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Alexis-RoddaShe’s been hailed as an artist possessed of “a lovely voice, full of color and body in every register, and the poise to perform unselfconsciously in an intimate space” — a setting of which the reviewer observed, “can be more of a challenge than a large hall with 3,000 people.”

When soprano Alexis Rodda performs a Thursday evening concert at St. Anthony of Padua, she’ll be working on a scale that’s cozier than Carnegie — but she’ll also be feeling very much at home, as the Red Bank resident is a regular choir member at the Bridge Avenue house of worship. And, together with pianist Manon Hutton-DeWys, she’ll help to inaugurate a new series of public-welcome music presentations at St. Anthony’s.

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Neil F BrownThe Shrewsbury Chorale welcomes new permanent music director Neil F. Brown — and sounds a keynote to a milestone 60th season —  with a public-invited, informal performance of Vivaldi’s “Gloria” on August 16.

In a history highlighted by performances at places like Carnegie Hall and Washington’s National Cathedral, it’s an undeniable milestone: the Diamond Anniversary of the Shrewsbury Chorale, the community arts group that prepares to embark upon its 60th season of choral classics and popular repertoire in 2016.

It’s a season that begins in earnest this coming December, with the chorale’s annual presentation of holiday hymns and carols. But before that, the organization founded back in the 1950’s by Alden Hammond stays attuned to the more casual pace of the current season with an August 16 Summer Sing event that invites everyone who holds a song in their heart, as it welcomes a special person to the podium.

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HOT-TOPIC_03Children carried three bouquets of flowers — one for the five police officers slain in Dallas last week, one for victims of senseless violence, and one for “peace in our hearts and our country,” in the words of Mayor Pasquale Menna — at a vigil in Red Bank Sunday night.

About 40 residents, local clergy and a contingent of borough police officers participated in the brief ceremony, held at the Veterans Memorial on Monmouth Street at Drummond Place. 

Additional photos are below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) Read More »


rb vigil 061616 10HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is calling on area residents to participate in a silent vigil Sunday evening for the five law enforcement officers slain in Dallas Thursday “and for civilian victims of violence in our country,” he said in an alert distributed Saturday.

Participants are asked to gather at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial, at the corner of Monmouth Street and Drummond Place. Three wreaths will be on display, Menna said: one for the officers killed, one for victims of senseless violence, and one for “peace in our hearts and our country.”

Attendees may leave flowers at the site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Press release from St. George’s Episcopal Church

Sailing_out_to_Sea,_Mike_Quon,_2-10-16Presenting its fifth anniversary edition in 2016, the annual Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts returns to St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church for a premier local exhibition and sale of juried and non-juried artwork.

The three-day event will take place Labor Day Weekend at the historic church property, located at 7 Lincoln Avenue in Rumson. Event dates are Friday through Sunday, September 2-4, with a preview and Meet the Artists reception on Thursday, September 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hundreds of attendees and art patrons have enjoyed the Canterbury Art show since its inception in 2011. Each year, over 600 works by artists from all over New Jersey and beyond (including Fair Haven favorite Mike Quon, whose “Sailing Out to Sea” is pictured here) are featured, with 38 new artists participating for the first time this year, according to event chair Coni Lefferts. Proceeds from the sale directly benefit St. George’s-by-the-River and its outreach grants to more than 30 local agencies serving the needy of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

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St. Mary's FairPress release from St. Mary’s Fair Executive Committee

Regular readers of redbankgreen know the annual Fair Haven Fireman’s Fair as the August event that gives local families one last blast of summer fun before thoughts turn inexorably to school supplies and adjusted bedtimes. But on the other side of what we call the Greater Green — and at the other end of the school’s-out season — another eagerly anticipated carnival has been pitching its tent at the heart of community life for generations.

Back for its 73rd annual edition, The Great St. Mary Fair opens tonight, June 27, running through Saturday, July 2 on the grounds of St. Mary Mother of God Parish in the New Monmouth section of Middletown. Beginning each night at 6:30 p.m., the fair will feature rides and games for the entire family to enjoy.

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Nancy ScharffVeteran denizens of the greater Red Bank Green may remember Nancy Scharff for the annual Christmas extravaganzas she presented in seasons past at the Count Basie Theatre — some big joyous benefits that found the Middletown-based devotional singer, songwriter, musician, choirmaster, producer, conductor, and educator taking on yet another role: that of shepherdess tending to a flock of choral performers, orchestra members, rock bandmates, kid choirs, bell ringers, event volunteers and interactively inclined audience members that numbered in the hundreds.

While those logistically complex events have taken a hiatus in recent times, Scharff remains very much on the scene; as a faculty member with Red Bank’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music, as a busy music-maker who’s even been known to hit the sidewalks as a Red Bank Street Life performer — and as the long-standing music director at King of Kings Lutheran Church, the New Monmouth landmark that’s served as the globally touring artist’s home base for decades.

Nancy’s Christmas shows have long had a summer-season cousin in the annual God and Country Patriotic Concert, the 2016 edition of which returns to King of Kings this Friday evening, June 24.

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rb vigil 061616 2rb vigil 061616 1As participants present lit a candle from a single flame at a vigil in Red Bank Thursday night, Pastor Terrence K. Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church urged each of them to think of a single victim of  Sunday’s Orlando nightclub attack, America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

“The candle you light is a reflection of that image in your mind,” he said.

The memorial service, held at Johnny Jazz Park on Drs. Parker Boulevard, was the second such service in town in two nights, and was organized by the West Side Ministerial Alliance and other other religious groups. Additional photos are below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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rb vigil 061516 6rb vigil 061516 2Dozens of Red Bank area residents gathered for a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims the nightclub attack that took place in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning, in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

Several speakers, including Rabbi Marc Kline, of the Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, called for tighter gun laws. “We need to do more than mourn and grieve,” he told the gathering, held outside Red Bank’s borough hall on Monmouth Street. A later reference to a Senate filibuster then underway for gun-law reform drew strong applause.

Additional photos may be seen below.

A second vigil, organized by the West Side Ministerial Alliance and other other religious groups, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at Johnny Jazz Park, corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank. For further information, call 732-747-2343. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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rb vigil 062415 16HOT-TOPIC_03As they did in response to the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last year, Red Bank residents and others will gather again this week to mourn.

Mayor Pasquale Menna has called for a community-wide candlelight vigil “in remembrance of the victims in the senseless nightclub attack” that took place in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning, in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

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Press release from Monmouth Community Climate Coalition

Rev. DowdThe public is invited to First Presbyterian Church of Rumson on the evening of Monday, June 6, when guest speaker and “Pro-Future Evangelist” Michael Dowd delivers a talk entitled Standing for the Future: Inspiring Science, Evolving Faith, Realistic Hope.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. and presented by The Monmouth Community Climate Coalition, the program, geared for adults and teens, asks the question “How do we stay inspired in the face of changing climate?” — and focuses on points of agreement held by religious and non-religious people across the globe, suggesting how we can transform “The Great Reckoning” into “The Great Homecoming.”

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rbr protest 050916 2According to one account, hall monitor Joel Gray, below, was placed on administrative leave after engaging Jazmin Graham, center above, in prayer. She said she had sought Gray’s counsel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Joel Gray 3For the second school day in a row, Red Bank Regional students staged a demonstration Monday afternoon to protest the school’s purported suspension of an aide for engaging students in prayer.

To date, there’s been no official confirmation of any type of action against 32-year-old hall monitor Joel Gray. Tom Pagano, the interim superintendent at the Little Silver school, declined to discuss Gray’s status with redbankgreen late Friday, citing the privacy of personnel matters. Gray himself has not returned phone messages.

But as they had on Friday, more than a dozen students, placards in hand, stood at the corner of Harding Road and Ridge Road Monday shortly after dismissal, chanting their support for a school employee they say has been mistreated by the administration. Read More »


Avraham NeguisePress release from Congregation B’nai Israel

In celebration of Israel Independence Day, Congregation B’nai Israel will host a special guest speaker on the evening of Thursday, May 12. The 7 p.m. event will feature Dr. Avraham Neguise on the topic of “Israel Today: My Story, Our Mission.”

Born in Ethiopia, Dr. Neguise was elected to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) in 2015, where he continues his mission of championing diversity and education.  He will provide a political update on events in Israel and changes in Israeli society.

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643_TheKennedysfinal1It’s called the Earth Room Concerts series — mainly “because of the attractive stained glass in the sanctuary where concerts are held,” but also in a way that the new slate of programming at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County takes a more expansive worldview of the kinds of music currently in regular rotation on Shore area stages.

Designed to “fill a local gap” by bringing nationally known folk and singer/ songwriter artists to Monmouth County — acts that are more commonly seen and heard at festivals and venues in NYC and North Jersey — the series fulfills its mission from the get-go in its inaugural show this Saturday evening, April 23, when the UUCMC Meetinghouse gives the greater Red Bank audience its first-ever local look at an acclaimed modern folk duo that’s been enchanting listeners on both sides of the Atlantic for decades: the husband/wife team known as The Kennedys.

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RabbiPress release from Monmouth Reform Temple

In the words of Rabbi Marc Kline of Monmouth Reform Temple, Rabbi Uri Regev commands respect from Jews (and non-Jews) from all walks of the spectrum.

“As one of the founding strong voices of the Israeli Religious Action Center, now past President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and now as founder and executive director of Hiddush (a multi-cultural activist think tank), Uri’s name has become synonymous with progressive egalitarian change,” Rabbi Kline explains.

On Saturday, May 7, the internationally renowned Rabbi Regev will give a series of free talks at MRT, 332 Hance Avenue in Tinton Falls. The public is invited to the special event, scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m., and a buffet dinner will be served.

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