The US Army Field Band’s “Jazz Ambassadors” unit deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for a free concert next Wednesday.
In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo to a Son Tropical big band.
When the uniformed members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band take the Basie stage next Wednesday, they’ll be carrying on a tradition that’s seen various iterations of the USAFB treat the Red Bank audience to a free display by the most formidable musical force in the free world.
The Hot Taters return to First Presbyterian Church on Tower Hill as part of the festivities for the annual Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival.
It wasn’t so very long ago that July 3 packed an altogether different vibe than the relatively sleepy pre-holiday interlude we now get in Red Bank. But while the yearly KaBoom fireworks extravaganza last lit things up five years ago, up on Tower Hill, you’ll find another long-running holiday weekend tradition continues to make a glorious noise.
Now in its 28th annual edition,the First Presbyterian Church hosts the yearly Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival returns Sunday, offering up a selection of delectable homemade desserts and sweet, sweet American music.
Hundreds of Prince fans turned out at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a free screening of his film,”Purple Rain,” Sunday night, and many honored his memory by donning their finest purple garments, jewelry and lipstick. Check out our photos, below.
Though Prince had never performed at the venue, Basie CEO Adam Philipson said theatre staffers wanted to turn the rock star’s sudden death last Thursday into an opportunity for “joy,” and quickly obtained rights to show the film. Attendees asked to bring canned food for donation to Lunch Break, a Red Bank soup kitchen. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
A big band and an energetic troupe of singers and dancers bring that 1940s vibe back to the Count Basie Theatre Sunday. (Click to enlarge)
There’s the Andrews Sisters’ rollicking reveille “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Bing Crosby’s jumped-up “Swingin’ on a Star.” Benny Goodman’s pounding epic “Sing! Sing! Sing!” Glenn Miller’s signature slow-dance “Moonlight Serenade.”
While they might date from your great-grandma’s era of USO shows and network radio, they represent the music of youth — the soundtrack for a country tested by the Great Depression and a Second World War, but ready to seize its moment on the global stage.
Actor-singer-composer-musician Rinde Eckert talks about creating the music for the Two River Theater production of “Pericles,” which begins previews this weekend. (Video courtesy of the Two River Theater.)
Even as passionate a cheerleader as Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias is forced to admit that Pericles, Prince of Tyre is “one of Shakespeare’s plays that has frustrated his fans” — the result of its being “most obviously the result of a quirky collaboration with another playwright (or two).”
A sprawling smorgasbord of mythology and melodrama that boasts sensational plot points (incest! pirates! sexual slavery!) and more scenery than can be chewed through in a single sitting, the late-period romance fairly begs, as Dias declares, for “an interpretive team of theater artists who love it for the splendor of its quirks, while working to bring its disparate selves together.”
Singer-songwriter-novelist Mimi Cross makes an appearance in Fair Haven Thursday to promote her new work of fiction, “Before Goodbye.” (Click to enlarge)
By TOM CHESEK
“It was great to see everybody,” says Mimi Cross in reference to her performance last weekend at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, part of the annual Light of Day slate of musically minded benefit events. “I haven’t been playing much the past couple of years, and it was like coming home to family.”
Once a frequently sighted fixture on Shore area club stages — and a two-time Asbury Music Award winner for her self-released albums like Monkey Trap — the singer-songwriter soprano has indeed kept a low public profile since she became a mom. It’s an uncharacteristic stance for an artist who can boast of having shared stages with Bruce, Bon Jovi, Bonnie (Raitt), (Jackson) Browne, Lauryn Hill and Sting.
Neptune City-based rockabilly artists Fast Clare, a trio led by guitarist (and Red Bank Catholic grad) Laddie Keelan, bring their to muscular sound to 10th Ave. Burrito in Red Bank Friday night. A three-song sampling of the band’s original stuff is here. (Video courtesy of Fast Clare.)
Deborah Dutcher and Phil Kuntz, above, and the proposed album art, which offers homage to both Elvis Presley and the Clash, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
It was no accident that Deborah Dutcher ended up touring Europe for 13 years with lead roles in such shows as “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Singing show tunes professionally was pretty much all she ever thought of doing.
“My mom tells that from the moment I could speak, I wanted to be a singer,” Dutcher told redbankgreen last week. “And I had major follow-through. I never deviated.”
That laser focus, supplemented by a heavy diet of Barry Manilow and the Carpenters, also ensured that Dutcher ended up knowing diddly about punk rock. So when her friend and fellow Rumson resident Phil Kuntz suggested she record an album of punk classics as a way of restarting her career after a decade off, Dutcher was in unfamiliar territory.
Hundreds of Fair Havenites spent the afternoon and evening in the open air of Fair Haven Fields Saturday, enjoying the fourth annual Fair Haven Day, an event begun in 2012 to commemorate the borough centennial.
Kids limboed, danced to the Jukebox Criminals and built ice cream sundaes; adults enjoyed a range of culinary offerings, as well as beer and sangria; and the whole thing was capped once again with a spectacular fireworks show.
redbankgreen was there, camera in hand, to capture the vibe for those who missed it, or just want to relive it. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge.)
Student musicians preparing to rehearse at the middle school last June, above, and performing at the borough sidewalk sale a month later. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Wayne Woolley. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A year after budget cuts appeared to doom the strings program at the Red Bank primary and middle schools, the band is back.
As part of the the borough-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert, strings players from the two-school district will take the stage of the vaunted Count Basie Theatre for a song Saturday.
But the appearance signals more than mere survival of a music program that was on the verge of disappearing when $80,000 was cut from the district 2014-’15 budget, advocates said. Rather, it marks the culmination of a community-wide effort to restore the program and position it for the future.
As usual, redbankgreen was there to capture dozens of sweet and savory moments. Are you in one of our photos? Check out the full array below. (Photos by Susan Ericson, Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
The first food festival of the year in a restaurant-crazy town is like opening day for revelers and foodies alike. Seventeen or so of the borough’s finest eateries will be on hand to dispense culinary treats – savory, sweet, and exotic, including:
Tim McLoone, flanked by Rudolph, Santa and Frosty, rocked the gazebo in Victory Park. Rudolph also made the rounds in the crowd, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Victory Park was awash in lights and music as Tim McLoone and the Shirleys headed up Rumson’s Christmas tree lighting Sunday night.
Mayor John Ekdahl nominated a second-grader from the Deane Porter School to perform the task of pushing the button to light the tree and the Tower singers from Rumson-Fair Haven High School offered a selection of holiday tunes while Linda Walton’s catering company helped the crowd ward off the night’s chill with hot chocolate and home baked cookies.
Were you among those singing-in the holiday season? Check below for more pictures.
Santa Claus and friends attempted to find some shelter from the rain as Red Bankers gathered for the annual West Side Tree Lighting at the pocket park on Shrewsbury Avenue Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge)
Red Bank primary and middle school strings players performing at the borough Sidewalk Sale on Saturday included, from left, Hannah Ludwikowski, Claudia Garcia, Parker Ludwikowski, Mae Woolley, Sarah Perry and Lillian Woolley.
Parents of strings students have joined forces with the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation to raise the $85,000 required for restoration of the strings program, which was terminated recently over budget issues. (Photo by Wayne Woolley. Click to enlarge)
As reported by redbankgreen last month, the strings program in the Red Bank school district is facing extinction because of budget cuts. The school board and parents are looking for ways to keep it alive. Meantime, a handful of students from the program plan to play a selection of folk tunes, including “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” at 2 p.m. this Saturday in front of Toad Hollow, at 9 Monmouth Street, in an effort to call attention to the effort. The video below, made by parent Wayne Woolley, is another part of that effort.
Wouldn’t it be nice to give them a big, curbside audience to encourage them? You might also bring your checkbook or cash, in case you feel inspired to help in that way. For more info, contact Cathy Costa at email@example.com. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Maggie Rose headlines the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country Music Festival, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Marine Park and continues Sunday. Hosted by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event will spotlight the culinary creations of borough restaurants. Profits will benefit the Red Bank Public Library Foundation, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, Red Bank Charter School Library, and RiverCenter. Admission is $5 for anyone over 10 years old. Here’s the full entertainment schedule. (Click to enlarge)
Getting ready to tackle Beethoven, Bartok and Bach, Red Bank primary and middle school students tuned up for their annual concert at the middle school Wednesday night. The strings program, however, was cut from the 2014-’15 budget, shaving $80,000, even as the local tax levy soared by nearly 10 percent. “It was all bad choices,” said school board President Ben Forest, whose daughter was among the kids playing their final concert at the school. “It’s horrible, but sometimes we’re charged with making horrible decisions.” Pressure to save the program is great, he added, and “we are looking at ways of restoring it.” Here’s a letter about the options sent to parents on Wednesday: Strings Letter 06-2014 (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
What started as a way to celebrate Fair Haven’s centennial two years ago appears to have settled into an annual tradition, as the borough threw a townwide party in Fair Haven Fields Saturday, capping a day of food and music with a spectacular fireworks show. redbankgreen was there, natch. (Photos by Susan Ericson and Dan Natale. Mouseover to pause slideshow.)
‘On Borrowed Time’ continues its run at the Two River Theater, above. Judith Krall Russo, below, talks tea and women in history at the Eastern Branch Monmouth County Library Saturday. (Click to enlarge)
Friday, September 27:
SHREWSBURY: Alexander Saulon leads a discussion about social media sites and how to use Skype and Facebook to stay connected with family and friends at the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library. The discussion begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.
RED BANK: Keep up with the Jonzes at the Walt Street Pub for some Friday night entertainment. The Jonzes are sure to please with their eclectic musical range from heavy metal to reggae, pop, dance, and more. The music begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.