RED BANK: MCC AWARDS VOCAL SCHOLARSHIPS

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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RED BANK: CHORUS HOSTS AUDITIONS, GALA

Dr. Ryan Brandau directs members of the Monmouth Civic Chorus during a past concert event. The Red Bank-based arts organization will be conducting scholarship auditions for high school seniors, and hosting its annual gala fundraiser, both on April 29.

Press releases from Monmouth Civic Chorus

A set of auditions for prospective scholarship applicants — and a gala fundraising dinner/auction with a Broadway theme — add up to a busy April 29 for the Monmouth Civic Chorus, the borough-based vocal organization that performed its most recent concert at Red Bank’s Tower Hill Church.

More than $2500 in scholarship funds will be awarded by the MCC this year to vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors who plan to pursue higher education. The Chorus now under the direction of Dr. Ryan Brandau will be conducting auditions by appointment on April 29, with an application deadline of the preceding Saturday, April 22.

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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, MIDDLETOWN: JOY TO THE EARS

shrews-chorale-christ-episcopalNeil F. Brown conducts the Shrewsbury Chorale, above, and Ryan Brandau, below, leads the Monmouth Civic Chorus, as the local vocal organizations present their annual Christmas concerts this Sunday.

director-brandauBlessed as it is with a well-above-average amount of choral voice talent — and numerous, well-established outlets for those voices to be heard — the Greater Red Bank Green is indisputably the area’s epicenter of classic carols and cantatas of Christmas.

And, with the New Jersey Chamber Singers and Tower Hill Choir having had their glorious say this past weekend, two more long-running organizations are on deck to herald the season in their own inimitable way, at a pair of concurrent concert events taking place this Sunday.

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RED BANK: CRAFTS, CAROLS, COLLECTIONS

two-river-crafting-carolingIn the spirit of Christmas (and in conjunction with the current production of THE LION IN WINTER), Two River Theater held an evening of crafting, caroling and holiday treats this past weekend, led by local event decorating company #TableSettingIsMyLife. Guests of all ages learned how to make their own Christmas cracker crafts (an English tradition), while the Monmouth Civic Chorus delighted the crafters with festive holiday songs throughout the night. Two River also collected canned good donations for The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

RED BANK: LOCAL ARTS ORGS GET 2017 GRANTS

art-alliance-classThe Art Alliance on Monmouth Street is one of 15 Red Bank area nonprofit entities named as grantees in the Monmouth Arts 2017 ArtHelps program.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Some two dozen arts groups in Monmouth County — 15 of them based in Red Bank and surrounding communities — have been named by Monmouth Arts as the recipients of their ArtHelps Local Arts Program Grant Awards for Fiscal Year 2017.

Designed to help Monmouth Arts meet its mission to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts, the grants will result in over 3,000 high quality, low cost art events (art exhibitions, concerts, dance, theater, film and festivals) estimated to reach over 800,000 people. The 24 awarded grants totaled $94,500, including $3,500 in mini-grants that will be awarded during the year for smaller arts projects by organizations including new and emerging groups.

The awards were presented at a networking meeting held at House of Independents in Asbury Park on September 21, an event during which Monmouth Arts premiered their new website, and special guest Michael Pilla of Pilla Creative Marketing spoke on building your audience with email marketing and Facebook ads.

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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 »

MIDDLETOWN: CHORUS HOSTS GALA, TRYOUTS

Fans of the sounds and styles of the 1940s are invited to join the Monmouth Civic Chorus on the evening of Saturday, April 30 for the annual Spring Soirée, presented under the theme “From Big Band to Broadway: Music of the 1940’s.” Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the evening includes a gourmet dinner, with entertainment by Chorus members in a cabaret setting. Guests will enjoy cocktails at the cash bar while bidding on the silent and chance auctions.

More than 100 guests attended last year’s gala, which raised over $11,000 to support concert production expenses. Auction offerings included vacation weekends, original artworks, handmade jewelry and scarves, local restaurants and entertainment, gourmet chocolate and coffee, yoga and spa sessions, gift baskets for babies and pets, and more. Early-bird reservations for the 7 p.m. event are $80 per person if received by April 25. Late reservations are $90, and may be accepted if seats are available; no reservations will be accepted at the door. Go  here or call (732)933-9333 for reservations and additional information.

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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: MCC SETS SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS

This April, the Monmouth Civic Chorus will hold its annual vocal scholarship auditions for New Jersey high school seniors planning to pursue higher education. Auditions will be held by appointment only on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Red Bank. The application deadline is April 11, and the application fee is $10. For information or an audition appointment, call (732)933-9333, email scholarship@monmouthcivicchorus.org or go to the MCC website here.

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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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RED BANK: MCC LIGHTS UP TOWER HILL

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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MCC ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS

KellyKoerwer2013On Saturday, May 10, the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus will hold its annual vocal scholarship auditions for New Jersey high school seniors planning to pursue higher education.

A total of $2500 in scholarships is available to be awarded to students of outstanding vocal promise. Last season, the First Place winner was bass/baritone Andrew Moore of Point Pleasant, who was awarded $1200. The Second Place winner was mezzo-soprano Kelly Koerwer of Shrewsbury (pictured), who was awarded $500.

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WEEKEND: MOODY BLUE & MINTY GREEN

stPatsThe second annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes to the borough streets on Sunday. Below, the Moody Blues.

Friday, February 28:

MoodysRED BANK: From the harmonies of their early, raw recordings to the dramatic sweep and ambitious scope of their orchestral masterpieces – to their repeated reunions, and a new century of crowdpleasing tours – one might be tempted to call them the British Beach Boys.

But the Moody Blues have done what they’ve done without all the meltdowns, litigation, and endless appearances on the county fair circuit of their American cohorts. And this weekend, the longtime trio of Justin Hayward (guitar), John Lodge (bass) and Graeme Edge (drums) comes to Red Bank for two consecutive nights (Friday and Saturday, 8 pm) at the Count Basie Theatre, on a Timeless Flight Tour that promises to mix those lush album-era radio classics (“Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” “Ride My Seesaw” and the game-changing “Nights in White Satin”) with more recent vintage oldies (“Your Wildest Dreams,” “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”) and highlights from solo projects past. Leaving the symphony orks at home, the core Moodies are joined by an auxiliary corps of young musicians on keyboards, flute and extra drums. Tickets ($50 – $145) can be reserved right here.

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WEEKENDER: A NOT YET WINTER WONDERLAND

lennon 120513 4The 33rd anniversary of John Lennon’s death finds a traveling exhibit of the Beatle’s artwork camped out in Red Bank.

Friday, December 6:

RED BANK: In the midst of the holiday cheer, this weekend marks the 33rd anniversary of the murder of John Lennon — and it so happens that the traveling “pop-up gallery” exhibit titled “The Artwork of John Lennon” will be stationed in downtown Red Bank for the occasion. Featuring prints and some 100 pieces from the Lennon collection, the show parks it at 21 Broad Street (formerly Agostino Antiques) for three days beginning December 6. Take it here for a redbankgreen feature with complete schedule details and more.

SHREWSBURY: It’s a rare opportunity to get a close-up look at the buildings in the borough’s state and national designated “Four Corners” Historic District, as the Monmouth County Historical Association conducts Holiday Lantern Tours in the area of Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue. Tours commence at 6 pm and 8 pm, with reservations required ($15 adults; $8 ages 12 and under) available at (732) 742-1277. Christ Church will be serving up dinner (Moravian Chicken Pot Pie!) with seatings at 5 pm and 7 pm, for an additional $10.

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JOYOUS, MAJESTIC INDOOR VOICES, PLEASE

A 2010 performance of the Monmouth Civic Chorus, conducted by Mark Shapiro, at the First Presbyterian Church, Red Bank.

It’s a local holiday tradition of which it’s been said, “It won’t be Christmas without it” — and when the voices and instruments of The Monmouth Civic Chorus assemble in Red Bank on the afternoon of December 18, they’ll return once more to a classic oratorio that formed the heart of the very first MCC concert more than 50 years ago, a work that’s become synonymous with the expression of joy and celebration.

When the familiar notes of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s The Messiah soar toward the grand ceiling of the Count Basie Theatre, however, they’ll carry with them an inaudible but distinctly bittersweet undertone — a realization that the 2011 performance of this seasonal signifier will be the final one under the baton of longtime artistic director Mark Shapiro.

The veteran conductor, who announced his departure effective next spring, has in his 20-plus years at the podium helped the borough-based MCC evolve from a dedicated suburban troupe of “weekend warriors” to an acclaimed and confident force that’s appeared at Carnegie Hall and St. Peter’s Basilica, hosted some top-notch guest soloists — and challenged audiences and vocalists alike with new, unfamiliar, even experimental programming that would be the envy of many big-city chorales.

For the Basie concert, of course, it’s all about the comfort and joy of some favorite holiday choral music — and this coming Saturday and Sunday, lovers of harmonious human voices in all their intricacy and splendor can rejoice in the fact that no less than THREE marvelous organizations will be making some beautiful sounds around the greater Green.

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RED ‘N GREEN AND FESTIVE ALL OVER

xmasconcertsSanta Basie: Returning to the stage for Christmas are (clockwise from top left) Tim McLoone and Holiday Express; Nancy Scharff; Glen Burtnik, and Mark Shapiro with the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

It’s official: with a ceremonial flip of the switch last Friday night — and a weathery weekend of holiday-themed activities immediately following — Red Bank once again took the local lead in calling another Season of Lights to luminous life.

With December bringing up the calendar caboose, the borough merely picks up steam, offering up a full complement of Christmas and Chanukah events and activities from now right on up to the doorstep of New Year’s Eve.

Continuing every Saturday through December 18 are the outdoor jinglebell jukebox known as Holiday Harmonies and the clip-clop-and-shop of the Red Bank Horse and Carriage Rides. The Galleria offers Pictures with Santa photo ops each weekend through December 19, and the annual Gingerbread Walk promotion continues at participating borough businesses through December 26.

You can find out more about these ongoing offerings from Red Bank RiverCenter — and continue reading to unwrap our roundup package of holiday concerts, lighting ceremonies, fundraisers, stage shows and other events, in and around the greater Red Bank green.

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