December 12, 2011
John’s University celebrated the Christmas season with the Long
Island Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra in its presentation of The
Nativity, produced by St. John’s Alumnus Bernard D. Kennedy ‘54CBA,
The fully staged opera, held in Carnesecca Arena on St. John’s
Queens campus, was met with rave reviews and a standing ovation
from an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 on Saturday, December
10. The production tells the story of the Nativity, from the
prophecies through the birth of baby Jesus, performed by the Long
Island Masterworks Orchestra, a professional cast of singers and
the St. John’s University Mixed Chorus.
The orchestra was directed by Frances C. Roberts, founding
conductor of Long Island Masterworks, the Long Island Philharmonic
Orchestra and the Long Island Choral Festival and Institute.
Proving that its never to late to start a second career in life,
Kennedy, 86, a lawyer by trade, took his love for classical music
at age 74 and started a new calling by writing religious hymns. His
passion progressed to writing a full-fledged opera that is now, in
his own words, something beyond his wildest dreams.
honestly don’t know how it happened,” said Kennedy, when asked
about the writing of his opera. “I started tinkering around with
the music and I feel that the Holy Spirit came down and placed his
hand on my head and blessed me to do this. It’s a very moving
feeling to see your own work produced, played and sung in front of
all these people.”
Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s opened
the festivities by welcoming community members, families, friends
and opera lovers to the University for this special presentation
that is one of the highlights of the holiday season.
“A University is judged by many things and one of the standards
by which it is measured is the success of its alumni. Bernie is a
double alumnus and has had great success in his profession and the
arts, and has stayed a very important and close part of St.
John’s,” said Rev. Harrington, C.M.
“My thanks go out to Father Harrington who made a dream come
true for me coming back to my alma mater and performing my work
here at St. John’s. It was a special night,” added Kennedy.
Kennedy graduated from Chaminade High School in 1943, received
his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s in 1954, and graduated from
the University’s School of Law in 1958. He is a member of the Bar
of the State of New York and he serves as President of the Long
Beach Medical Center. Kennedy is also Co-Chairman of the Board and
Co-Chairman of the Executive Committee of King Kullen Grocery Co.,
Inc., America’s first supermarket.
The admission fee of $5 benefitted the St. John’s Bread &
Life Soup Kitchen. In addition, warm coats were collected in the
Carnesecca Arena lobby area to support the New York Cares Coat
Media inquiries may be addressed to Dominic Scianna, Assistant
Vice President for Media Relations at St. John’s University, by
calling (718) 990-6185 or e-mail inquiries to email@example.com. For
more information on Long Island Masterworks visit their web site at