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At the keyboards, on the radio, coaching runners or in the back room of one of his nine restaurants, Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone is a marvel of achievement.  (Photo by Suzy Graham. Click to enlarge)


Tim McLoone is a man with a dozen hands, all tackling a dozen sizable tasks at once.

He owns McLoone’s Running Store, his first business, at the Grove in Shrewsbury. He owns nine restaurants, including the Rum Runner in Sea Bright and the recently acquired former CJ Montana in Tinton Falls, rebranded as CJ McLoone’s. He’s a sports announcer for the collegiate basketball games at Newark’s Prudential Center. He just launched his own radio show on December 1. He coaches the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls’ cross-country team.  And at the heart of it all is his philanthropic brain child, an idea that blossomed from a one-time gig into a full-scale traveling circus: Holiday Express.

The non-profit organization is its own Christmas miracle: a massive effort on behalf of roughly 300 adult volunteers, 700 child and teenage volunteers, 100 musicians, and one man who brought together their desires to bring smiles to those in need of a little comfort and joy.

Tonight, Holiday Express makes its much-anticipated annual station stop at the grand Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

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26 Broad 030212Tim McLoone, below, plans to open a yet-to-be-named burger restaurant in the former Murphy Style Grille on Broad Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


timmclooneBy his own admission, and as his wife gently reminds him, Tim McCloone did not give it a lot of thought six weeks ago when he embarked on a plan to open a restaurant in downtown Red Bank.

Among other locations, he’s already got eateries on the boardwalks in Long Branch and Asbury Park; recently took over CJ Montana’s in Tinton Falls, rebranding it as CJ McLoone’s; and is readying new places in Hoboken and Hillsborough.

Oh, and last week, he landed approvals to rebuild McLoone’s Rum Runner, his flagship Sea Bright restaurant, which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

So where does his plan to open a restaurant in the Broad Street space long held by Murphy Style Grille fit in strategically?

“I’m not thinking strategically, or I would not do this,” McLoone told redbankgreen with a laugh Tuesday, one day after he signed a lease for the space. “I’m devoid of strategy.”

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Scenes from the second annual Sunday Showcase at Red Bank Regional High on Sunday, in which dozens of students danced, sang, played and spoke, accompanied by Tim McLoone and the Shirleys.

The event was sponsored by the RBR Education Foundation, which provides grants to fund educational resources and programs for RBR students.

redbankgreen intern Stacie Fanelli was there and shot this video.


mcloonesmallTim McLoone (right), whose Holiday Express big band brings wall-of-sound cheer to those most in need of it this time of year, is about to get some network love.

Brian Williams, the Middletown and former volunteer fireman who now anchors NBC Nightly News, is scheduled to air a segment on McLoone’s charitably-oriented musical endeavors on the program Friday night, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

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Img_3260Tim McLoone at a charity event in 2006. Always in motion, he’s seemingly everywhere this week.


He’s the man who explains, as he tickles the ivories in a cable commercial for the Rum Runner, his Sea Bright restaurant, that “it’s all about the music.”

But he’s also the guy who, while overseeing the myriad details of his latest restaurant opening, tells redbankgreen that “it’s a dangerous thing, predicating any business on entertainment alone.”


Somewhere in there, apparently, is a happy medium. And Little Silver’s Tim McLoone clearly believes he’s found it, yet again, as he dials up both his culinary and entertainment ambitions with the recent launch of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park, his third new dining room in as many years.

But while he continues to build out what is increasingly looking like a restaurant empire, McLoone the entertainer still seems to let pass no opportunity get all musical in front of a live audience himself. In fact, the impresario/keyboardist/vocalist once pegged by the New York Times as “the voice of New Jersey” in part for his work with the widely known feel-good Holiday Express band, is booked tonight through Friday with his ‘summer’ band, The Shirleys. (See details below).

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Musician, sports commentator, restaurateur and marathon man Tim McLoone is featured in today’s New York Times, which calls him “the voice of New Jersey.”

Now, before any Sinatra, Springsteen and Jon Bovi fans blow an artery, it’s not meant to be a serious claim. Instead, the story is a riff on McLoone’s near-ubiquity, whether playing with either of his two bands — Holiday Express and the Shirleys — some 150 nights a year, or working as an announcer at basketball games and marathons.

From the story:

You can hear his dulcet tones in venues as cavernous as the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford and as cozy as a bar at the Jersey Shore. Or outdoors at a band shell at the beach or on the grass at Monmouth Park, between horse races.

The Eastern goldfinch might be the state bird, but Mr. McLoone, who lives in Little Silver with his wife and four children, is doing much of the singing in the Garden State.

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tim-mcloone-112516-1Tim McLoone (seen presiding over the annual Town Lighting concert in downtown Red Bank) conducts the Holiday Express band back into station stop Basie for a pair of public-welcome shows on December 19 and 20 — with an all-aboard for volunteer “warehouse elves” at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls facility.

VIP-level attendees at many Count Basie Theatre events have never been averse to paying as much as several hundred dollars over base ticket price, to enjoy such perks as premium seating, autographed tour souvenirs, and personal meet-and-greet opportunities with the featured attractions. But as far as Tim McLoone and Holiday Express are concerned, there are some ultra-exclusive events that remain off limits at any price.

It isn’t because you’re not cool enough, connected enough, or cash-money enough to score tickets. It’s just that admission to those performances is available to you only if you’re one of the more than 15,000 residents of regional homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places that form the heart of the Holiday Express itinerary — places whose residents are often without any family or friends, and whose sole ray of light is that annual visit by the big jinglebell juggernaut of a band.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the Express regularly detours from its tight timetable at this time each year, to play a double-header of fundraiser shows at station stop Basie; a tradition that continues this coming Monday and Tuesday, December 19 and 20.

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Somehow, over a 50-year career, jazzman Mose Allison has never made it to this part of the Jersey Shore.

But he’ll be here this week, with a stop at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park Thursday night.

Such an auspice does not get glossed over by Red Bank oRBit. We tracked the pianist and singer down for an interview.

Check out what the roadworthy Allison has to say about crappy pianos, respect that falls short of fame, and the numerous kisses sent his way by the likes of the Who, Van Morrison and the Clash.

Only in oRBit, jazz fiends…

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red bank holiday express town lighting 2019red bank holiday express town lighting 2019Crisp weather provided an ideal setting for the unofficial start of the Christmas season in downtown Red Bank Friday night.

With Tim McLoone-led Holiday Express working its musical magic for the 27th time, several thousand kids and kids-at-heart crowded a stretch of Broad Street, singing along and counting down to the light-up of downtown trees. 

Check out redbankgreen‘s photos below to see if you recognize any smiling faces underneath all those fun hats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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red bank nj holiday express light-up concertred bank nj holiday express light-up concertBrisk weather in Red Bank once again made for an ideal Holiday Express start to the Christmas season Friday night.

With the Tim McLoone-led band working its musical magic for the 26th time, several thousand kids and kids-at-heart crowded a stretch of Broad Street, singing along and counting down to the light-up of downtown trees. 

Check out redbankgreen‘s photos below to see if you recognize any smiling faces underneath all those fun hats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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Not everyone at the fourth annual Red Bank Mayor’s Ball wore masks, but there were plenty of attendees adding touches of lacy, sparkly and feathery mystique to event, held Friday night at the Oyster Point Hotel to raise funds for Holiday Express and the borough’s animal welfare efforts.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right, hosted. Among those honored were Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, who performed with the Atlantic Coast Band featuring the Shirleys, and Detour Gallery owner Kenny Schwartz, above right. 

See who you know in redbankgreen’s photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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The most recent Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest, held in April, raised $15,000 for two charities: borough-based Parker Family Health Center and Shrewsbury-based Holiday Express. Jim Scavone, executive director of event host Red Bank RiverCenter, presented checks of $7,500 to each organization at Wednesday’s borough council meeting.

Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, above, played at the festival with his side project, The Shirleys. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


The season of free Sandy Hook Beach Concerts lets fly its first note Wednesday evening, with the Brian Kirk and the Jirks head back to the beach when the free concert series on Sandy Hook returns Wednesday evening.

If you’ve got sand in your (flip-flop) dancing shoes…picnic provisions in your cooler…the salty sea air at your back…and a classic party-starting song in your head, courtesy of a plugged-in professional band…you just might have found yourself at the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series, the 2017 schedule of which serves up its first volley tomorrow evening, June 14.

Going up around 6 p.m. at Beach Area E on the Hook, the long-running Wednesday series of free-for-alls is sponsored by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation, and arrives complete with sandy sitdown seating, all-natural A/C, and complimentary picture-perfect sunsets.

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More than 20 local food purveyors will be present  when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

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The fifth annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade caps a weekend of celebrations of Irish heritage Sunday.

It’s the kind of tradition that’s become something of a Celtic-cottage industry in itself: an event heralded by a full slate of fundraisers, competitions (essays, posters, soda bread), corned beef ‘n cabbage dinners, Irish seisuns, and even a “green tree lighting” ceremony that would give pause to Mr. Claus. All very appropriate to a ritual that’s been part of the fabric of local life for all of… four years.

Wait, what? While it’s true that the Rumson St. Patricks Day Parade is still in short pants,  the annual occurrence has quickly assumed a pivotal place of prominence in community life. And when it returns for a fifth edition this Sunday, it will have cemented its staying power in the hearts of the Greater Red Bank Green, even as those minty Shamrock Shakes come and go.

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bobby_bandiera_and_jon_bon_jovi_at_hope_concert_8_2015Bobby Bandiera, joined here by longtime tourmate Jon Bon Jovi at a past Hope Concert, brings the ninth edition of his all-star benefit show back to the Basie Friday.

donegoodlogoIt’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.

Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.

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cba-holiday-expressTim McLoone leads the Holiday Express musicians in a December 15 appearance at Christian Brothers Academy, where the big band entertained a group of special needs young people.

Press release from Christian Brothers Academy 

On Thursday, December 15, the McKay Gym at Christian Brothers Academy was once again transformed into a rocking holiday event hall, as part of Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express Christmas Party.

“This is the best day of the year,” said Tim Sewnig, Director of CBA’s Campus Ministry, of the event held each year to help young adults with special needs get in the Christmas spirit. The Academy hosts several holiday season fundraisers each year — a winter coat drive, collection for children with pediatric cancer, and Thanksgiving food drive to name a few — but this event has a special place amongst them.

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don-most‘Happy Days’ cast member turned crooner Donny Most, above, joins Rat Pack legend Dean Martin’s daughter Deana, below and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra at the Basie Sunday.

deana-martinJersey guy Francis Albert Sinatra: his birthday is marked every December with merriment and song, and perhaps nowhere more so than here in the heart of downtown Red Bank. And why not, given that we’re home to a hallowed hall christened in memory of one of the Chairman of the Board’s partners in pop perfection: piano player, bandleader and “Kid From Red Bank” Bill “Count” Basie.

Each year our own Joe “Mooche” Muccioli — noted conductor, arranger, scholar and artistic director of the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — fires up the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra for a grand concert that salutes the signature songs and style of Sinatra with the help of some special guest vocalists.  Read More »


santa-ericson-fhSanta Claus — seen at previous appearances in Fair Haven and Red Bank — maintains a busy schedule this weekend, with no less than six tree-lighting ceremonies on throughout the Greater Red Bank Green. (Photos by Susan Ericson, Peter Lindner)

santa-lindner-rbAs has been the tradition for a generation or more, downtown Red Bank got an early jump on the season of lights with its annual Town Lighting event and concert (check out redbankgreen‘s gallery of images from last Friday). But there’s plenty more Greater Green where that came from — and for those of us who simply can’t get enough complimentary hot cocoa, we’ve got the reindeer rundown on a busy weekend of tree lighting ops.

Read on for details on the festive fun in Fair Haven, Little Silverl Middletown, Rumson, Sea Bright and Red Bank.

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112715holidayexp32Tim McLoone, at left above, and the Holiday Express band get some help kicking off another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank at Friday night’s annual Town Lighting concert. Jackie Evancho (below) brings a program of holiday songs and hits to the Count Basie stage. (Photo above by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge) 

jackie_evanchoIf it’s accomplished nothing else during its quarter century of continuous service, Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony has successfully wrested the idea of “Black Friday” from visions of crushing chaos at the mall to one of sing-along harmony in a walkable-wonderland setting of merry commerce and activity.

When the lights are ceremoniously lit in downtown Red Bank for the 24th consecutive year this Friday evening, it will come not a moment too soon for an extended community that really does need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And summoned once more into service like a jinglebell-jukebox Justice League will be Holiday Express, the big traveling winter wall of sound whose founder and skipper Tim McLoone has helped sound the keynote and flip the switch on a generation’s worth of festive occasions in the heart of Red Bank’s downtown diorama.

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townlightingThe Holiday Express band performs at one of its annual Town Lighting public concerts in downtown Red Bank.The humanitarian organization behind the big traveling band is putting out the call for volunteer “warehouse elves” at their Tinton Falls facility.

Every year for the past several decades, Holiday Express founder and co-frontman Tim McLoone leads his big traveling band in a special keynote to the most festive of seasons, as the assembled musicians and singers preside over Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony with a free open-air, public-welcome concert.

The “Black Friday” tradition is merely one of the more visible manifestations of the musical humanitarian organization that performs dozens of concerts at places that exist well below most people’s radar — the nursing homes, rehab centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities and other locales whose audiences are made up of what McLoone calls the “adult orphans” among us.

While the veteran musician, businessman and entrepreneur observes that the Holiday Express orchestra is the aspect of the organization that “makes the most noise,” he’s quick to point out that the energizing engine is backed up by a formidable freight-train of volunteer support personnel, drivers, techies, and donation/gift processing workers at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls warehouse facility (938 Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls). And, effective immediately, the Express is putting out a call for just such a crew of “warehouse elves” — a call that includes, for the first time, an online sign-up.

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Taylortaylor-girls-1aThis weekend, rising-star singer and songwriter Taylor Tote of Tinton Falls will be performing at an unusual venue: the “Headdens Corner” headquarters of Middletown Fire Department Company 1/ Station 8 on Route 35. It’s there that she’ll be shooting a video for her new song “Fighter,” an anthem dedicated to cancer survivors of all ages — and created with 9 year old Hannah Gorsegner, whose 6 year old sister Natalie Grace (pictured below left with Taylor and Hannah) is herself a survivor. Backing Taylor for the occasion will be a chorus of 20 kids (all of whom have waged their own battles with cancer) and an all-star assembly of local firefighters. Take it here for more background on the song and video, slated for release in September (with all profits dedicated to childhood cancer research) — and here for details on a Natalie Grace’s Wish Event fundraiser, scheduled for October 6 at Tim McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch.