Legendary musician and Long Island native, Billy Joel will speak with students at the Hillwood Recital Hall in Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, on February 8, 2016, for an “Afternoon of Questions & Answers… And a Little Music” to raise awareness of the Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts (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 due to the New York State property tax levy cap.

Good teachers have made an impact on Joel. “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. “I understand that closing this school does not mean the end of music and arts programs on Long Island, but it does indicate our willingness to abandon a school that has been there for 40 years rather than build it up into something Long Island and New York State can be proud of.”

Joel has donated $1 million to help the cause.

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.

LIHSA instructors, who are all working professionals in the arts, focus on cultivating their students’ talents and building skills towards a career pathway in the arts. Major focus areas include dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Learn more at www.nassauboces.org/lihsa.

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