The revised formal program (see original program) was brief, starting with opening remarks given by Aubrey Phillips of Elmont Online and President of the Elmont Elementary School Board. Phillips noted the significance of the venue “Richard’s last civic effort was here, he wanted to ensure the establishment’s success because he recognized the cultural value it brings to Elmont”. Sherian Brown, the program’s MC for the past three years, added her unique touch to the ceremony and moved the program along with the grace and poise we have become accustomed.
The opening performance, Amazing Grace, presented by Alicia Ortiz and Eldon Phillips, two Alum of the Voices of
Unity Gospel Choir of SUNY New Paltz set the tone for the program.
Immediately following the duet Assemblyman Thomas Alfano presented his 21st Assembly District Martin Luther King Jr. Award to two deserving community figures. The first to receive the award was 20-year-old Randall Clarke, recognized for his service in Elmont. Clarke, upon receipt of the state proclamation and award took the mike to give remarks thanking those who were instrumental in his upbringing and encouraging the community to act together for the continued improvement of Elmont. The second recipient, Richard Mastricola, brought a somber mood to the jazz club as the Assemblyman explained the circumstances and presented the award. Mastricola, 53, passed away on Sunday March 5th, 2006, one week before he was to receive his award. Aubrey Phillips accepted the award on behalf of the Mastricola family as they were unable to attend. Phillips played a multi-media presentation showing Richard as he participated in the first ECAP Community Leaders program. Richard’s words were played as part of the presentation and everyone was moved as he said “You only get one home town in your lifetime. Elmont is my hometown and now it’s yours”
The Elmont Elementary School District jazz band, Jazz Masters, playing in a jazz club for the first time, dazzled the packed audience. Under the direction of Anthony Pino and Sherman Irby the Jazz Masters opened with “Sunny Moon for Two” and followed up with “See Jam Blues”. After each piece, they received exuberant standing ovations.
The centerpiece of the the Elmont Online – ECAP Black History Month Celebration is the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award. It honors the memory and legacy of Dr. Woodson, the father of Black History Month. This year the award was presented to Sandy Ifill, longtime resident of Elmont and teacher in the Elmont Elementary School District. The award was presented by Aubrey Phillips and Superintendent of The Elmont Elementry School District, Al Harper. Ifill, noted the significance of the award and the timing of it’s receipt. She paid tribute to her Mom, noting the date marked the second anniversary of her mother’s passing, and to 90 year old Elmont resident Ms Jackson, who was in attendance, saying “I stand here alone but in the words of Maya Angelou I am surrounded by my ancestors. I am surrounded by their hugs, their promise and their love of me.”
The formal program closed with two more selections from Alicia Ortiz and Eldon Phillips, who sang “We’ve Come This Far By Faith” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the black national anthem.