By Rick Buttacavoli
BAY RIDGE — Who needs Hollywood? There were plenty of stars performing in P.S. 102’s talent show on March 29 in Bay Ridge!
The annual “Night of Stars” event drew a huge crowd of parents, students and supporters to the Bay View School, located at 211 72nd St., who were treated to more than two dozen performances by the school’s most talented children.
From adorably choreographed dance routines to live musical and vocal performances, audience members enjoyed a variety of acts that kept them cheering all night long.
It didn’t happen overnight. Like any top-notch Broadway show, the “Night of Stars” took several months to prepare, from auditions to set design to rehearsals.
“We rehearsed twice a week after school,” said teacher Daiana Bertolini, who coordinated the show along with fellow teacher Rosanne Tubio-Cid. “It’s great because it gives the kids something to be a part of and it gets them to overcome their fears.”
There was certainly no fear visible on the children’s faces during the show, as the performers seemed to genuinely enjoy showcasing their talents in front of the packed auditorium.
Bertolini attributes their confidence to the fact that P.S. 102 creates a comfort level for all of its students.
“We’re a family. We look out for each other,” she said.
That sense of family is one that Bertolini has experienced first-hand, getting her start at P.S. 102 as a student-teacher 17 years ago. She assisted then third grade teacher Cornelia Sichenze, who is now the school’s assistant principal.
“She did her student teaching with me,” Sichenze said. “It was wonderful. She’s incredibly detailed. She loves children and she’s truly an asset to our school.”
Bertolini has been a coordinator for the “Night of Stars” since 2006 and said she enjoys the challenge of highlighting each child’s personal talents while creating an entertaining and unique show each year.
“It gives me a creative outlet,” she said. “I love it!”
Fifth grader Martin Richards, who served as one of the show’s emcees and also performed, shared his enthusiasm after the finale.
“It was awesome!” he exclaimed. “This was the best night of my life. I love this school!”
Fellow emcee/performer Camilla Bettig was equally excited.
“This was such a great opportunity,” she said. “I’ve been doing it since the first grade. It’s really fun!”
Richards and Bettig joined classmate Kiera Doherty for a powerful rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” that had audience members, and Bertolini herself, clapping along.
Other notable acts included Gauri Purohit playing guitar and singing Selena Gomez’s “Who Says” with the confidence of a seasoned pop star. Youngsters Liam Chentoufi, William Denaro, Russell Montalbano and Taimur Tawil teamed up to form a full rock band and performed “Smoke on the Water.” There were also several flawless piano solos as well as a violin solo.
Principal Theresa Dovi was thrilled with the show.
“The talent show adds to the spirit that makes P.S. 102 a place where children can shine,” Dovi said. “Many people have worked hard on this production and our performers have learned the importance of teamwork, self-discipline and practice.”
Following the show’s finale, a full-cast performance of the Des’ree hit “You Gotta Be” that featured student Reena Ovcharenko signing the lyrics for her deaf parents, Dovi and Sichenze recognized three of the women who made the show a success.
Bertolini, Tubio-Cid and technical coordinator Margherita Famoso were each presented a bouquet of flowers and received a standing ovation from the crowd.