TRAIN DELIVERS CHEER TO SEA BRIGHT

Hundreds of residents and volunteers crowded in front of the firehouse for Train’s show Wednesday night. Below, Rumson’s Charlotte Nagy with lead singer Pat Monahan earlier in the day. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Nagy never thought the short video documentary she made of Hurricane Sandy walloping Sea Bright and Rumson would draw much attention, let alone that of her favorite rock band.

“I thought it would get maybe a thousand views, and even that was wishful thinking,” she told redbankgreen.

Instead, Charlotte’s 33-minute video has gotten almost 34,000 clicks from views all over the country and beyond. But just as satisfying to the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional junior is that it inspired San Francisco-based band Train to take the the stage on a chilly December night in front of Sea Bright’s makeshift tent city for an “intimate performance” for several hundred residents, first-responders and armed forces personnel.

The crowd was also treated to the annual Christmas Tree lighting before the concert. Below, Mayor Dina Long. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

The video includes homemade pictures, footage of Sea Bright and Rumson before and after the storm and Charlotte’s voice-over narration, as well as some of her favorite music. When she reached out to Train (she’s a “huge fan,” she said) about using one of their songs in the video, the band decided to do her one better and play a benefit concert for those deeply affected by the tragedy, with all proceeds going directly to the Sea Bright Rising charity.

“Its so amazing, and I’m very grateful I could be a part of this,” she said.

Music and entertainment network VH1 was on hand to film and document the event, thanks in part to another Rumson resident, Sean Moran, an executive at MTV Networks.

“After volunteering locally throughout the aftermath, I decided to set up my own independent documentary on the relief process,” Moran said. “And when I heard Charlotte’s story, I was fortunate enough to be able to use some of my connections to have VH1 come and document the event, so everyone can get a glimpse at what’s really becoming an incredible story.”

VH1 plans to air a special, titled “Christmas in Sea Bright,” throughout the day on December 25. It will consist of short vignettes that illustrate Charlotte’s story, Train’s performance, and information on how viewers can aid Sea Bright Rising in rebuilding the town.

After the night kicked off with the annual Christmas tree lighting, Mayor Dina Long and members of the borough council were joined by Grammy nominee and Sea Bright Resident Linda Chorney in a rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” beneath the newly lighted tree.

“We may not be able to come home for Christmas, but we know our hearts will be here,” Long said, after inviting Sea Bright residents to decorate the tree with their own personal items and ornaments.

Chorney then took the stage with another Sea Bright musician, Michael Ghegan, to perform a song they wrote together just days before, titled “Bright Seas Gonna Rise,” an ode to the rebuilding process and beloved beach community.

After an introduction by Long, Train took the stage to thunderous applause, tearing through hits like “Save Me San Francisco,” “Calling All Angels,” and “Meet Virginia,” which frontman Pat Monahan jokingly offered to rename “Meet Dina” in honor of the mayor.

Among the many highlights of Train’s performance was their cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” for which they invited members of the audience – including a U.S. servicewoman, a Sea Bright volunteer firefighter and five-year-old Alexis Shanker – onstage to help sing some of the lyrics.

“You have no idea what you’re singing,” Monahan quipped to the enthusiastic but musically challenged fireman, “but you’re 100 percent into it, and that what I want in a firefighter.”

During “Hey Soul Sister,” one of Train’s biggest and most recent hits, Monahan invited every “little soul sister” up on the stage, before launching into an inspiring performance of “Drops of Jupiter” as a a serviceman waved a large American flag.

The band also presented Chris Wood, owner of Woody’s Ocean Grille and the prime mover behind the tent city and Sea Bright Rising, a signed guitar in honor of his hard work and hospitality towards the band. The band closed out the night with their moving ballad “Brick By Brick.”

“Just because something knocked you down,” Monahan told onlookers, many with tears in their eyes, “doesn’t mean can’t build it back up again.”