By JOHN T. WARD
RiverFest may be off the calendar, but there will be at least one night of music in Red Bank’s Marine Park this summer.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra plans to christen the newly refurbished park with a free, open-air concert in July.
Red Bank RiverCenter is hosting the concert, slated for Sunday, July 2, at 8 p.m. The borough council approved the event Wednesday night.
The Eastern Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the annual three-day music and food festival known as RiverFest, pulled the plug on this year’s edition in April over costs imposed by the borough.
RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone told redbankgreen that officials of the downtown promotion agency were looking for “a classic, family-oriented celebration” to bring to town around the Fourth of July holiday.
“I was aware that the NJSO started a summer series where they traveled to different towns,” he said. “We thought the symphony was a perfect match for Red Bank’s cultural/artistic life, and would be awesome when paired with the beautiful setting of the Navesink River and Marine Park. ”
Areas of the park are now under construction, with the creation of new restrooms on what was once a shuffleboard court site, as well as new lighting fixtures. Councilman Ed Zipprich said recently that the work is expected to be completed by June 1.
Scavone said the orchestra comes with a truck that converts into a stage with lighting and sound rigged up in advance.
“The plan is to park the truck on the western edge of the parking lot, in such a way that people can sit on the hill and enjoy the music,” he said. Music lovers should bring lawn chairs or blankets and set up on the grassy slope.
According to the orchestra website, the concert, to be conducted by Sameer Patel, will feature a musical “journey through the heartland with selections from John Williams’ moving to Lincoln, Copland’s iconic Rodeo, favorites from Beauty and the Beast.
RiverCenter is hoping to work out an arrangement to move the concert at the Count Basie Theatre in the event of rain, he said.
Meantime, the symphony is scheduled to perform at the Basie Saturday night, with Xian Zhang conducting Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, also known as the “Great,” as well as selections from Mozart and Sibelius.