’ve had to book every performance themselves.

After the competition, the band plans to continue working on their new album and they hope to have it released by late summer.

“We are definitely pretty excited for this new album we are working on. It really represents the band,” Ben said. “We’re just really excited to get it finished and get it out there.”

For more information on Get Out of the Garage, visit getoutofthegarage.revimage.com, and for information on Regret the Hour, visit regretthehourmusic.com or www.facebook.com/regretthehour.

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Sports Star: Alexandra Rubiano, captain, Archbishop Molloy HS girls swim team


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Alexandra Rubiano

Name: Alexandra Rubiano
School: Archbishop Molloy High School
Sport: Swimming
Grade: Senior
Position: Captain

Archbishop Molloy girls varsity swimming co-captain Alexandra Rubiano is an outstanding student and athlete. Rubiano has been a major reason her team was able to win consecutive GCHSAA Division A swimming championships, during back-to-back undefeated seasons. Rubiano was awarded the league’s Outstanding Career Swimmer award as top senior swimmer. Rubiano holds the school’s record for the 200 yard individual medley and the 100 yard butterfly. Besides her high school team, Rubiano is also part of the LaGuardia Twisters, an independent swimming organization. Out of the pool, Rubiano maintains a 90 average at Molloy and is part of the school’s Asian Club and environmental advocacy group, I A.M. Green. In I A.M. Green, she helps the school recycle and participates in an annual clean up at Rockaway Beach. Rubiano has also been in the school band for three years, playing the flute. She dreams of majoring in physical therapy at Hunter College, where she hopes to join the swim team.

When did you start swimming?
“I learned how to swim [when] I was two and have been on the team (LaGuardia Twisters) since six. I didn’t start competing until I was eight.”

What has motivated you?
“I have to say pressure is a major factor. You always have to push yourself to be better.”

What have you learned by being a leader?
“I’ve gained a lot of experience in being a leader that I didn’t have before. I have learned to communicate better with others and be more open. I hope to bring that to college.”

How does it feel to graduate, having won two championships?
“It’s pretty amazing. I remember I finished my last event and I came out of the water and I said to another of the co-captains that this was our last high school race. It just felt great over all.”

 

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Far Rockaway native reaches WFAN contest finals


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Carlos Montanez

CARLOS MONTANEZ

Many inspiring sports radio personalities dream of working for a big station in New York City.

Far Rockaway resident John Schiavone has had his heart set on working for the sports radio channel WFAN for a long time. And once again, Schiavone is competing in the fourth annual WFAN Fantasy Phenom Challenge, where the winner could get the opportunity to host a show for a full year on the radio station.

Schiavone, 28, has competed in the contest since its inception and will make his first appearance in the finals on August 23.

“I always made the semifinals, the top 50, and I always just missed the finals, so I kept coming back, because I said ‘you know what, I am not going to give up,’” Schiavone said. “Every time they say no is another opportunity for me to get better.”

Schiavone started in radio at Hunter College’s radio station, WHCS. He holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and was the program director for the inaugural year of Brooklyn College’s radio station, WBCR. He was the coordinating producer for the Brooklyn College Bulldogs on WBCR. Currently, he still hosts WBCR’s primer sports show Downtown Sports.

Schiavone learned about the competition simply listening to “the FAN.”

The contest is unique in that it takes the job interview straight to the stage. During the qualifying rounds contestants are expected to answer sports trivia and “rant” on sports topics. They advance based on their answers.

Schiavone thought this is the ultimate interview, “[Instead of] applying on a resume and looking at a person on a page and maybe hearing a five minute demo.”

In the finals he will be judged along with the other finalists on a question and answer show with on-air sports personality Mike Francesa.

Although it’s been a long 10 years in the radio world for Schiavone, he is hoping to clinch a win and finally get his big break.

“The people who make it in this industry are not the best, not the most talented; they are the ones who are willing to stick it out,” he said.

The WFAN Fantasy Phenom Finals will broadcast live from 1-6 p.m. on WFAN 660-AM, 101.9-FM and simulcast on television via the YES network.

 

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Time to Create: Artist Violet Baxter paints L.I.C.


| smosco@queenscourier.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Art is comprised mainly of two elements: time and raw materials. While the art itself is physically constructed with materials – paint, clay, trash, whatever – it is time that decides whether or not the art lives on. Prehistoric people decided to paint on cave walls, and time decided to preserve that work for modern eyes.

Contrary to the process in which art becomes art, an artist becomes an artist through a mix of sheer will and talent. If the artist relies on time, they’ll be left with a blank canvas and a pile of unpaid bills.

Artist Violet Baxter grew up as a shy, yet promising youngster in the Bronx. Her grade school teachers noticed her talents and saw fit to recommend she take art classes on Saturdays. A fourth grade teacher, Evelyn Licht, befriended the young Baxter and helped her score her first “art job” – designing cake boxes on weekends when she was 13 years old.

“We stayed close until her death,” said Baxter, whose studio resides in the Wills Building on 21st Street. “She was responsible for my first job and my first gallery exhibitions.”

An educated and trained artist, Baxter graduated from high school and went on to Hunter College for two years of night classes. She graduated with honors from the Cooper Union Art School after five years of night classes and continued her schooling at Columbia University studying under renowned American artist Ralph Mayer.

In 1983, she took a studio in Union Square, where she stayed until skyrocketing rents drove her to L.I.C.

“Here my windows face a new school called Mason Tenders Training, highways that lead to the Queensboro Bridge, the El train, Silvercup Studios with its sign and a wide sky,” she said. “This is my subject matter. I have made closely observed drawings of this view, that sets it somewhat in memory. From the drawings I made watercolors and oils.”

Baxter said that she doesn’t know what the finished work will look like when she begins a piece. Again, time decides the finished project.

“It can take a long time to resolve a painting, sometimes years,” she said. “It is put aside until I can see if there is something else for it. There are always paintings around my studio in this state.”

The state of Baxter’s ideal painting studio lends to the reflective quality of her work. She seeks a quiet place with a view to achieve the quiet, contemplative narrative revealed in her paintings.

“I keep in touch with myself in my work. Like music, the themes are within the work,” she said. “I need a block of time to get into the work. It starts with problems to solve and at some point time dissolves. I often work at night – night light and self reflections, outside and inside, are what interests me.”

Among LIC artists, Baxter is most interested in Elinore Schnurr, Juvenal Reiss, Karen Fitzgerald and her new friend, Orestes Gonzalez. She feels one of the most important galleries in L.I.C. is the Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Her paintings were shown there through last season, and much of her work will be on exhibit in the upper gallery beginning Sunday, February 19, with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. continuing through Sunday, March 11.

Baxter will continue to share her view and present images in the hopes her work will resonate with viewers. Her hard work – and the hard work of her influences – continues to payoff tenfold. Now she works with time to see her vision through.

“I have hundreds of influences, mostly artists from prehistoric time to the present, from nonobjective to representation,” she said. “My interests are with painting, as a personal touch of the hand. A drawing on a mammoth tusk seen at the Museum of Natural History still resonates, and reaches out through millennia.”

Students protest tuition hikes


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

City University of New York (CUNY) undergrad students protested the fact that over the next five years, their tuition will increase by $300 – annually.

 

“I still have another three semesters to go. The increase will definitely take a load out of my pockets, especially since I’m considered an ‘out of state’ student and CUNY was supposed to be affordable,” said Nazifa Azizi, a nursing student at CUNY Hunter College.

 

CUNY’s Board of Trustees voted 15 to 1 on November 28 on the annual hikes, which would amount to a 31 percent increase in tuition over four years.

 

By 2015, undergraduate senior college students would pay $6,330 annually under the plan, compared with $4,830 in 2010. The fee for community college students would also increase to $4,800 by 2015.

 

Rita Rodin, CUNY University director of public information, said, “the annual current tuition for a senior college is $5,130 and for a community college its $3,600.”

According to Rodin, the proposed tuition increase will go into effect in the fall of 2012. The reasoning behind the increase is part of the state funding agreement.

The request is based upon CUNY’s financial model, known as the CUNY Compact, which seeks to provide stable funding through a balance of stakeholder responsibilities: public allocations, private philanthropy, operational efficiencies, revenues from increased enrollment and modest, predictable tuition increases to permit families to plan to meet college costs.

“Currently six out of 10 full-time CUNY students get covered by financial aid and 170,000 students participate in both Pell and TAP [grants], so the tuition increase shouldn’t affect those families in financial need,” said Rodin.

Reportedly, the Board also approved $5 million to aid needy students.

Shabnam Yaqubie, who is majoring in elementary education at CUNY Queens College, said, “I’m going to graduate in spring 2012. The tuition hike is not going to affect me that much, but I feel bad for future CUNY students.”

Still, CUNY officials tout the affordability of their education.

“Students save more and borrow less with CUNY and they don’t leave with a huge debt, compared to private colleges,” said Rodin.