Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

JOYOUS, MAJESTIC INDOOR VOICES, PLEASE

A 2010 performance of the Monmouth Civic Chorus, conducted by Mark Shapiro, at the First Presbyterian Church, Red Bank.

It’s a local holiday tradition of which it’s been said, “It won’t be Christmas without it” — and when the voices and instruments of The Monmouth Civic Chorus assemble in Red Bank on the afternoon of December 18, they’ll return once more to a classic oratorio that formed the heart of the very first MCC concert more than 50 years ago, a work that’s become synonymous with the expression of joy and celebration.

When the familiar notes of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s The Messiah soar toward the grand ceiling of the Count Basie Theatre, however, they’ll carry with them an inaudible but distinctly bittersweet undertone — a realization that the 2011 performance of this seasonal signifier will be the final one under the baton of longtime artistic director Mark Shapiro.

The veteran conductor, who announced his departure effective next spring, has in his 20-plus years at the podium helped the borough-based MCC evolve from a dedicated suburban troupe of “weekend warriors” to an acclaimed and confident force that’s appeared at Carnegie Hall and St. Peter’s Basilica, hosted some top-notch guest soloists — and challenged audiences and vocalists alike with new, unfamiliar, even experimental programming that would be the envy of many big-city chorales.

For the Basie concert, of course, it’s all about the comfort and joy of some favorite holiday choral music — and this coming Saturday and Sunday, lovers of harmonious human voices in all their intricacy and splendor can rejoice in the fact that no less than THREE marvelous organizations will be making some beautiful sounds around the greater Green.

SATURDAY: NJ Chamber Singers in Red Bank. Based, like the MCC, in Red Bank and directed by Reid Masters (NY Philharmonic, Westminster Choir), the New Jersey Chamber Singers has for more 30 years made a specialty of works for smaller vocal ensembles, spanning the eras from Renaissance to right now. On December 10, Red Bank’s United Methodist Church makes a fine and intimate setting as the NJCS performs a compilation of Magnificats by composers that range from Johann Sebastian Bach to the still-active Jonathan Willcocks. Reserve tickets ($20 adults) by email at [email protected]. 247 Broad St., Red Bank • 8-9pm/ $20 ($5 students and under 18)

SATURDAY: Shrewsbury Chorale in Tinton Falls. Now in its 55th season, the local vocal organization known as The Shrewsbury Chorale presents its annual Family Holiday Traditions Christmas Pops concert, on the night of December 10 at Luther Memorial Evangelical Church in Tinton Falls. For this all-ages Yuletide program, the 70 member chorus under the direction of Anthony LaGruth has a couple of treats for young audience members — the musical fable “Brother Heinrich’s Christmas” and an arrangement of “The Night Before Christmas” — as well as a sleighload of favorites that range from old-country hymns (“Gesu Bambino,” “The Wassail Song”) to folk spirituals (“Go Tell It On the Mountain”) and Tin Pan Alley (“White Christmas”). A post-concert reception offers up refreshments and a chance to meet the Chorale company, including new accompanist Mark Cook. Tickets are available at the door for $25 general admission, with senior/ student/ child discounts and advance reservations available at the group’s website. 818 Tinton Ave., Tinton Falls • 8pm/ $25 ($20 students and seniors; $10 children under 12)

SUNDAY: Concordia Chorale in Lincroft. Based out of Red Bank’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and now in its eleventh season under the direction of John Balme and Cynthia Springsteen (no relation to The Boss’s “Cynthia“), the Concordia Chorale vocal group visits Middletown United Methodist Church for an adventurous program that includes works by two contemporary composers — “Carols and Lullabies” by Conrad Susa, and “Sing My Soul” by NJ’s own George Gray. Free will offering will be accepted; call (732)495-2066 for more info. 924 Middletown-Lincroft Rd., Lincroft • 5pm/ FREE

Sunday 12/18: Monmouth Civic Chorus in Red Bank. In his notes on the website of The Monmouth Civic Chorus, Mark Shapiro says of Handel’s Messiah, “Whenever it is on the program, I cannot wait to hear the first chords. I know I will be immediately and completely won over by the music’s radiant beauty, its expressive range, its effortless technique, and its ineffable rightness for the voices and instruments.”

The MCC singers and chamber orchestra will perform the “Christmas portion” of The Messiah on December’s Count Basie program, along with a selection of favorite Christmas carols and Hanukah songs, in an afternoon event for which tickets ($25 to $45) are available from the Basie’s online box office.

Shapiro, who also serves as artistic director of Cantori New York, marks his official MCC farewell concert with a performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” in March of 2012. Updates on the next season — as well as the group’s ongoing search for a new artistic director — can be had by watching the pixelated pages of redbankgreen.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
YAPPY TOGETHER
RED BANK: Look for this cutie pie, named Sacramento, at Yappy Hour on Broadwalk Saturday. He's looking for a new home.
YELLOW RAINCOAT DAY
On a rainy May morning, the only golden sight on Broad Street this morning were the matching raincoats of Eileen and her dog Benny.
STOP. JUST STOP.
RED BANK: For those who don't get the meaning of a stop sign, crossing guard Diane Johnson amplifies the message with some colorful outfits. ...
RECORDS SKIP INTO TOWN
RED BANK: Devotees of vinyl records expected to drop needle at Broad and Mechanic Saturday. Here's why.
Feline fortunes on Monmouth Street
Christopher Russell and feline pal Princess take in some fresh air on a warm May night Thursday in the doorway of Gina’s Psychic Bouti ...
GOING UP?
RED BANK: Public Library will be closed Friday for the start of elevator construction. (Click for more.)
TREEBIRTH
RED BANK: Replacement of nine trees gets underway on South Street, where a wholesale removal angered residents last September. (Click for mo ...
RIVERSIDE FLOW
New Jersey Flow Arts brings together jugglers, poi spinners, hoopers and more weekly in Riverside Gardens Park.
Honeybee swarm carted away
Beekeeper Tanya Ptak of Ptak’s Apiary inspects a swarm of honeybees that chose a flower pot in the courtyard of Red Bank Primary Schoo ...
BELOVED POISONED DOG PHOTO SURFACES
   
THREE ON TOUR
RED BANK: Three borough sites will participate in a weekend of self-guided tours of 52 historic locations in Monmouth County May 4 & 5.
VOLUNTEERS GET INTO THE WEEDS
Toting plastic trash bags, 51 volunteers conducted a walking litter cleanup on Red Bank's West Side Saturday.
“IT’S A PARTY AT WAWA!”
You wish you could vibe like Brian, who lives on the other side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He caught redbankgreen’s attention in Red B ...
POPE OKS ORATORY
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: NEW MURAL BRIGHTENS CORNER
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
TULIPS TOGETHER
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...