MIDDLETOWN TEEN GIVES VOICE TO A CAUSE

bandpiconeAllison LaRochelle, Middletown, and Tristan Garrity, Red Bank, perform with their Jersey Shore rock/blues group Crimson Sky. The two musicians also lend their musical abilities to aid victims of domestic violence, at a monthly yoga class.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

By most measures, Allison LaRochelle is a very accomplished young artist. The vocal major at Red Bank Regional High School‘s Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) has studied voice from the age of seven, and has been an active part of the Count Basie’s Rockit! youth performance program since its inception. Her powerful, Janis-Joplinesque voice has prompted such descriptions as “a mature woman trapped inside a teenager’s body.”

The Middletown senior is also the lead singer and co-songwriter for her locally based band, Crimson Sky. The rock/blues band has recently made it to the final round in the Stone Pony’s Rock-to-the-Top Contest, with the final competition occurring in January of this year.

She is also an excellent student, having earned entrance into the National Music, English and National Honor Societies. The member of RBR’s Chamber Choir recently joined the Harp ensemble, and has also been selected to the prestigious All Shore Choir.

Even with all that on her plate, one of the most rewarding gigs Allison LaRochelle has ever undertaken came about unexpectedly, when she attended a yoga class conducted by Eleonora Zampatti — a unique class known as Ode to the Moon, developed to bring awareness to the often-taboo topic of domestic violence, with class donations benefiting the Monmouth County-based nonprofit 180 Turning Lives Around.

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MIDDLETOWN: ONE LAST PADDLE FOR 2014

Swimming RvrpaddleChris’s River Plaza Marina is the setting for a final seasonal session of canoeing on the Swimming River, this Sunday afternoon.

If there’s something especially bittersweet about a last chance to get the oars in the water, before the boats are hauled out for a too-long winter’s nap, then the glass-half-full types among us would do well to focus on the “sweet” this Sunday, October 12, as the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association offers up one more public-invited session of canoeing on the Swimming River.

Scheduled for the hours between 11 am and 3 pm, the all-ages excursions depart from Chris’ River Plaza Marina at 483 West Front Street, just west of the bridge from Red Bank. And, with most forecasts looking at paddle-friendly weather for Sunday, there’s little excuse not to join the River Rangers in those colorful canoes, for a leisurely paced, priceless perspective on the greater Green’s bucolic backyard.

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MIDDLETOWN, RED BANK: ARTISTS IN MOTION

Commuter artArtist Suzanne Ritger’s mini-watercolors — done in real-time during her morning bus commute to NYC — are a highlight of her exhibit opening Saturday at Middletown Library, while Jon Peters offers up star-spangled examples of American Art (below) at Laurel Tracey Gallery.

LaurelTracyIt’s kind of a cliche for an artist to talk at great length about their “journey,” but in the case of Suzanne Ritger, that journey was a very real way of arriving at a point of inspiration — hurtling through space at 65 mph, and with a busload of fellow passengers along for the ride, whether they realized it or not.

A resident of Red Bank for the past three years, Ritger spent a solid two of those trips around the sun going back and forth from the borough to Manhattan, where her job at a nonprofit agency required her to spend a considerable chunk of her time on a NJ Transit commuter bus. Scenes of that morning journey — hundreds of them; captured in watercolor on postcard-size canvases — form the centerpiece of Are We There Yet?, a solo show of the artist’s work going up on display at Middletown Township Public Library, beginning with a reception this Saturday, October 11.

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MIDDLETOWN PD SEEKS DVRT VOLUNTEERS

Press release from Middletown Township Police Department

The Middletown Township Police Department is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on the Middletown Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT). In affiliation with the locally based nonprofit 180 Turning Lives Around, and with the assistance of the response team volunteers, MPD continues to make available this service to victims of domestic violence during the initial stages of a highly emotional and traumatic experience.

180 will be conducting an intensive 40-hour mandatory training course for Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) volunteers on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, from Tuesday, October 14 through Thursday, November 6. All training sessions are scheduled from 6 to 9pm, and will be held at Wall Township Municipal Complex, 2700 Allaire Road. Applications are currently being accepted.

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MIDDLETOWN: JERSEY-FRESH FILM STOCK

the_station_agentPeter Dinklage co-stars with Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale in THE STATION AGENT, one of a series of “filmed in New Jersey” movies screening for free, Mondays in October at Middletown Library.

The Movie Mondays series of free afternoon film screenings continues apace at Middletown Township Public Library, where the keyword for October is “locally-sourced” — as in filmed (in whole or in part) around the highways, hamlets, ivy-covered institutions or barnacle-encrusted pilings of the Garden State.

It’s a slate of four features that kicks off at 2:30 pm this Monday, October 6, with a quiet, quirky, 2003 comedy-drama from writer-director Tom McCarthy: The Station Agent. A pre-Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage stars as Fin, an introverted train buff who’s inherited an isolated old railroad station in the nowheresville netherland of Newfoundland, NJ. Making great use of its Jersey countryside scenery, the intimate indie   explores the growing bond between reclusive Fin and his fellow misfits Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under) and Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie).

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MIDDLETOWN: THE MARTIANS ARE HERE

war-worlds-broadcast-1938Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 broadcast of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is evoked in a live radio play performance by Raconteur Radio, Saturday afternoon at Middletown Library.

It’s coming up on 76 years since a young upstart barely out of his teens proto-punk’d a nation, with a loose radio adaptation of the H.G. Wells thriller The War of the Worlds. Framed as a breathless breaking-bulletin account of a real-time Martian landing in rural New Jersey, the drama employed tools like fake news, fever-pitch pacing and fear-mongering — back when those tools were shiny and new.

Those who sneer at the thought of Depression-era hayseeds barricading their corn cribs from giant robot attack — and let he who hasn’t fallen for an internet celebrity-death hoax cast the first stone — can put themselves in the shoes of their forebears, when Middletown Township Public Library hosts a live recreation of that infamous Halloween horrorcast. Approximately one hour in length, the performance is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at 2 pm — so as not to send the easily spooked out into the long shadows of a witching-season night.

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NAVESINK: BRIT FARCE, SCOTTISH PLAY

NavArtsStoneChurchThe venerable venues of the Navesink Arts Center (long ago, the original Middletown Library) and the “Old Stone Church” at All Saints are the scene for a new season of community theater this weekend.

Between its rustic old landmarks, the mist-shrouded banks of Many Mind Creek, and the hillside trails of the Hartshorne Woods, the Navesink section of Middletown Township seems a natural draw here in the season of the Great Pumpkin Latte — and among its many autumnal delights is the annual kickoff to a new interlude of intriguing community theater; both from the area’s longest-established stage troupe, as well as from a relative upstart with a history-steeped connection.

It all begins this Friday, October 3, when the Stone Church Players return with a new take on a classic that’s old as the ruddy moors — William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. The allegedly accursed “Scottish Play” has been blamed for as many freak backstage accidents as it has elevated thespian careers — but while the Bard’s blood-drenched drama of murderous ambition and ill-met-by-moonlight madness seems a perfect fit for All Saints’ Memorial (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues), the producers have cooked up a cauldron of surprises for theatergoers.

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MIDDLETOWN: LUNCH BREAK MARKS 31 YEARS

NickDawes BrianKirkNick Dawes of the PBS series ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is the guest auctioneer — and Brian Kirk and the Jirks provide the soundtrack — as Red Bank’s Lunch Break celebrates 31 years of service during the annual Gala at Navesink Country Club.

Press release from Lunch Break Inc.

On Monday, October 20, Lunch Break will host its fifth annual Gala at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. Presented under the theme of “Hope Happens Here,” the evening will celebrate 31 years of dedicated service to the community by the Red Bank-based nonprofit, in addition to honoring several individuals for their steadfast commitment to the Lunch Break mission.

Presentations will be made of the “Norma Todd Service Award” to Paul and Margo Hooker, the “Heart to Hand Award” to Inice Hennessy and Pamela Elam, the “Beacon of Service Award” to Carol Ingaro and Leigh Stoecker of Fringe Marketing, and the “Future Charitable Leaders Award” to Katie and Taylor Gill.

The evening will also include a spirited dinner reception, live and silent auctions, and a 50/50 raffle, with live entertainment provided by Brian Kirk and the Jirks. Special guest will be one of this country’s most experienced charity auctioneers — Nick Dawes, Vice President of Special Collections for Heritage Auctions in New York, and a familiar figure to millions through his expert appraisals on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow since the first season in 1996.

All net proceeds from the Hope Happens Here Gala will directly support Lunch Break’s critical programs.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the impact of the lingering economic downturn on the hungry and working poor among us.  In fact, the New Jersey Poverty Research Institute concludes in a 2013 report that 25 percent of New Jersey residents are living in poverty.  No wonder the demand for Lunch Break’s services has grown dramatically — and, to respond to that increasing demand and better serve the community, in March Lunch Break launched “Step Up To The Plate,” its $5 million capital campaign to enlarge the size and increase the functionality of its facility.

When the two-story addition is completed, the seating capacity in the dining room will be nearly doubled and there will be a new, larger, and more functional kitchen to serve the growing number of clients.  The expansion will also provide space for a clothing “boutique,” a “choice food pantry,” reception and waiting areas, private social service and intake offices, a donation drop-off area, administrative offices, a conference and meeting room, data stations, a maintenance office, and restrooms.

Gwendolyn Love, Executive Director of Lunch Break, said at the March groundbreaking for the updated facilty that, “Thirty-one years ago Lunch Break began serving hot lunches to Red Bank residents. Today our reach has expanded and we serve our most vulnerable neighbors who come from every town in Monmouth County, and from many in Ocean County.

“Last year, we served over 61,000 hot meals. Our food pantry provides, on average, groceries to over 750 families every month.   Our volunteers deliver meals to the homebound six days a week.  In addition, we have a clothing distribution center that includes our Suited for Success Program that provides business attire for job interviewees.  We also have an Adopt-a-Family holiday gift program, a Children’s Cooking Class, and a Gardener’s Market every Tuesday morning, year round, that distributes donated fresh produce.  We offer internet services, employment information, and social, as well as health and wellness resources.”

All this, and more, is provided under the direction of the Board of Trustees along with Mrs. Love, her small staff, and an army of more than 2,000 devoted volunteers, and is supported through the generosity of residents and many organizations and businesses throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.   Hope happens here.  So, please gather your friends and family and join Lunch Break at their Gala to celebrate 31 years of dedicated service.  Our communities need Lunch Break and Lunch Break needs your support.

Tickets for the Hope Happens Here Gala are $160 and may be purchased online here. For additional information,  please call Petra Vanderven at 732-747-8577, (732)747-8577, extension 3106, or e-mail her at pvanderven@lunchbreak.org.

MIDDLETOWN 350: WITH A BANG AND A BEATLE

mtown-day-500x375That’s one giant step for Middletown, as the Moon-bounces are inflated for a Middletown Day celebration that caps the township’s 350th birthday year. (File photo by Dustin Racioppi)

When the annual Middletown Day celebration returns to the township’s Croydon Hall facility on Leonardville Road this Saturday, September 27, it will arrive with the tried and true trappings: touch-a-truck and petting zoo; food and craft vendors; live rock music and rock-climb walls; hayrides and flea market; soccer shoot-outs and bounce-house activities for the kiddies.

What makes the 2014 edition of the local-favorite fall festival truly special is that it represents the final event in the township’s Middletown 350 observance, a year-long slate of special events that began at the 2013 edition of Middletown Day — reinforcing the fact that Monmouth County’s largest municipality can trace its birthday back as far as the entire State of New Jersey.

Adding extra excitement to the 2014 event will be a couple of extended codas to the rain-or-shine, noon to 6 pm activities. A free concert by The Beatlemania Stage Show — featuring Middletown’s own Lucien Nocelli as John — will take place between 6 and 7:30 pm on the football field of the Croydon complex, HQ of the township’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Middletown 350 is given a slam-bang sendoff with a fireworks display at 7:30 — probably the last pyrotechnics show you’ll see this season — sponsored by Ice World.

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RED BANK, MIDDLETOWN: CLASSICAL DUETS

Calmes KoharskiKeith Calmes and carry on: the classical guitarist teams with flautist Marjorie Koharski for a free public recital at Middletown Library, on Monday evening.

Classical music connoisseurs in and around Red Bank have long known that the borough has stood as the county’s capital for quality orchestral, chamber and choral concert offerings — all of it accessible minus the gown-and-tux price tags of the big-city halls and theaters. A big reason for that is the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music, whose monthly series of weekend afternoon concerts (in the casual and quite convenient setting of their downtown White Street all-purpose room) resumes on Sunday, September 21, with a recital of rare pedigree.

Going up at 4 pm and presented free of charge, the concert is a mother-son duet featuring pianist Nina Kogan and violinist Daniel Miklis — respectively the daughter and the grandson of legendary violinists Leonid Kogan and Elizaveta Gilels. Kogan often performed with her Ukrainian-born father — one of the Soviet Union’s most celebrated international musical ambassadors — and she extends the family business into a new generation with this program of chamber selections with her son. Bring a free-will donation to the door — and take it around the corner for more.

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RED BANK & MIDDLETOWN: LIBRARY VOICES

rbpl-book-saleAfter a preview party Friday evening, the two-day Red Bank Public Library book sale gets underway Saturday morning. Below, ‘The City and the Shore’ come alive as graphic artist Mike Quon open an exhibit of his works at Middletown Library.

QuonSeptember means time for a shout-out to the Red Bank Public Library — and, rather than shushing some of the more enthusiastic shouters, the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library are encouraging all citizens of the greater Green to come out to support this community resource during a used book sale that stands among the area’s most anticipated such annual events.

Much more than just a casual card-table-and-cashbox affair, the sale kicks off with a special preview party at the library on Friday evening, when, for an admission charge of $25 (free to member Friends), attendees can enjoy first dibs on the selection of books, CDs, DVDs and more — as well as wine, appetizers, raffles and a performance by Red Bank’s own jazz legend trio, the Al Wright Unit.

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‘MAC’ THE CALENDAR FOR KIDS’ ART PROJECT

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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PLAY BALL FOR KYLE’S KROWD, IN M’TOWN

On Sunday, October 12, a co-ed softball tournament  will be hosted by Middletown-based Kyle’s Krowd, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to raise awareness and funds for those individuals and their families afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, The organization was named after Middletown resident Kyle James Smith, a 14 year old boy who was born with severe cerebral palsy.

The games will be played beginning at 9 am, at various fields around Middletown Township. There are a few spots available for teams who wish to participate.  A portion of the proceeds of the funds raised from the tournament will go to further research to discover new treatments for those afflicted with cerebral palsy.

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M’TOWN LIONS HOST AUTO SHOW, MOTO MEET

1910 T Shrews McKennySome fabulous flivvers (like this wood-bodied 1910 Ford Model T) have been featured in past editions of the annual Auto Show and Motorcycle Meet at Middletown Shopping Center. The ninth annual event chugs into the Route 35 plaza on Saturday, October 11.

Press release from Middletown Lions Club

For the ninth consecutive year, the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association (NJBCA) and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation will co-host a charitable and family-friendly Auto Show and Motorcycle Meet in the parking lot of Middletown Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Route 35 and New Monmouth Road. Scheduled for the hours of 2 to 6 pm on Saturday, October 11 (with a rain date of Sunday, October 12), the event which will help fund programs for the blind and visually-impaired and other sight-related initiatives.

Members of the public are invited to attend the free afternoon of activities which will feature show cars of all types, motorcycles, vendors, and entertainment for adults and children. All classes of vehicles — including classic, stock, custom, antique, hot rod, collector, imports, luxury, muscle, and trucks — are encouraged to enter, in addition to all classes of motorcycles. All event proceeds will support the charitable programs and initiatives of both NJBCA and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation.

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NAVESINK: SUDDENLY, THIS SUMMER

Tennessee-Williams-631.jpg__800x600_q85_cropThe short plays of the late great Tennessee Williams are explored by the Monmouth Players, in a special two-weekend presentation at the troupe’s Navesink Arts Center homestage.

When last we looked in on the venerable Monmouth Players, the area’s longest-running stage troupe was making its frankly mind-boggling sixtieth season all about the Neil Simon — but, feeling energized after completing the inaugural season at the reborn and rebranded Navesink Arts Center, the company under the stewardship of Lori and Paul Renick added a pair of surprise bonus features to the normally dormant summer season. For the second production of the summertime, the Players put aside the Simon for a serious look at one of the Twentieth Century’s most celebrated playwrights, Tennessee Williams.

The author known best for such classics of the American stage as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was also a prolific writer of short-form dramas throughout his long career — two of them, Suddenly Last Summer and This Property is Condemned — are better known than many of his full-length works. For the next two Saturdays and Sundays (August 16, 17, 23 and 24),  the Monmouth Players host An Evening of Tennessee Williams’ One Acts, with the Saturday performances going up at 8:15 pm, and the Sunday matinees at 2 pm.

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MIDDLETOWN: DINOSAURS OF ROCK RETURN

Walter C Loren FisherPhotographer, naturalist and New Jersey history expert Walter Choroszewski goes looking for fossils — and finds more than one kind of classic rock — when he visits the Middletown Library on Wednesday evening. (photo by Loren Fisher)

It’s an epic saga, etched in rock, that begins with the dinosaurs — and arrives full circle, in a manner of speaking, at the classic-rock era of the Jersey Shore. It’s the history of the Garden State, told as you’ve probably never heard it before, by Walter Choroszewski. When the photographer, author and NJ historian visits Middletown Township Public Library on Wednesday, July 30, he’ll be treating young listeners of ages 6 and up to a “New Jersey Rocks!” presentation that spans the big “Freeze-Out” of the Ice Age, and stands in the footprints of the giants who walked the jungleland of JurAsbury Park.

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CLASS ACTS, FROM ALL AROUND THE GREEN

Young people from all over the greater Red Bank Green were among the many thousands of Class of 2014 members who received their degrees in May and June — and, with all appropriate pomp and circumstance, here’s a this-just-in roundup of the mortarboarded movers and shakers.

STUDENTS FROM RED BANK

Joseph Ahlemeyer, Master of Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Jessica Asfar, made Dean’s List at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Claire Donohue, Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

Lauren Marron, graduated Cum Laude with Bachelor of Science in Education/ Special Education/Visual Impairment/Pre-K to Grade 4 from Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA.

Anwar Roberts, made Dean’s List at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Danielle Sokol, Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI.

Robert Sweet, Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Andrew Terranova, graduated Cum Laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI.

Continue reading for a list of grads from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Middletown, Rumson, and Shrewsbury.

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MIDDLETOWN: LOST IN AUSTENLAND

Persuasion 1995 screencaptureCiaran Hinds and Amanda Root star in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of PERSUASION, one of four Jane Austen-themed films screening Mondays in July at Middletown Library.

Nothing says “summertime” like the stifling manor homes and constricting social mores of Regency era, country-life England. But the classic romantic novels of Jane Austen — dating as they do from an interlude when ladies temporary lost those whalebone corsets — have perennially been a breath of fresh air on summer reading lists, so it’s only proper that Middletown Township Public Library dedicates the Movie Monday month of July to a slate of films adapted from (or otherwise inspired by) the increasingly popular author whose 240th birthday will be marked next year.

It’s a schedule that begins on the afternoon of July 7, when MTPL hosts a screening of Persuasion, the 1995 BBC production of Austen’s posthumously published final completed work. Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds star in the made-for-BBC production, a feature that was noticed for its somewhat grittier, more realistic take on the “prettier” Austen adaptations in circulation around that same time. The film unspools at 2:30 pm inside the climate controlled Community Room, where the rest of the Monday series follows in short order.

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MIDDLETOWN: THERE’S JOY IN MUDVILLE

international-mud-dayMark your calendars: it’s another opportunity to Dress for Mess, when International Mud Day is observed in style at Middletown Library this Monday.

It started in Australia, just a few years ago — when school-age kids from the Land Down Under collected a mass donation of new clothes, soap and towels to Nepalese orphans. As the story goes, the children of both countries marked their connection with “a Dress for Mess celebration, enjoying art, science, and games involving mud, sand, and more.”

Fast forward to 2014, and International Mud Day is what we in the USA call A Thing — a “celebration of the joys of childhood, and a recognizing that children around the world have many of the same needs.” It’s a celebration that comes to the greater Green for the first time, when Middletown Township Public Library invites kids of all ages to Dress for Mess on the officially designated date of “Mudday,” June 30.

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NAVESINK: A STONE CHURCH ‘SUPERSTAR’

allsaintsThe Stone Church Players wrap up their production of the Webber-Rice rock opera JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, with two more performances this weekend.

It wasn’t all so very long ago that Jesus Christ Superstar was denounced from pulpits across the Western world, branded as everything from “a witches’ brew” to “an utter blasphemy” — in fact, more than 40 years from its first appearance as a record album, the Webber-Rice rock opera still manages to ruffle the odd feather of the faithful, with its portrayal of Jesus as a quite-human figure racked by self-doubt. But the sandal-songfest has also served to spread the gospel to new generations more effectively than a hundred thousand snoozeworthy sermons — and it’s not uncommon these days to see earnest community productions going up inside houses of worship, as with the musical’s current local revival by the Stone Church Players.

When the Players reconvene at All Saints’ Memorial Church (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues) this weekend, they’ll be presenting the final performances of the Michael Hazlett-directed show that opened on June 20, and continues through June 29.

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MORE DEGREES, HONORS FOR AREA STUDENTS

It’s Grad Season at colleges and universities across the country, and young people from all over the greater Red Bank Green are among the many thousands of Class of 2014 members who received their degrees in May and June.

STUDENTS FROM RED BANK

Allyson Amato, graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

Sarah Babcock, graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Individualized Study from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

Dennis Chambers, degree in Theater Studies from the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.

Lauren Fisher, Certificate of Advanced Study from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Alexander Gallo, graduated with a degree from Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Erin Gaynor, graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Hartford in Hartford, CT.

Kristine Elizabeth Harjes, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics-Mathematics from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Harjes also is the recipient of The Alton Dennis Law Award for Excellence in Economics.

Nicole Mastrodomenico, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio and East Asian Studies from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.

Emily Nolan, graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

Eric Poandl, degree in Television and Radio from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.

Mark Russoniello, Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, ME.

Gregory Salvaggio, graduated with a degree from Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Continue reading for a list of grads from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Middletown, Rumson, and Shrewsbury.

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LITTLE SILVER, M’TOWN: LIBRARY LEGENDS

eileen-moon-021814-500x375LEGENDARY LOCALS OF RED BANK author Eileen Moon visits the Little Silver Library on Monday evening…while Next Stage Ensemble brings a little Shakespeare to the Middletown Township biblio.

There’s the pioneering African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune, whose historic home is currently the subject of an intensive rescue effort. Industrialist Sigmund Eisner, whose legacy includes a public library, a Galleria, and a former chairman of the Disney entertainment empire. Trailblazing attorney Florence Forgotson Adams, the father-and-son Drs. James Parker, the Dorns, the Irwins — and famed illustrator James Avati, the “Rembrandt of the Paperbacks” remembered in a 2011 feature that appeared here on redbankgreen.

They are all among the Legendary Locals of Red Bank profiled by veteran newspaperwoman Eileen Moon in her new book, an entry in the series from Arcadia Publishing that the author will discuss in a free Monday night reading/ signing appearance at Little Silver Public Library. Going up at 7 pm, it’s part of a busy itinerary by the equally legendary reporter and editor, who in a recent feature on redbankgreen described her concept of a Legendary Local thusly: “It takes a strong personality, and a vision, and a risk-taker sometimes, to change what is into some new evolution of that.”

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RBR APPOINTS PAGANO INTERIM SUPER

TomPaganoThe Red Bank Regional School District has appointed Thomas Pagano of Interlaken as Interim Superintendent, effective July 1, 2014.

Press release from Red Bank Regional School District

At its June 18 meeting, the Red Bank Regional (RBR) Board of Education appointed Thomas Pagano of Interlaken as the district’s interim superintendent. His employment with the district (on a part-time basis) will begin on July 1, when Superintendent Dr. Jim Stefankiewicz leaves RBR.

Last month, the Red Bank Regional Board of Education regretfully accepted the resignation of Dr. Jim Stefankiewicz, who will assume that position in his hometown of Ocean Township.

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MIDDLETOWN: A SWEET 350 PARTY ‘N PARADE

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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MIDDLETOWN: BAD BOY MAKES GOOD

MikeMarinoNJ’s Bad Boy of Comedy Mike Marino is strictly family-friendly and ready to serve, as High School North hosts a fundraiser night of comedy for a township teen. 

They call him “New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy,” as he’s been known to work a little “blue” in the service of a laugh — but on Friday evening, June 13, Mike Marino shows his true colors as one of the good guys, when he headlines a family-friendly night of standup at Middletown High School North.

Billed as “Laugh 4 a Cause,” the 7:30 pm event finds the veteran entertainer — whose recent TV pilot project Reconstructing Jersey shot scenes in several Monmouth County locations — raising funds for Chris Falzone, a township teen currently being treated for Non Hodgkins Mature B Cell Lymphoma, a form of bone cancer.

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