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Hudson Valley Press

March 20th, 2013

NFA Varsity Crew Team holds St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Samantha Santiago, Juliana LoBiondo, Frankie Maurice (back row), Nick Bourne (Class of 2012), Vic Santiago (back row), Rebecca Levinstein, Johnny Kennedy, Christian LoBiondo, and Anthony Maurice.

NEWBURGH - The NFA Crew Team is in the middle of tryouts and will be announcing a team soon. On March 17, 2013 members of last year’s team and this year’s hopefuls, along with parents and coaches, started off the season with a Multi-Cultural St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser at Youngest Brother Restaurant in Newburgh.

"The fundraiser was a great success, thanks to the approximately 75 guests that attended, and our wonderful entertainers who donated their time," said Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo. "Irish Step Dancers from the Farrell School of Dance donated their time on what is their busiest, most lucrative day of the year, and kicked off the show, literally. Everyone raved about their performance, complete with rousing Irish feis music and traditional costumes. Youngest Brother then put on a delicious buffet that included ‘Irish Lasagna’, and the crew parents donated crock pots of corned beef and cabbage. Adams Fairacre Farms in Newburgh and Wappingers donated a total of 24 loaves of Irish soda bread. The principal dancers of ‘Mas Salsa K2’ from Middletown donated their time as well. They staged several very special dances, from the soul-stirring Argentine Tango, to the exquisitely styled traditional Salsa. We were honored to have retired City of Newburgh Fire Department Captain Joe Roy make his debut on the bagpipes with us. He belted out ‘Amazing Grace’ and brought down the house. Finally, Connor Schafer who will be in his 5th year on the Varsity Crew Team and has substantial theatre experience, took the stage and sang Irish tunes. There was not a dry eye in the house."

"Mrs. Lo and the fundraising team did a great job putting this together," said Coach Ed Kennedy, Head Coach of the NFA Varsity Crew Team. "We had crew team tryouts and soon we will have an official crew team, we’re looking forward to a great season."

"It was fun," said Michael LoBiondo, age 9, one of Farrell School of Dance Irish Step Dancers.

"We enjoy donating our time to worthy causes," said Junior Reyes, of Mas Salsa K2, "and we really enjoyed dancing at the Crew Team’s Fundraiser. We are looking forward to coming back and doing it next year, and bringing even more multicultural performances to the event." Mas Salsa K2, based in Middletown, is now giving classes every Wednesday night at the Inspire School in Newburgh, from 7 – 9 pm.

Asked how he felt about teaching Coach Kennedy, who has been a coach of one sport or another for 33 years, and Mrs. Kennedy to dance salsa, Reyes said, "does he have a pulse? Then we can teach him to dance. We are looking forward to having the Kennedys as our students."

The many guests included Orange County Legislator Leigh Benton and his wife, Vicki Benton; City of Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy; Deputy Mayor Regina DiAngelo; Chief of Police Michael Ferrara and his wife Cindy; Fire Chief Michael Vatter and his wife Roselle; Town of Newbugh Justice Jude Martini and his wife Carolyn; NECSD Board of Education President Dawn Fucheck and Board of Education Vice President Pamela Resch.

After the fundraiser, the dancers of "Mas Salsa K2" stayed to teach a free salsa class to the crowd. "This was a very successful event, it was also a great morale booster and a great way to kick off the season," said Daryl Sheridan, who has a daughter, Larisa Sheridan, on the team. Daryl Sheridan is president of Friends of Newburgh Crew, Inc., the 501( c)(3) which takes in donations to fund the Crew Team. 100% of net proceeds will go to fund the team.

"We are also thankful to all the businesses and individuals who donated to our Silent Auction," said Team Mom LoBiondo. "And finally to all the wonderful bakers who donated to our overflowing cookie and dessert tray. Every item donated, be it cookies or merchandise, is of huge value to our athletes, and we appreciate the community’s support. So many people work so hard behind the scenes and never get any credit, like Kerry Consani, our hard working treasurer, mom of coxswain Jake Consani."

For more about Friends of Newburgh Crew, Inc. or the NFA Varsity Crew Team, contact Juliana LoBiondo at

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