RBR VPA Shrews HomesteadersIn January, the Shrewsbury Homesteaders invited students from Red Bank Regional’s VPA to serenade them at their monthly meeting. Pictured are (back row, left to right) Jalen Willis, Ricci Bigelow, piano teacher Camille Thompson, Pieter Lootsma, Joe Ferguson, Griffin Perry, and (front row, left to right): Shrewsbury Homesteader President Carolyn Alt, Victoria White, Jenna Smith, Danielle Wolf, Homesteaders Program Chairperson Jerry Viracola.

 Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Every month, the senior citizen group known as the Shrewsbury Homesteaders meets at the borough’s historic Presbyterian Church to conduct their business. Sometimes they mix a little pleasure with business — and following a speech by Shrewsbury Mayor Don Burden at their most recent meeting in January, the Homesteaders were treated to the instrumental talents and beautiful voices of Red Bank Regional High School and its Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

The classically trained piano and voice major students performed a variety of their repertoire for the Homesteaders. Griffin Perry performed “The Tempest” by Beethoven; Peter Lootsma played “Sonata N. 14 in C Minor” by Mozart, while Joseph Ferguson offered “Prelude and Fugue N. 17 in Aᵇ Major” by J.S. Bach (all three students are from Little Silver). Pianist Jalen Willis of Neptune City showcased the Jazz genre with “Joes’ Fun Mood Blues” by Joe Utterback.

Vocal students, who study under the direction of RBR faculty member Kris Zook, were also showcased at the January event. Opera pieces were performed by hometown Shrewsbury girls Jenna Smith, who sang the soprano aria “Quondo Men Vo” from Puccini’s opera La bohème, and Danielle Wolf, who sang Richard Strauss’ operatic work “Allerseeian.”

Popular pieces interspersed the program with, Victoria White of Union Beach singing her rendition of Fiddler on the Roof’s classic “Far from the Home I Love,” while Ricci Bigelow stirred the audience’s memories with the WWII-era classic “I’ll be Seeing You.”

RBR piano teacher Camille Thompson was grateful for the Homesteader’s invitation, stating that “Our students were delighted to perform for the Homesteader members…the two generations have a lot to offer one another, and we relish the opportunity for our students to perform in their own communities.”

“The Shrewsbury Senior Homesteaders were thrilled with the vocal and piano performances of the Performing Arts Academy students,” said the organization’s president Carolyn Alt, who arranged for the students’ visit. “It was a distinct treat to start off the New Year with a program by such talented local young citizens.”