the-nieldsThe Nields — folk-singing sisters Nerissa and Katryna — make a rare local appearance Saturday at the latest in a new series of Earth Room Concerts at the Unitarian Meetinghouse.

The inaugural event may have happened way back in April, but when the Earth Room Concerts Series resumes in Lincroft this Saturday night, it will more than maintain its mission to “fill a local gap” by bringing nationally known folk musicians — acts more commonly seen and heard at festivals and venues in New York — to a friendly port of call on the Greater Red Bank Green.

That happy harbor is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, where the stained-glass sanctuary (known for the occasion as the Earth Room) offers an environment that’s acoustically and aesthetically well suited to the sophisticated songcraft and sparkling harmonies of Nerissa and Katryna Nield — the Massachusetts-based sister act known for the past quarter-century as the Nields.

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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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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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Chorale_Group_wo_conductorThe Shrewsbury Chorale is looking to corral some new voices — and for the next two Tuesday evenings, the public is invited to join in the chorus of community.  

It’s one of those local treasures whose activity in the community extends back nearly 60 years, as the Shrewsbury Chorale prepares to embark upon its 59th season of choral classics and popular repertoire, presented in settings that have ranged from the modestly-scaled historic churches of Monmouth County to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and Carnegie Hall.

For the next couple of Tuesdays, the community arts organization gets back to its roots, extending an invitation to all interested singers to join in a pair of open rehearsals hosted at the Chorale’s regular Tuesday evening rehearsal venue, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft.

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UUCMCNJThe Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse offers an opportunity for quiet reflection on New Year’s Day — and some spirited dialogue every Sunday morning thereafter.  

The resolutions that we make on New Year’s Eve may constitute some bold and fearless talk — but in the cold light of New Year’s Day, it’s not always so easy to walk that walk. Fortunately, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County offers all members of the community the opportunity to start 2016 off on a good foot or two, by “walking the labyrinth” for some moments of quiet reflection and meditation as you begin another journey around the sun with the best of intentions and hopes for the months ahead. The (temporary) labyrinth will be installed inside the Earth Room at the Unitarian Meetinghouse between the hours of 3 to 6 pm on Friday, and there will be light refreshments served up in the nearby Community Room, with all attendees invited to contribute a dessert to this free and all-welcome event.

While New Year’s Day comes and goes in a flash, the UUCMC’s Sunday Dialogs events remain a year-round happening at the West Front Street place of worship — and the long-running lecture series on timely topics will be wasting no time getting down to the matter at hand here in 2016, as the Meetinghouse welcomes guest speaker Russell Binaco to the lectern this Sunday morning, January 3.

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njso chamberThe Chamber Players of the NJ Symphony Orchestra (above) come to Navesink’s Old Stone Church Sunday. Piano prodigy Michael Davidman (below) tackles keyboard classics at Red Bank’s Monmouth Conservatory.

mike davidAh, to have the ability to be in three places at once. This Sunday offers a trio of riches for Red Bank-area music lovers in the 4 p.m. hour — beginning with one that takes interactivity to the next level.

Back for a 15th edition, the annual “United We Sing” Celebration once again invites people of all faiths to lend their voices and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County on West Front Street in Lincroft.

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As part of the Social Action Film Series, the documentary feature ‘Wings of Life’ screens for free this Sunday evening at the Unitarian Meetinghouse in Lincroft.

We’ve long looked to “the birds and the bees” as fleet-flying messengers of the Facts of Life — but just as crucial to the maintenance of life on earth are the butterflies, the bats, and the blossoms.

On Sunday, a worship space in Lincroft plans to host a free screening of Wings of Life, a DisneyNature documentary feature narrated by Meryl Streep that explores the often unheralded ways in which some of the world’s most endangered species hold the key to the continued existence of all living things on the planet.

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Seeger-KillianClearwater Festival founder Bob Killian, seen here with folk legend Pete Seeger, makes two anniversary appearances this weekend. (Photo by Mike Berry)

Updated from previous post on redbankgreen‘s All Good page.

It began back in the mid-1970s as a free festival of music, food and environmental awareness at Sandy Hook.

Inspired by the work of the iconic folk singer and pioneer activist Pete Seeger and his Hudson River excursions with the sloop Clearwater — and founded by Bob Killian, a Shore-based singer and songwriter best known for his hyperlocal anthem “I Like The Jersey Shore” — the all-volunteer Clearwater Festival has soldiered on through the years in several locations, most recently at Long Branch’s Pier Village.

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Press release from Shrewsbury Chorale

Do you like to sing? Shrewsbury Chorale invites all interested local singers to participate in our Open Rehearsals on September  22 and 29, 2015, from 7:45 to 10 pm. We practice weekly on Tuesday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, 1475 West Front Street in Lincroft.

The Chorale is a mixed chorus serving Monmouth County for almost 60 years. As we begin our new season, we welcome  Mark C. Cook as our interim conductor. Mr. Cook is a familiar face to our audiences. He has performed admirably as our accompanist for the past four years. Mr. Cook has accompanied soloists and choral ensembles throughout the United States and Europe. Currently, he serves as Organist/Music Director for the Church in Brielle. We are fortunate to be able to employ his many talents in this new capacity of interim Conductor/Accompanist.

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Cowspiracy-1The cow-troversial documentary feature COWSPIRACY: THE SUSTAINABILITY SECRET screens for free at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Lincroft, as a Sunday presentation of NJ Farm Animal Save.

It’s been called “the most destructive industry facing the planet today” — and unlike many things that might come to mind, it sits snugly on a sesame seed bun. Large-scale factory farming — particularly the production and process that brings BEEF to the take-out bag or table — is the bogeyman and bugaboo in COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret, the feature-length documentary by Frisco-based filmmaker Kip Andersen that’s been credited with everything from “saving the planet,” to “regurgitating common myths” (this last from Beef Magazine).

Making the case that livestock production is accelerating environmental and public health crises through water and grain consumption, deforestation, soil depletion, methane emissions and obesity rates, the “shocking yet humorous” doc positions Andersen and co-producer Keegan Kuhn as figures caught up in a web of cover-ups and threatened reprisals — not just from Big Cattle, but from trusted “leaders in the environmental movement” as well. The 2014 film, which has been made available to community groups for free screenings nationwide, comes to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Sunday, January 11, as part of the ongoing Social Action Film Series.

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sandyhook-npsThe beaches and walkways of Sandy Hook’s northern tip in winter are the subject of the 39th annual New Year’s Day Beach Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Somewhere between the stale aftertaste and inevitable comedown of New Year’s Eve — and the litany of resolutions that begins with a groaning “never again” — there exists an opportunity for locals to truly hit the “refresh” button on the lifestyle routine. Even if you’re stopping just short of taking the Polar Bear plunge, you’ve still got a chance to take in a couple of lungfuls of bracingly frosty air and truly experience some extraordinary scenery, courtesy of the Sandy Hook-based regional chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Named in honor of the Society’s late director who initiated the annual tradition, the 39th Dery Bennett Memorial New Year’s Day Beach Walk commences at 11 am on Thursday, January 1st from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area of the Hook. Littoral Society naturalists conduct the free, public-welcome walk that proceeds from the Society’s headquarters, out to North Beach and beyond — and, while at the tip of the Hook, the group will attempt to communicate with Northeast Chapter coast walkers, across the Bay in New York.

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Press release from The Shrewsbury Chorale

Do you like to sing? The Shrewsbury Chorale, a 50-member mixed chorus under the direction of Anthony LaGruth, invites all interested local singers to participate in Open Rehearsals on the nights of January 6 and 13, 2015.

Scheduled to run from 7:45 to 10 pm, the Tuesday evening sessions take place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, 1475 West Front Street in Lincroft.

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UUCMC Amahl and the Night VisitorsIt starts with the appearance of an unusually large star in the desert night sky — and for a young boy named Amahl, it heralds the appearance of three kings at his family’s humble home, seeking shelter for the night as they make their way to a place called Bethlehem.

First performed as a live TV special in 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors quickly took its rightful place among the Yuletide season’s best-loved musical masterworks — and continuing a local tradition, the contemporary opera will be staged at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14.

Presented at 7 pm on Saturday, and encoring at 6 pm Sunday, the family-friendly favorite is the second in a four-part Performing Arts Series at UUCMC; directed by Elaine Held (with co-musical direction by Louise Chernosky), and starring not one but two young local actresses as Amahl: Tara Lieneck of Middletown (at right in photo) featured on December 13, and Clara Randel of Aberdeen (left) taking over the role on December 14.

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United WE SingIt’s an event that traces its origins to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 — an event of which the organizers observe, “the healing effect of the evening led us to repeat the event with presentations over the last thirteen years from the Muslim, Jain, Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Native American, and UU communities.”

On Sunday, November 23 at 4 pm, the annual “United We Sing” Celebration once again invites people of all faiths to lend their voice and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street. Subtitled “Music of Gratitude” — and sponsored by the  Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) and the Social Action Committee of the UUCMC, the “intercultural service of music, word and dance presents voices of different faiths raised in joy and gratitude.”

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UUCMCNJPress release from Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County is growing! This inclusive, progressive and caring congregation is expanding its Sunday services and religious education programs starting September 7, 2014. The new times are 9 am and 11am, and all are invited to visit.

Participants at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation gather every week to create sacred space and time in their lives for reflection and celebration. With diverse, vibrant music and inspirational messages taken from many traditions, the community, led by Reverend Virginia Jarocha-Ernst, learns to grow in love and spirit. Services last approximately one hour. You do not have to be a member to participate.

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Monmouth-Civic-Chorus.3.16.13Dr. Ryan Brandau (right) and the Monmouth Civic Chorus invite the public to lend their voices to a performance of Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH on August 13 — one of two such Summer Sing events going on at the edges of the Green.

Summer loves may be fleeting — but for two highly acclaimed local choral ensembles, the year-round passion for making music doesn’t take a breather during the season of itchy tuxedos and sweat-stippled score sheets. Within one seven-day interlude, music lovers are invited to step out from the audience and join the assembled voices of their favorite choirs, in a fun seasonal custom known as the Summer Sing.

The democratic look into the magic of music-making starts Wednesday evening, August 13, when Dr. Ryan Brandau and the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus host an opportunity to participate in a performance of a choral masterwork last performed by the MCC in 2000 — Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the classic cantata that illuminates the story of the Biblical prophet with some of the  composer’s best-known vocal passages. It takes place at 7:30 pm, just off the edge of the greater Red Bank Green (at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road in Holmdel). No reservations are required, and the admission fee of $5 includes refreshments and loan of the score.

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WeddingWalkMichael Warmington of Red Bank RiverCenter joins a team of Barbizon tour guides in welcoming guests to a past edition of the Red Bank Wedding Walk, which returns to town this Sunday. Wanda Sykes (below) brings her standup skills back to the Basie Friday night. 

Sykes-WandaRED BANK: When the Red Bank Wedding Walk returns to the blushing banks of the Navesink for its latest edition this Sunday, it’ll be a bigger/better-than-ever affair with an historic edge: it’s “encouraging same-sex couples to join us this year and explore all that Red Bank has to offer for the perfect wedding,” according to organizers at Red Bank RiverCenter.

Taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the 2014 event sounds a call to “prospective brides, grooms, partners, their families and friends” to key into the borough’s “fun and funky vibe” as they visit over 40 wedding-related businesses — florists, gown and accessories retailers, bridesmaid and guest attire boutiques, photographers, wedding planners and designers, jewelers, salons and banquet facilities — many of which will be offering promotions, light refreshments and special amenities.

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IraGlass(StuartMullenberg)Above: Public radio powerhouse Ira Glass brings his broadcast mojo to the stage of the Count Basie while, below, Elvis is back in the building, in the person (or persons) of Scot Bruce and Mike Albert. 

Friday, January 17:

ScotBruceMikeAlbertRED BANK: “Red Bank’s a beautiful town,” the professional Elvis Presley tribute artist Scot Bruce told us a few years back. “The King is alive and well around there.”

Never more so than January, when Scot teams up with fellow Presley-digitator Mike Albert for an Elvis Birthday Bash that comes to the Count Basie Theatre in its ninth annual edition at 8 pm. It’s a Kingly keynote to a weekend of sights, song, story and socializing that follows the tried-and-true template of “Elvi” events past. Bruce opens the show with a hip-shaking evocation of the early-days Elvis;, the stylistic savant who “changed the course of mighty rivers” way more than Superman ever did. He’s followed on the bill by Albert’s spot-on channeling of 1970s Elvis —— he of the rhinestoned jumpsuits, championship belts, oversized shades and jet-black helmet of lacquered hair. Take it here for tickets ($20 – $40) — and flip the record over for more TCB action this weekend.

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RibeyesThe Ribeye Brothers (above) bring their scrappy brand of “detached garage rock” back upside the Dub for a Sunday night see-off to the Year That Was. The annual performance of BLACK NATIVITY, below, finds room at the inn on the Count Basie stage for a Saturday matinee here in 2013. 

Friday, December 27:

blacknativityFAIR HAVEN: “Musicians love playing there,” said our old friend Siegfried “Sigi” Schock one recent night. “They get a great crowd; there’s cheap beer… AND you get paid.”

As it happens, that best-kept-secret venue is not some Flavor of the Month nightspot, but none other than the Knights of Columbus Red Bank Council 3187 in Fair Haven. The hall, at 200 Fair Haven Road, has been the scene for some successful benefit concerts in the past, although it’s also true that the KofC books bands on a consistent basis throughout the year. Tonight, between the hours of 8 and 11:30 pm, Council 3187 hosts singer-guitarist Robert Ender and his combo — familiar from well-received gigs at the Red Bank Guinness Oysterfest, the Dublin House, D’Jeet and other Shore area shindigs. Then on January 24, Sigi and his bandmates in Ziggy Shock keep the partyball rolling into Twenty-Fourteen.

RED BANK: It’s the FINAL weekend at Two River Theater for the remade/ remodeled family musical adaptation A Wind in the Willows Christmas — a production about which one wise hyperlocal stated, “it’s a show that’s succeeded in finding its heart.” Performances continue Friday (12 and 7 pm) and Saturday (12 and 4 pm), with a closing matinee at noon on Sunday. Take it here for tickets (adults $20 – $55; ages 18 and under $25) — and here for our review of the show, on redbankgreen.

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Danu.ColmHenryjpegAbove: Celtic combo Danú brings “An Nollag in Éirinnis” to Santa Basie’s workshop on Friday…while below, young adult novelist Julie Milillo comes home to Middletown for a Saturday discussion of Immortal Sin.

Friday, December 13:

JulieMililloRED BANK: It’s opening weekend for the annual holiday-season family show at Two River Theater, a newly revamped production of the original musical A Wind in the Willows Christmas that mixes Kenneth Grahame’s classic animal characters with “a lot more holiday spirit,” and redesigned costumes that highlight “ears and tails and fur.” Tonight’s 7 p.m. opening is preceded by a special noontime Scout Day preview that allows scout troops a behind-the-scenes look at the production, with games, snacks, photo ops and more. Performances continue at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday; take it here for tickets (adults $20 – $55; ages 18 and under $25) — and keep it tuned to redbankgreen for more on Mr. Toad and friends.

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