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MIDDLETOWN: FOR EARTH DAY, VISIT A PARK

A “Roving Naturalist” guided tour of Tatum Park’s hiking trails is among the activities scheduled at county parks throughout Middletown Township for Earth Day.

Saturday, April 22 marks the annual observance of Earth Day, and with our not-so-gently-used home planet in need of more TLC than at any time in its history, the Monmouth County Park System is offering several ways to raise awareness of local earth-friendly programs at its sites in Middletown Township.

In addition, Saturday marks the annual return of two popular events at neighboring facilities on Middletown’s Red Hill Road — both of them enhancing the Earth Day experience, and all of it designed to better acquaint local residents with several genuine public jewels of the Greater Red Bank Green.

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MIDDLETOWN: DAZE OF THEIR ‘PRIVATE LIVES’

Seen here in a 2015 staging of ‘Present Laughter,’ the Monmouth Players return to the Noel Coward canon with a production of ‘Private Lives’ that begins Saturday.

It was a time when the Garden State Parkway had miles to go until completion, and Neil Simon had yet to pen his first play. Way back in 1953 — well before the arrival of professional playhouses to the sleepy bedroom communities of Monmouth County — a fledgling theatrical company by the name of Monmouth Players chose as its first fully staged production Blithe Spirit, a ghostly farce by a then very-much-alive Noël Coward.

Over the years — some 63 of them, in fact — the Middletown-based players have made numerous return trips to Sir Noël’s well, not just for encores of Spirit but for Present Laughter (staged as recently as 2015) and, beginning this Saturday, a fresh look at the vitriolic valentine known as Private Lives.

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RED BANK: CHORUS HOSTS AUDITIONS, GALA

Dr. Ryan Brandau directs members of the Monmouth Civic Chorus during a past concert event. The Red Bank-based arts organization will be conducting scholarship auditions for high school seniors, and hosting its annual gala fundraiser, both on April 29.

Press releases from Monmouth Civic Chorus

A set of auditions for prospective scholarship applicants — and a gala fundraising dinner/auction with a Broadway theme — add up to a busy April 29 for the Monmouth Civic Chorus, the borough-based vocal organization that performed its most recent concert at Red Bank’s Tower Hill Church.

More than $2500 in scholarship funds will be awarded by the MCC this year to vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors who plan to pursue higher education. The Chorus now under the direction of Dr. Ryan Brandau will be conducting auditions by appointment on April 29, with an application deadline of the preceding Saturday, April 22.

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MIDDLETOWN: MAKERS DAY COMES TO MTPL

Press release from Middletown Township Public Library

On Saturday, March 25, the third annual New Jersey Makers Day will celebrate, promote and introduce Maker Culture to people of all ages throughout our state — and Middletown Township Public Library will be proud to serve as a participating site.

Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., all are welcome to visit MTPL’s headquarters on New Monmouth Road and discover the values associated with making, tinkering and STEAM-based learning. The day offers something for everyone, from science experiments and robotics, to sewing, art, LEGOs and more.

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M’TOWN: NEW MUSIC MINISTER, NEW PROGRAM

Press release from Westminster Presbyterian Church

Guest performers, new voices in the choir, and an upcoming Christian Contemporary Music Coffee House are just some of the new ideas featured in an innovative music program developed by Erika Sayar, the new Minister of Music at Middletown’s Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC).

Since joining the Tindall Road congregation last July, the Wall Township resident has revitalized WPC’s Sunday Service music with several new special events and projects.  A guest soloist series has showcased popular Irish tenor Sean Hennessey, the soulful sounds of DeBorah White, and WPC church member/ well-known Shore music scene performer BethAnne Clayton — while all are invited to attend a new public-welcome offering on March 31.

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MIDDLETOWN: DURANG, IN SMALL DOSES

Ever had a weekend of Durang? You know, one of those interludes in which your every human interaction — whether a disastrous date, a stress-inducing so-called vacation, or a simple trip to the store for a can of tuna — borders on the absurdly surreal?

Fortunately, we have the celebrated Christopher Durang, seen at right, to provide a road map of sorts through these needlessly complicated, often over-thought encounters. And beginning this Saturday, we have Middletown’s Monmouth Players at the wheel of the tour bus.

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M’TOWN: ALL SAINTS HOSTS ST. PAT’S DINNER

Press release from All Saints Church

All Saints’ Church in Navesink (The Old Stone Church), one of the founding members of the Atlantic Highlands Area Association of Community Churches (AACC), is holding a St. Patrick’s Dinner on March 18 in its Parish House.

The proceeds will support work of the AACC Food Pantry to provide wholesome food for its clientele, as well as to support the outreach efforts of All Saints’ Church.

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LITTLE SILVER: A SATURDAY NIGHT SINATRA

When he’s not donning a tux for the annual “Sinatra Birthday Bash” concerts at the Count Basie Theatre or tributes to other entertainers of the pre-rock era, Dave DeLuca tours libraries, schools and other public venues all over the Greater Red Bank Green with such one-man presentations as “Rat Pack Flashback” and “That’s Amore.”

This Saturday, he returns for a “Saturday With Sinatra” tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes that brings him to a novel locale.

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MIDDLETOWN: PLAYERS DISH UP FINE ‘DINING’

The cast of ‘The Dining Room’ is mostly under the table as the Monmouth Players present A.R. Gurney’s engagingly experimental ensemble comedy for six performances.

When last we looked in on the Monmouth Players, that longest-running of all area community stage troupes was offering up a holiday-season production of A Long Christmas Dinner, a Thornton Wilder playlet in which a single dining room serves as the setting for a century’s worth of action, with a small cast playing multiple generations of characters in the life of an American home.

When the players resume their Season of Classics this weekend (their 63rd overall, if you can wrap your head around that), it will find them still lurking about the dining room — or more precisely, The Dining Room, an ensemble “comedy of manners” that packs its own playfully experimental edge.

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M’TOWN: ALL SAINTS HOSTS MASTERY CLASSES

allsaintsPress release from All Saints Church

Have you ever wanted to learn baking, cooking, or another hobby that you always meant to explore? Or attend an informational workshop on pets, the arts, and other fun topics? All Saints’ Memorial (the historic “Old Stone Church”) has announced a new monthly series of Mastery Classes, with guest leaders joining us each month for workshops that run from 1 to 2 hours in length.

The proceeds from the classes benefit our Community Outreach programs, and provide funding for the upkeep of our National Historic Landmark Buildings and grounds. There is no age limit for participation (bring your family and friends), and the sessions start with the following two scheduled events:

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M’TOWN: LOCAL SPCA TO HOLD V-DAY BRUNCH

MCSPCA brunchPress release from Monmouth County SPCA

The Monmouth County SPCA has announced that their annual Valentine’s Day Brunch will be held at the beautiful and exclusive Navesink Country Club in Middletown Township, on Sunday, February 12.  Last year’s event sold out and raised over $38,000 for the animals in their care.

This year’s event will feature a variety of new and exciting attractions including a “Tunnel of Love” photo booth, jewelry chance auction and chance basket items plus much more with­ underwriting opportunities still available.

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MIDDLETOWN: IT’S ALL FREE AT THE LIBRARY

Ghostbusters-2016The 2016 remake of ‘Ghostbusters’ screens for free at Middletown Library as part of a program that also features a Sunday afternoon “one-man musical” performance by veteran recording artist Danny Rongo, below. 

Danny Rongo smallFrom junior chess to “dress for mess;” from writers’ workshops to Pokemon swaps, the folks at the Middletown Township Public Library have built a schedule of wintertime events, clubs and activities that form a welcome mat for all ages and all corners of the Greater Red Bank Green.

It’s an ongoing slate of programming that continues through the coming weekend with a tale of true-life adventure, a “one man musical,” and a movie matinee — all free of charge.

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MIDDLETOWN: A WILDER WAY TO HOLIDAY

mp_long_christmas_dinner_121016_aLeft to right: Kelly Cibrian, Lori Renick, Kevin Huelbig and Carolyn Robertshaw appear with Grace Modla (below) and Brandon Guerriero (not pictured) in ‘A Long Christmas Dinner,’ the Monmouth Players production going up this Saturday at the Navesink Arts Center. (Photo by Grace Modla)

grace-modlaWhen the Monmouth Players sounded the 2016-’17 season’s keynote back in August with “An Evening with Thornton Wilder,” they did so not in the auditorium of their Navesink Arts Center homestage, but in the more intimate setting of the historic building’s beautifully refurbished reading room/ lobby — a space that formerly served as part of Middletown Township library system.

Beginning Saturday and continuing through December 18, the elegant book-lined room makes for a made-to-order setting, as the Players take another walk on the Wilder side with the 1931 ensemble piece “A Long Christmas Dinner.”

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MIDDLETOWN: A WINTER 1ST AT STONE CHURCH

allsaintsThe Greater Red Bank Green has never lacked for historic churches and meetinghouses, and beginning this weekend one of its most picturesque places of worship — All Saints Memorial — will be initiating an all-new tradition at the landmark “Old Stone Church” (located at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues, just inland from Route 36). Going on over the course of three days, December 9 through 11, the first annual Winter Festival offers a rain-or-shine range of attractions that include homemade refreshments, handcrafted gifts, kid-friendly activities — and, as a centerpiece, a Live Nativity scene on view at the church’s historic carriage-shed outbuildings.

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RED BANK: EITHER WAY, WE’RE SCROOGED

a_christmas_carolNebraska Theatre Caravan’s stage spectacle of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes its annual stand on the Count Basie stage this Friday…even as Middletown’s Stone Church Players offer up an intimate “radio-play” version of the Dickens classic all weekend long. Meantime, the Stone Church Players present an intimate “live radio play” style version of Scrooge’s story.

He creeps in from the shadowy fringes of the Season of Lights this time each year: the bitter old man of worldly business whose quiet Christmas Eve will soon be besieged by chain-rattling spirits and life-altering visions of the Past, Present and Yet To Come.

But even as we celebrate the forced re-entry of Ebenezer Scrooge into the mainstream of humanity, we do tend to take a certain comfort and joy from the knowledge that the miserly man-we-love-to-hate will be back all the earlier at his counting house, refreshed and rebooted, for the next day’s matinee. And so we welcome him once again this Friday night to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre.

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M’TOWN: PLAYERS TAKE ON A MODERN CLASSIC

reading roomThe Navesink Arts Center is the setting for DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the Arthur Miller classic going up in a Monmouth Players production this Saturday, November 5.

A funny scene in the screen comedy Soapdish has down-on-his-luck former TV actor Kevin Kline performing Arthur Miller’s heavyweight Death of a Salesman on the tiny stage of a neon-lit South Florida dinner theatre, to a blissfully oblivious audience of Rascal-riding retirees and dish-dropping buspersons.

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MIDDLETOWN LIBRARY HOSTS JOB FAIR

mtownPress release from The Community YMCA

On Saturday, November 19, the Shrewsbury-based Community YMCA invites the public to attend a Community Employment Fair, sponsored by CYMCA’s Bayshore Family Success Center. This free event will be hosted at the Middletown Library, located at 55 New Monmouth Road, just east of Route 35 North.

Scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Community Employment Fair will feature over 25 employers from all different departments in retail, healthcare, customer service, food service and more. Job seekers are encouraged to bring multiple resumes and to dress to impress.

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ON THE GREEN: AN ABUNDANCE OF ART SHOWS

scherfen multi, 11/19/10, 3:51 PM, 8C, 8424x11700 (192+300), 150%, Custom, 1/30 s, R86.0, G78.5, B98.2The work of watercolorist Michael Scherfen, whose study of the Sandy Hook Lifesaving Station is seen here, is showcased in a special art event at Middletown’s Old Stone Church. Metalsmith Frederick Marshall, an example of whose work is seen below, keynotes a new series of Visiting Artist presentations at Brookdale Community College. 

domino_set_frederick_marshalSome artsy occurrences, from now through the week’s end, in and around the Greater Red Bank Green in the days and nights ahead…

The new academic year at Brookdale Community College signals the start of another slate of events in the Visiting Artist program, now in its fourth season on the Lincroft campus.

Normally hosted in the evening hours, the series returns Thursday with a unique noontime presentation that spotlights the work of jewelry designer and metalsmith Frederick Marshall. The public is welcome as the Montclair-based artist and educator drops in at the school’s Center for Visual Arts (CVA) Gallery, for a discussion of his artistic process that spotlights examples of his award-winning work in sterling silver, brass and 22-karat gold.

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MIDDLETOWN: A SONG FOR KIDS WITH CANCER

The video for “Fighter,” a new song by singer-songwriter Taylor Tote of Tinton Falls, features young cancer survivors, including six-year-old Natalie Grace Gorsegner of Middletown, who with her nine-year-old sister, Hannah, helped Tote write the song.

Recorded primarily at the Middletown Fire Department Company’s Station 8 on Route 35, the video pays tribute to kids who have survived or are battling cancer, 20 of whom appear in it. 

All proceeds from sales of the song, available on iTunes, will benefit pediatric cancer research.

 

ON THE GREEN: SPOOKY WALKS AND TALKS

FortHancockThe batteries and buildings of Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock, above, are the setting for a nocturnal ghost-walk sponsored by the American Littoral Society Friday night. Middletown’s fabled “Spy House,” below, hosts a Thursday night lecture on the legendary Jersey Devil. 

seabrook-wilson-houseHere in this history-haunted neck of Olde Monmouth, the Halloween season offers several spine-tingling opportunities to share some of the more curious legends and lore of the Garden State, in settings that range from well-lit modern facilities to those shadowy corners just off the beaten path.

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M’TOWN: 16TH ANNUAL CHALLENGE SET TO RUN

navesinkstartPress release from Jersey Shore Running Club

On Sunday, November 27, the 16th annual Navesink Challenge races, hosted by the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), will take place at Bodman Park, off Navesink River Road in Middletown. Proceeds from the event will benefit Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA), Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF), local first responders, and other local non-profit organizations.

Over the years, the race has attracted a steadily increasing number of runners, from 600 a decade ago to nearly double that in 2015. In the last three years alone, the race has attracted runners from 17 states and Canada. Since 2010, the Navesink Challenge has raised more than $60,000 for its beneficiaries.

The Navesink Challenge is celebrated for its location along one of the prettiest courses in Monmouth County, through the woods and back roads of Navesink. It includes two races: A challenging 15K run beginning at 10 a.m., and a 5K run/walk at 10:10 a.m. Both distances feature scenic country roads and several hilly sections through some of the beautiful properties in Huber Woods, and along Cooper and Browns Dock Roads; areas which have been preserved by MCF for the public to enjoy.

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M’TOWN: NUT SWAMP GOES GOLD VS. CANCER

go_gold_nut_swamp_1As part of their annual “Go Gold” week during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the generous families, teachers, and staff of Nut Swamp Elementary School PTA in Middletown collectively donated $4,635 to TheTruth365 (via Infinite Love For Kids Fighting Cancer). The money they collected will be put to use by a network of researchers and oncologists in their ongoing quest to develop new treatments for kids fighting cancer. The students — who purchased themed bracelets, emojis and pencils, and wore gold or yellow to support the cause — were left feeling empowered, knowing that they can make a difference. 

MIDDLETOWN: PLANTING SEEDS OF PRAISE

flagswestminsterThe annual Field of Flags tribute returns to the Westminster Presbyterian Church beginning this Saturday, October 15.

Press release from Westminster Presbyterian Church

For the fifth year, the annual Field of Flags memorial tribute will take root once again at Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC) on Saturday, October 15.  The moving tribute to honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan will return to the Great Lawn at WPC on Tindall Road in Middletown beginning at 9 a.m., when  members of the congregation and the community will gather to place 6,860 flags (compared to 6,841 placed in 2015) to honor every military person who has sacrificed their life in those conflicts.

Area residents, scout groups, and civic organizations are all encouraged to stop by between 9:00 and noon, and set down a flag in memory of a family member or friend who has lost their life in service to the country. The month-long tribute will remain on display and be disassembled after Veteran’s Day, on Saturday, November 19.

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ON THE GREEN: BLESSED PET EVENTS ABOUND

100514 beast blessing11Reverend Ophelia Laughlin blesses a dog, during a past St. Francis Day event at St. George’s-by-the-River in Rumson. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

It began several years back as a simple observance of St. Francis Day; a “pet blessing” ceremony conducted in the spirit of the patron saint of those furry, finned, feathered and variously phylum’d creatures with whom we share this planet and, often, our lunches.

But such was the response to the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. George’s-by-the-River, that the Episcopal church in Rumson soon found itself  accommodating some 200 dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, birds, goldfish and numerous other species; up from “30 to 40” at the event’s onset — even flirting for a time with a monthly pets-welcome service in the church’s Parish Hall.

On Sunday, October 2, the historic house of worship on Waterman Avenue again welcomes pets of all shapes, sizes and breeds to be blessed individually by the clergy — with dog owners requested to keep their pets leashed, and even those without an animal companion welcome to attend the service that commences at 2 p.m. Call St. George’s at (732)888-1194 for additional information — and read on for more about another St. Francis observance here on the greater Green; one that’s grown this year to encompass a separate satellite event.

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ON THE GREEN: MUSIC, ART, WIND AND SEA

zero-waste-1

Dip a toe into the first wave of “zero waste” art…stick a finger into the winds of environmental activism…try one’s hand at any of the many recreational pursuits of coastal life as Local Summer continues apace on and near the ocean, bay and riverfront shores of our local parks.

The people at the Monmouth County Arts Council define “zero waste” art as that which uses all available materials; creating new objects of beauty and inspiration from formerly discarded castoffs — and when the first-ever Zero Waste Arts Fest comes to the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook this weekend, September 17 and 18, there won’t be a wasted moment or a wasted opportunity for family-friendly fun. Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, the festival highlights partnerships between locally based artists, art galleries and environmental activism organizations, as well as an interactive “live art” project coordinated by Lisa Bagwell (whose recycled-materials sculptures are a colorful and clever commentary on our disposable consumer culture). There’s live music (from Red Bank’s Rockit Live and others), kids’ activities, informative displays from a host of partner organizations, plus giveaways, shuttle bus tours of the Hook, and a whole lot more (including an after-hours Saturday night “1940s swing event” under the stars). Take it here to the All Good section of redbankgreen, for full details on events and entertainers, plus a complete rundown of participating co-sponsors and presenters.

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