The Island Today: Competition gets hot for ‘Big Break’

Grace McQuade

On Saturday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, March 11, the search is on for the Gold Coast Arts Center and Love Revolution Org, as they once again look for the next musical act to come out of New York for the 5th year in a row right in the heart of Great Neck at 113 Middle Neck Road.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for general seating and the first act will perform starting at 8 p.m. each night.

Price is $10 for students and $15 for adults by calling 516-829-2570 or going to .

Refreshments will be available for purchase.

The finals will be held on Saturday, April 1.

With a little help from some of their friends in the music industry including’s Lou Plaia, All Music Inc.’s Guy Brogna, Songwriter Tara Eberle Drouin, and Label Executives Stephen Marcuccio, Jerry Lembo, Linda Ingrisano, Mark Ambrosino and more will be judging this year’s competition.

The Arts Center will round out both nights of the competition with headlining performances by Lennon and Katie and Lem Payne Jr.

Following is a rundown of the competition:


Saturday, Feb. 11

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

8-8:10 p.m.: Sabrina Ali

8:20-8:30 p.m.: Sydney Perruzza

8:40-8:50 p.m.: Kayla Murro

9-9:10 p.m.: EJ Carey

9:10-9:20 p.m.: Intermission

9:20-9:30 p.m.: Samantha Daniels

9:40-9:50 p.m.: Alex Mendes

10:00-10:10 p.m.: Jaclyn Manfredi

10:20-10:30 p.m.: Nexus

10:30-10:45 p.m.: Headliner: Lennon & Katie


Saturday, March 11

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

8:00-8:10 p.m.: Alex Norwood

8:20-8:30 p.m.: Julia Hayden

8:40-8:50 p.m.: Monique Thompson

9-9:10 p.m.: Tessa Field

9:10-9:20 p.m.: Intermission

9:20-9:30 p.m.: Paris Ray

9:40-9:50 p.m.: Taylor Hogan

10:00-10:10 p.m.: Lydia Von Hof

10:20-10:30 p.m.: Pocketphuzz

10:30-10:45 p.m.: Headliner: Lem Payne, Jr.

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The finals will take place on Saturday, April 1 with headliner Matt Grabowski.

Two artists will be chosen from each of the two knockout rounds to move on to the finals on April 1 to compete for prizes and recognition that can help launch their musical careers.

There will also be a wild card winner from each knockout round, based on audience votes, who will also move on the finals.

Mentors assigned to the finalists also work to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals.

2017 mentors are still to be determined, while last year’s were singer/songwriter Ryan Star, John Hampson of Nine Days, and songwriter/producer Ido Zmishlany.

Performers will be up for prizes including the chance to open for national acts at major venues like The Paramount, recording time at DCITY Studios and Online TV streaming opportunities, a feature on, musical equipment from All Music Inc., and ZOOM North America, a PR and social media campaign including management, booking and label services consultation with Rick Eberle Agency, and more to be announced.

Last year, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Matt Grabowski was crowned the winner, along with great performances by semifinals headliners Youth Be Told and Katie Zimmer, round two headliner Annika, as well as finalists SEE and Zofolk.

Other past artists who have performed in the headline slots have included: Gnarly Karma, Annika, Iridesense, John Hampson of Nine Days, The Brady Brothers, and Sir Cadian Rhythm — all of whom are local musicians who’ve had major success in the industry, with hopes to further inspire the next generation of New York stars presented each year.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the search, as the Gold Coast Arts Center and Love Revolution Org present the first two nights of the 5th Annual “Your Big Break” competition on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, March 11 at the Gold Coast Acoustic Cafe located at 113 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults by going to

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach.

For over 20 years, they have brought the arts and arts in education experiences to tens of thousands of people throughout our region through: School for the Arts, which offers year-round classes in all visual and performing arts to students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; outreach programs, which each year bring artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher training workshops and parent-child workshops to students, senior citizens, teachers and others in underserved communities throughout the region; a year-round film screening and discussion series; and the Gold Coast International Film Festival, now in its fifth year.

The Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the for the Performing Arts: Partners in Education Program and National Gallery of Art, both located in Washington DC.

About the author

Grace McQuade

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