Gordon_Turk_4_x_6_res72dpiHe’s toured across three continents, appeared at Carnegie Hall, and performed live concert broadcasts for NPR, in addition to many other professional accomplishments and accolades. That said, Monmouth County music lovers are instantly familiar with Gordon Turk as artist in residence and “house organist” at Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium, where his summertime series of free recitals have introduced generations to that local landmark’s spectacular (11,000 pipes strong) Hope-Jones Organ.

This Sunday evening, November 16, Gordon Turk journeys from The Grove to The Hill — Tower Hill Church, aka First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank — to perform on the church’s pipe organ. The first in a new season of Tower Hill Concert Series events, the 7 pm program finds the virtuoso exploring the possibilities of the 3-manual, 52-rank Reuter instrument via selections both sacred and secular.

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First Presbyterian Church on Tower Hill is the setting for the annual Liberty Extravaganza on Sunday, capping an evening of strawberries and dixieland on the patio. 

Up at Tower Hill Church — a local landmark whose musically minded ministry and town-topping perch make it seem that much closer to heaven — the celebrated Concert Series isn’t always about oratorios, chamber pieces or modern choral compositions. On Independence Weekend, there’s plenty of room for crowdpleasing corn-on-the-cob from the likes of George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin and more, when the Liberty Extravaganza makes its 26th annual stand in a burst of red, white and blue.

Going up this Sunday, July 6, the event centers around the traditional concert of all-American patriotic marches, gospel hymns and popular singalong songs, performed by singers from First Presbyterian Church and the greater Red Bank community, joined by vocal soloists and a brass ensemble. A salute to the armed forces pays tribute to the men and women who have served the nation in uniform, and the evening concludes with the raising of the very grand flag (pictured above). Doors open 6:45 pm for the free 7:30 pm concert, with general seating available on a first come, first served basis. An offering will be taken to benefit the Tower Hill Concert Series.

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Violinist James Ehnes keynotes a weekend of classical music in Red Bank, when he appears as Saturday night’s guest soloist with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the Count Basie.  

It’s been called the kind of music that “musicians dream to play and audiences thrill to hear” — and this Saturday night at 8 pm, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra brings its season of concerts at the Count Basie Theatre to a close in spectacular fashion, with a performance of A Hero’s Life by Johann Strauss. With Jacques Lacombe at the podium, it’s paired on a program with another special treat — Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring acclaimed guest soloist James Ehnes. As with all NJSO events, tickets for the 8 pm program ($20 – $85) are available NOT from the Count Basie Theatre box office, but by calling 1.800.ALLEGRO — and classical fans should take note that the borough of Red Bank is ringing this weekend with sublime sounds, both down at the Basie and up on Tower Hill.

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Monmouth-Civic-Chorus.3.16.13Dr. Ryan Brandau (right) and the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus keynote a weekend of words and music at Red Bank’s First Presbyterian Church. 

When Dr. Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus return to First Presbyterian (Tower Hill) Church of Red Bank on Friday night, they’ll be presenting two emotionally forceful, mystically compelling meditations on life and death; one with a local angle — if by local we mean Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The Russian master — who summered at Locust Point on the Navesink after escaping his homeland in the wake of the Revolution — is represented on the 7:30 pm program with an encore MCC presentation of Vespers (aka All Night Vigil), a piece based on the Russian Orthodox Good Friday service. Also on the bill will be Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light) by contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen; a study of “enlightenment of all sorts: intellectual, and, of course, spiritual, artistic.” Tickets ($25 adults, with senior, student and group discounts) can be reserved here or by calling (732)933-9333 — and a weekend of inspirational words and music continues high atop Tower Hill, a place just that much closer to heaven.

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MusicManGroup_718x370The cast of THE MUSIC MAN brings the Broadway evergreen to ‘Two River City’ for five concert-style performances this weekend. Below, Jersey music Jedi master Glen Burtnik leads an all-Shore team of guests to the Basie stage on Saturday, for a SUMMER OF LOVE salute to the sounds of the original Woodstock festival. (Above photo courtesy NJPAC)

Friday, March 14:

glenburtnik-4-kurdzukjpg-907ec69606a7eef9RED BANK: “Seventy Six Trombones.” “Marian the Librarian.” “Til There Was You.” “Ya Got Trouble” (right here in River City). If you’ve seen but one golden-age Broadway classic performed by a class of drama-club kids, a community of earnest amateurs or a summer-stock touring troupe, it was probably The Music Man, the 1957 Tony winner in which traveling con man Professor Harold Hill brings an outlandish scheme — and, in the process, a healthy dose of life, love, laughter and music — to the stodgy folk of a circa-1912 Iowa small town. What you probably haven’t seen is a Music Man brought to you by an African American cast and director — and this weekend, Two River Theater Company offers up five chances to catch a talent-packed production that’s being presented in cahoots with Newark’s NJ Performing Arts Center.

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