RED BANK: CHORUS BRINGS LOVE UP THE HILL

Ryan Brandau, right, and the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus return to Red Bank’s First Presbyterian Church for a special ‘love’ session this Sunday afternoon. 

Sure, Valentine’s Day was nearly two weeks ago; this old world has taken more than a couple of turns since then, and most of us have long since restocked our inner seasonal aisles with leprechaun cutouts and marshmallow Peeps.

But to Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus, the season of Cupid isn’t over until February sighs its last, so when the venerable vocal organization returns to First Presbyterian (Tower Hill) Church of Red Bank this Sunday afternoon, it’ll serve up sounds that are “sure to lift and inspire… the perfect way to extend the spirit of Valentine’s Day.”

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RED BANK: CHORUS SEEKING NEW VOICES

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

Experienced singers are invited to audition for the award-winning Monmouth Civic Chorus by appointment on Wednesday evenings beginning September 7. Auditions are opened to all members of the community ages 16 and up.  All voice parts are welcome to audition; however, the chorus is especially seeking tenors, baritones and basses to add to its impressive ensemble.

Interested singers are encouraged to attend a rehearsal of the award-winning MCC, a fun community of like-minded singers who are dedicated to the highest standards of artistic excellence. Auditions and rehearsals are held at Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland Street.

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RED BANK: CHORUS SEEKING SUMMER SINGERS

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

On Wednesday, August 17, the Monmouth Civic Chorus invites singers to a Summer Sing session, inside the air-conditioned United Methodist Church at 247 Broad Street in Red Bank.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Ryan James Brandau will lead the singers in three classics of choral music: “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Fauré, and “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Duruflé. The admission fee of $10 (students $5) at the door includes refreshments and score loan. No advance reservations are needed.

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RED BANK: TWO NIGHTS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

Ron LevyPiano virtuoso Ron Levy (above) guests with the Monmouth Symphony in a season-capping event, Saturday night at the Count Basie. Up on Tower Hill, baritone Gerald Metz (below) is among the vocal artists teaming up in HEAVENLY HARMONY for the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

Gerald Metz

There are surely worse dilemmas to be had in this world; more difficult choices to be made. But for local lovers of the classical repertory, this weekend poses quite the pickle, with two Red Bank venues hosting must-see events presented by a couple of the best-loved borough-based performing arts organizations.

It begins up on Tower Hill this Friday, when the Monmouth Civic Chorus continues its current season at First Presbyterian Church with a display of Heavenly Harmony that draws from the “visionary and triumphant” work of some choral music masters.

Then, on Saturday, down on Monmouth Street, the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra concludes another successful season at the Count Basie Theatre with an eclectic concert highlighted by an audience favorite that’s been called the ultimate musical marital aid and audio aphrodisiac. Read More »

RED BANK: SING OUT WITH BRIAN AND RYAN

Brian KirkBrian Kirk and the Jirks (above) play Santa for Lunch Break, in a Saturday night benefit at the Basie…while Dr. Ryan Brandau (below) and the Monmouth Civic Chorus premiere a new Christmas choral arrangement on that Sunday stage. 

director-brandauThey may seem hard to reconcile musically, in their oil-and-water realms of choral-canon classics and party-starting pop hits. But, each in their own signature manner, the organizations known as Brian Kirk & the Jirks and The Monmouth Civic Chorus have earned a place in the hearts of their fervent followers here on the greater Red Bank green. And, every year at this time, the Jersey Shore’s premier cover band and the award-winning vocal ensemble give back to the community, with a couple of highly anticipated events at that Capital of Christmas cheer — the Count Basie Theatre.

The final weekend of the Yuletide countdown kicks off on Saturday, December 19, when cap’n Kirk and his enterprising bandmates suit up and play Santa for Lunch Break, the borough-based community resource that provides year-round meals (and a whole lot more) to Red Bank families and residents of all ages. A sequel to last year’s successful big-beat benefit (and the fourth such “Santa for…” soiree that Kirk and company have staged since 2012), the “three-hour jingle balling of a show” commences at 8 pm with the chief Jirk (whose summertime “Dunesday” beach-bash benefits have been a Shore tradition unto themselves) promising a mix of danceable tunes, “Kirky Style” comedy and special musical guests, in a variety presentation that’s sponsored by “generous anonymous donors” and dedicated in full to funding the ongoing mission of Lunch Break’s volunteers, and their ever-expanding range of charitable, educational and support services for our community neighbors. Take it here for tickets ($35 – $75); bring a non-perishable food item for Lunch Break’s holiday food drive (or make a separate cash donation here) — and read on for more.

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RED BANK: MCC ANNOUNCES NEW SEASON

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

director-brandauThe Monmouth Civic Chorus, the award-winning vocal ensemble under the artistic direction of Dr. Ryan James Brandau (pictured), has announced a 2015-2016 season that spotlights traditional Christmas favorites in December, and classical gems in March and May. Subscribers are guaranteed the best seats and best prices for all three concerts.

The sounds of the Yuletide season will fill the air when the chorus and orchestra premiere a new Christmas Suite by Dr. Brandau, featuring his own arrangements of holiday favorites. Classical selections from Handel’s beloved Messiah (a long-running yearly gift to the Red Bank community from the MCC) and Bach’s magnificent Mass in B Minor will round out the program. The concert, titled Joy to the World, is scheduled for 4 pm on Sunday, December 20 at the Count Basie Theatre. For many music lovers, it won’t be Christmas without it — and reservations can be made here for premium seating ($45 adult, $40 senior, $35 groups of 10 or more, $10 student) or for regular seating ($30 adult, $27 senior, $25 group, $5 student).

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RED BANK: MCC ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIPS

For more than 50 years, the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus has brought a selection of the world’s finest choral music classics to area audiences, at venues that include the Count Basie Theatre and Tower Hill Church. Recently the Red Bank-based arts organization announced the awarding of a total of $,3000 to the winners of its 2015 scholarships for vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors.

First Place went to Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant Borough, who was awarded $2,000. Second Place was shared by Mary Roberts of Milford and Selena Siri of Parlin, who were each awarded $500. This year’s scholarship judges were Monmouth Civic Chorus Artistic Director Dr. Ryan Brandau; Director Emeritus William R. Shoppell, Jr.; Marina Alexander, Musical Director of the Arcadian Chorale; and Reid Masters, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Chamber Singers. The accompanists were Neil F. Brown, Director of Music Ministries, First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank; and Allan Robinson, Organist and Choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church, Red Bank.

Since 1970, the Monmouth Civic Chorus has awarded more than $55,000 in scholarships to New Jersey high school seniors of outstanding vocal promise. To learn more or to donate to the scholarship fund, visit the MCC website — and read on for news about this year’s upcoming fundraiser gala event for the annual scholarships.

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RED BANK, MIDDLETOWN: JOYFUL NOISES

BrandauMuenchDr. Ryan Brandau leads the Monmouth Civic Chorus in song, Sunday at Tower Hill Church — while pianist Julia Muench salutes her immigrant heritage in a free Monday evening concert at Middletown Library. 

Vibrant vocal music in Hebrew and Latin — and a musical history lesson accented with the German immigrant experience in America — are on tap in the days and nights to come, courtesy of some of the area’s premier performers.

Up at Tower Hill Church — aka First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank — Dr. Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus inaugurate their 2015 slate of public-welcome concerts with A Joyful Noise this Sunday.

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AROUND THE GREEN: VOICES HEARD ON HIGH

MCC ChrisMillerAbove: Dr. Ryan Brandau leads the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus in the annual Christmas program at the Count Basie Theatre…while the New Jersey Chamber Singers (right) visit Red Bank’s United Methodist Church in one of several choral concerts around the greater Green this weekend. (Top photo by Chris Miller)

NJCSIt’s been said that it just wouldn’t be the Yuletide season in Red Bank without the yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah by the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus — and while true, it’s hardly the only occasion for Hallelujahs from fans of choral music this weekend. The fact is, Saturday and Sunday offer not one but four separate choir concerts in and around Red Bank, each a labor of love from the area’s most dedicated vocal artists.

It begins on Saturday evening, December 6, with the annual showcase of Holiday Favorites by Shrewsbury Chorale, in the beautiful setting of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church (7 Lincoln Avenue in Rumson). It’s a selection of seasonal signatures from the venerable vocal organization, now in its 58th season and directed by Maestro Anthony La Gruth. Tickets, available at the door, are priced at $25 for adults; $20 for seniors and students; $10 for children under 12. For more information, or to reserve discounted advance tickets, call (732)513-8413 — and read on for more.

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RED BANK: MCC CELEBRATES MCM

Brandau KovalskyMonmouth Conservatory of Music exec director Vladislav Kovalsky (right) is the special guest, as Dr. Ryan Brandau and the Monmouth Civic Chorus  celebrate MCM’s golden anniversary with a Saturday afternoon concert on Tower Hill.

The name of Felix Molzer, while perhaps not a household word in millennial Red Bank, is a significant one in the cultural history of a little borough that’s cast a giant profile on the area’s music scene. It was the European-born educator, composer and arranger — a former conductor of the Vienna Boys Choir in his native Austria — who established what became the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music upon relocating to the Red Bank green in the early 1960s. Before retiring as the MCM’s director in 1992, Molzer, who passed away in 2005 at age 83, also served as director of another source of local pride among serious music buffs: the venerable Monmouth Civic Chorus.

This Saturday afternoon, November 8, the MCC and its assembled voices (now under the baton of Dr. Ryan Brandau) pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Conservatory’s founding, in a concert dedicated to Molzer’s memory — and featuring the guest talents of his successor, the internationally renowned pianist Vladislav Kovalsky.

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LINCROFT: MANY CALLED, SUMMER SINGING

Monmouth-Civic-Chorus.3.16.13Dr. Ryan Brandau (right) and the Monmouth Civic Chorus invite the public to lend their voices to a performance of Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH on August 13 — one of two such Summer Sing events going on at the edges of the Green.

Summer loves may be fleeting — but for two highly acclaimed local choral ensembles, the year-round passion for making music doesn’t take a breather during the season of itchy tuxedos and sweat-stippled score sheets. Within one seven-day interlude, music lovers are invited to step out from the audience and join the assembled voices of their favorite choirs, in a fun seasonal custom known as the Summer Sing.

The democratic look into the magic of music-making starts Wednesday evening, August 13, when Dr. Ryan Brandau and the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus host an opportunity to participate in a performance of a choral masterwork last performed by the MCC in 2000 — Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the classic cantata that illuminates the story of the Biblical prophet with some of the  composer’s best-known vocal passages. It takes place at 7:30 pm, just off the edge of the greater Red Bank Green (at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road in Holmdel). No reservations are required, and the admission fee of $5 includes refreshments and loan of the score.

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