Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

Students from Red Bank Regional High School and Middletown High School North were among the vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors  awarded a total of $3000, as part of The Monmouth Civic Chorus scholarship program for 2017. The awards will be presented on June 2 during the “Northern Lights” Chorus concert at St. Mary Church, located at 1 Phalanx Road in Colts Neck.

A $1000 first-place award went to RBR student Ashleigh Dannielle Wolf; a member of the school’s Concert and Chamber choirs, as well as the New Jersey All State Treble and Mixed Choirs, the All State Opera Chorus, and the New Jersey All Shore Chorus, whose scholarship she also won in 2017. A resident of Freehold, Ashleigh plans to attend the Eastman School of Music.

A $700 award went to MHSN student Richard Cardile, who has performed with the school’s Concert and Chamber choirs, as well as the High School North singing group Acapella. A member of the New Jersey All Shore Chorus, New Jersey All State Mixed Chorus and the Middletown Assembly of God Church Choir, Richard plans to attend Montclair State University.

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string concertOn October 22, the day was devoted to string music at Red Bank Regional High School, during a multi school event spotlighting students from RBR, its sending schools of Red Bank Middle School and Markham Place in Little Silver, as well as Middletown’s Bayshore Middle School and High School North. The event was organized by RBR strings teacher Jeffrey Boga, and guest artists who conducted workshops and visited classrooms included baroque musician Laura Apello, guitarist Kevin Kelly, Monmouth Symphony Orchestra member Kathryn Morrison, and Monmouth Conservatory members Irna Kavolsky and Christina Villiagomez. Jennifer Brush of Markham Place Middle School shared the conducting honors with Jeffrey Boga in the afternoon’s performance event.


Calendar1Students from several Middletown elementary schools pose with their contributions to a display of Calendar Project art, now on view at the township’s Arts Center.

Press release from Middletown Arts Center

In honor of the 350th Anniversary of Middletown, students from twelve township elementary schools reproduced their artwork from the annual “My Middletown School Year Calendar Project” on 4’ x 4’ mural panels, currently on view at the Middletown Arts Center (MAC). Having been displayed at the Church Street facility since the Middletown 350 Parade on June 21, the panels will be relocated for display to Croydon Hall on Leonardville Road, in conjunction with Middletown Day on Saturday, September 27.

The “My Middletown School Year Calendar Project” was initiated in 2010 by Linda Kish, who serves on the Board of Trustees of the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council. Participating Middletown elementary schools include Middletown Village, Harmony, Lincroft, Leonardo, New Monmouth, Ocean Avenue, Navesink, Fairview, Bayview, Nutswamp, Port Monmouth and River Plaza Elementary Schools.

The students worked with their art teachers to create pieces depicting places around Middletown Township. The selected entries were then forwarded to the MAC, which made the final selection of art featured in the calendar.

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MAC350building-pics-018-630x419The Middletown Arts Center is the scene for a Saturday afternoon celebration of the township’s big 350th birthday — as well as a night-before Gala party on Friday.

A bit lost, perhaps, amid all the historic hoopla over New Jersey’s 350th birthday is the fact that the Garden State shares an anniversary year with the largest municipality in Monmouth County AND the greater Green — Middletown Township. Officially first settled by the Quakers in 1664 (the year that the English acquired what was formerly called “New Netherland” from the Dutch), its nearly 60 square miles once sprawled even further into areas of what are now Atlantic Highlands, Hazlet, Highlands, Keansburg and other local communities.

That milestone birthday hasn’t gone overlooked in M’town, however, as the township gears up for an official observance that begins Friday evening, June 20, with an Anniversary Gala that takes place both inside and outside the Middletown Arts Center. Going on from 7 to 11 pm, the formal affair features dinner, dancing, fundraising casino tables, “tricky tray” prizes, and a sneak peek at the “50 Year Time Capsule” of Middletown memorabilia that’s scheduled to be interred the next day. Take it here for reservations of last-minute tix ($85 per person; includes two glasses of beer or wine) — and take it around the corner for more public-welcome birthday excitement this weekend.

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DawnandandSarahRed Bank Regional student Sarah Vates (left) accepted a Caring Award from RBR guidance counselor Dawn Kaszuba at a March 20 event sponsored by the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association. The senior from Holmdel won the award for her work in spearheading Cinderella’s Closet, a nonprofit that provides prom clothes for teens from low income households. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Red Bank Regional High School’s Guidance Director Dawn Kaszuba and her peers look forward each year to a special event held at Brookdale Community College. As President of the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association (MCGDA), she has the pleasure of honoring the community service stars in Monmouth County’s high schools. Thirty-four students were so honored on March 20, where a video in their own words signified why each student was selected to receive the MCGDA Caring Award.

The recipients were each chosen by the Guidance Directors in their respective high schools. Kaszuba, who also serves as President of the Monmouth County Guidance Director’s Association, which sponsors the Caring Award, was pleased to present the honor to RBR student Sarah Vates. The senior from Holmdel won the award for her work with Cinderella’s Closet, a charity that provides teenagers with affordable clothing and accessories to attend prom.

Sarah has spearheaded Cinderella’s Closet for several years. Its mission is to bring affordable prom clothes to those who might otherwise not be able to participate in this high school milestone event. She stated in her video, “What makes this activity so special is the look on the girl’s face when she finds that perfect prom dress, or the swagger of the young man when he finds that perfect suit.”

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lacombe_jacques2Above: Conductor Jacques Lacombe carries the baton to the Basie for the year’s first visit by the NJ Symphony Orchestra, with the internationally acclaimed cellist Daniel Müller-Schott along for the ride…while below, Judith Krall-Russo brings the Downton-y delights of the Edwardian Manor to the MTPL. 

Friday, January 10:

krallrussoLINCROFT: You say you’re feeling cabin feverish after being housebound throughout much of our recent epic weather wackiness? You say you’re still unsure about how best to re-assimilate into mainstream society? Fortunately there’s a way to “stay home” while venturing beyond the garden gate, as the 24th annual winter edition of the Jersey Shore Home Show commandeers the Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College for the Shore area’s premier expo of home improvement contractors, vendors and manufacturers. Kicking off Friday between the hours of 4 and 8 pm, the event offers up a strolling smorgasbord of product showcases and demos — a brick ‘n mortar bazaar of everything from spas to sponges, bath stalls to burglar alarms, flagpoles to floor coverings, stonework to solar panels, windows to water treatments, and every helpful/ healthful thing between. Whether you’re a diehard DIY’er or a domestic dilettante, you can get pleasantly lost in this midway of merch and services, checking out the latest super-absorbent shammy or water-repellant shingle. You could even get a back rub — and for the first time, you can get your tickets ($8 adults, $6 seniors, free for age 17 and under) online. The Home Show continues Saturday (11 am – 8 pm) and Sunday (11 am – 5 pm), with free parking in BCC’s parking lots 6 and 7.

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bffCousins Mike Ruane and Erika Rech are gearing up for a round of heavy fundraising for Breast Friends Forever, the non-profit they created as high school freshmen. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


donegoodlogoOctober, 2006 was the start of a rough stretch for the families of Mike Ruane and Erika Rech of Middletown.

Rech’s mother was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Six months later, two more women in the family were diagnosed with the disease.

“We were surrounded by chemo and radiation,” Rech said.

In response, the two raised $1,000 in a local Relay For Life fundraiser, but wanted to do more. So they did some research and a lot of legwork and, by 2007, were founders of a non-profit, Breast Friends Forever.

Perhaps even harder to fathom than the odds of three family members being diagnosed with breast cancer in such a short timeframe: Rech and Ruane were both only 15 years old when they founded the non-profit.

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