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RED BANK: BRISK START TO HOLIDAY SEASON

red bank nj holiday express light-up concertred bank nj holiday express light-up concertBrisk weather in Red Bank once again made for an ideal Holiday Express start to the Christmas season Friday night.

With the Tim McLoone-led band working its musical magic for the 26th time, several thousand kids and kids-at-heart crowded a stretch of Broad Street, singing along and counting down to the light-up of downtown trees. 

Check out redbankgreen‘s photos below to see if you recognize any smiling faces underneath all those fun hats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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LITTLE SILVER: AN UNDAMPENED DAY’S END

Postponed one day because of bad weather, and threatened again by rain, an undampened fireworks show made for a spectacular finale to Little Silver Day Sunday night.

Coordinated by the Little Silver Charitable Foundation, the biennial event helps raise funds used to support education programs, recreation activities, scholarships and other Little Silver organizations. (Photos by James Salvo. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LIGHTS UP ON HOLIDAY SEASON

Santa Claus, the Grinch and Holiday Express worked their magic for the 25th time, ushering in the Christmas-and-other-holidays season with music, laughs and a touch of flurries on Broad Street in Red Bank Friday night.

Check out redbankgreen‘s photos below to see if you recognize any smiling faces. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: BASIE STARTS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Dozens of local politicians and players in the arts world turned out for the event. Below, Basie board members Steven Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A $23 million expansion of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre formally got underway Wednesday, beginning what’s expected to be a 20-month endeavor to turn the Vaudeville-era venue into a powerhouse for live performance and arts education.

The aim, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt told an al fresco gathering, is “to make Red Bank an example to the rest of the county of what it is possible to do” in elevating the arts.

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RED BANK: FESTIVAL BENEFITS TWO CHARITIES

The most recent Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest, held in April, raised $15,000 for two charities: borough-based Parker Family Health Center and Shrewsbury-based Holiday Express. Jim Scavone, executive director of event host Red Bank RiverCenter, presented checks of $7,500 to each organization at Wednesday’s borough council meeting.

Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, above, played at the festival with his side project, The Shirleys. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FOOD FEST TO PACK PARKING LOT

More than 20 local food purveyors will be present  when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

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RED BANK: BANDIERA AND ‘HOPE’ AT BASIE

bobby_bandiera_and_jon_bon_jovi_at_hope_concert_8_2015Bobby Bandiera, joined here by longtime tourmate Jon Bon Jovi at a past Hope Concert, brings the ninth edition of his all-star benefit show back to the Basie Friday.

donegoodlogoIt’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.

Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.

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LINCROFT: AN EXPRESS STOP AT CBA

cba-holiday-expressTim McLoone leads the Holiday Express musicians in a December 15 appearance at Christian Brothers Academy, where the big band entertained a group of special needs young people.

Press release from Christian Brothers Academy 

On Thursday, December 15, the McKay Gym at Christian Brothers Academy was once again transformed into a rocking holiday event hall, as part of Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express Christmas Party.

“This is the best day of the year,” said Tim Sewnig, Director of CBA’s Campus Ministry, of the event held each year to help young adults with special needs get in the Christmas spirit. The Academy hosts several holiday season fundraisers each year — a winter coat drive, collection for children with pediatric cancer, and Thanksgiving food drive to name a few — but this event has a special place amongst them.

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RED BANK: EXPRESSWAY TO OUR HEARTS

tim-mcloone-112516-1Tim McLoone (seen presiding over the annual Town Lighting concert in downtown Red Bank) conducts the Holiday Express band back into station stop Basie for a pair of public-welcome shows on December 19 and 20 — with an all-aboard for volunteer “warehouse elves” at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls facility.

VIP-level attendees at many Count Basie Theatre events have never been averse to paying as much as several hundred dollars over base ticket price, to enjoy such perks as premium seating, autographed tour souvenirs, and personal meet-and-greet opportunities with the featured attractions. But as far as Tim McLoone and Holiday Express are concerned, there are some ultra-exclusive events that remain off limits at any price.

It isn’t because you’re not cool enough, connected enough, or cash-money enough to score tickets. It’s just that admission to those performances is available to you only if you’re one of the more than 15,000 residents of regional homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places that form the heart of the Holiday Express itinerary — places whose residents are often without any family or friends, and whose sole ray of light is that annual visit by the big jinglebell juggernaut of a band.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the Express regularly detours from its tight timetable at this time each year, to play a double-header of fundraiser shows at station stop Basie; a tradition that continues this coming Monday and Tuesday, December 19 and 20.

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RED BANK: A 24TH NIGHT OF HOLIDAY DAZZLE

rb-town-lighting-112516-4rb-town-lighting-112516-7For the 24th straight year, the feel-jolly sounds of Holiday Express served as the soundtrack to a Town Lighting ceremony that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Red Bank Friday night. Were you among those who braved the drizzle for the dazzle? Check out our photos to see who you might recognize. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: HOLIDAY EXPRESS TO LIGHT IT UP

112715holidayexp32Tim McLoone, at left above, and the Holiday Express band get some help kicking off another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank at Friday night’s annual Town Lighting concert. Jackie Evancho (below) brings a program of holiday songs and hits to the Count Basie stage. (Photo above by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge) 

jackie_evanchoIf it’s accomplished nothing else during its quarter century of continuous service, Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony has successfully wrested the idea of “Black Friday” from visions of crushing chaos at the mall to one of sing-along harmony in a walkable-wonderland setting of merry commerce and activity.

When the lights are ceremoniously lit in downtown Red Bank for the 24th consecutive year this Friday evening, it will come not a moment too soon for an extended community that really does need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And summoned once more into service like a jinglebell-jukebox Justice League will be Holiday Express, the big traveling winter wall of sound whose founder and skipper Tim McLoone has helped sound the keynote and flip the switch on a generation’s worth of festive occasions in the heart of Red Bank’s downtown diorama.

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TINTON FALLS: EXPRESS SEEKS HOLIDAY ELVES

townlightingThe Holiday Express band performs at one of its annual Town Lighting public concerts in downtown Red Bank.The humanitarian organization behind the big traveling band is putting out the call for volunteer “warehouse elves” at their Tinton Falls facility.

Every year for the past several decades, Holiday Express founder and co-frontman Tim McLoone leads his big traveling band in a special keynote to the most festive of seasons, as the assembled musicians and singers preside over Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony with a free open-air, public-welcome concert.

The “Black Friday” tradition is merely one of the more visible manifestations of the musical humanitarian organization that performs dozens of concerts at places that exist well below most people’s radar — the nursing homes, rehab centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities and other locales whose audiences are made up of what McLoone calls the “adult orphans” among us.

While the veteran musician, businessman and entrepreneur observes that the Holiday Express orchestra is the aspect of the organization that “makes the most noise,” he’s quick to point out that the energizing engine is backed up by a formidable freight-train of volunteer support personnel, drivers, techies, and donation/gift processing workers at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls warehouse facility (938 Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls). And, effective immediately, the Express is putting out a call for just such a crew of “warehouse elves” — a call that includes, for the first time, an online sign-up.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SHRIMP, WITH BIG VIEWS

080916rumrunner5The roofed deck at McLoone’s Rum Runner. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?On a clear day, Tim McLoone‘s newly rebuilt Rum Runner restaurant in Sea Bright offers bird’s-eye views south along the Shrewsbury River past the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, north toward Sandy Hook Bay, and to the east, beach clubs, interspersed with peeks of the Atlantic Ocean.

Stunning eye-candy aside, PieHole finds another reason to appreciate this back-from-the dead Sandy survivor.
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SHREWSBURY: MHA TEES OFF 2016 CLASSIC

MHA golf classicPress release from Mental Health Association of Monmouth County

On Monday, August 29, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) will present its Annual Golf Classic and Cocktail Party, as part of MHA’s continued efforts to raise awareness and necessary funds for the free mental health services that MHA offers to members of the military and all families in Monmouth County.

Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the event highlights MHA’s mission of promoting mental health and wellness and improving the care and treatment of persons affected by mental illness. This mission is accomplished through MHA’s strength-based innovated program, education, advocacy community partnerships, and the shaping of public policy.

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LITTLE SILVER DAY ENDS WITH A BANG

LS DAY 062516 40LS DAY 062516 17A spectacular fireworks show closed out a beautiful summer day of food, friends and dancing in the infield in Little Silver as the town’s residents gathered at the fields behind borough hall for Little Silver Day Saturday.

redbankgreen grabbed these photos of the merriment.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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LITTLE SILVER GETS ITS FIRST DAY IN THE SUN

TheHaven625741_origThe Haven is among the acts scheduled to perform at the first-ever Little Silver Day, to be held at the recreational field behind borough hall Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

LS Day bannerOthers towns on the Greater Red Bank Green have their official celebrations of self — most notably the annual Fair Haven Day that’s now an annual staple. But on Saturday, it’s the Borough of Little Silver’s turn to shine, as the first-ever Little Silver Day celebration prepares to fill a summer afternoon and evening with music, food, fun, games, fireworks and reaffirmation of community.

Presented by the nonprofit Little Silver Charitable Foundation and hosted at the borough’s center-of-town recreational field (behind borough hall and adjacent to Markham Place School), the inaugural event will be free for Little Silver residents, with nominal fees charged for food and beverages. It’s all happening from 3 to 10 p.m., with a scheduled rain date of Sunday, June 26.

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SEA BRIGHT: RUM RUNNER RESURRECTED

rum runner 050316 2The bar in a glass-walled room one patron called “the aquarium” offers panoramic views of the Shrewsbury River. Below right, restaurant principal Tim McLoone with an opening-night guest. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tim mcloone 050316Three and a half years after the original was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy, McLoone’s Rum Runner reopened Tuesday night in the form of dazzling behemoth of a “jewel box” beside the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright.

Above the river, actually. Unlike its modest predecessor, which sat barely above high-tide, the new one is elevated to keep all but the lowest part of a stairwell dry even during the worst storm surge, and provide parking underneath at other times, said its designers.

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LINCROFT: EXPRESS GREETINGS AT CBA

tim mcloone holidayIn what has become an annual tradition at Christian Brothers Academy, over 40 students from CBA and Trinity Hall helped spread some holiday cheer on Thursday, December 17 during the annual Holiday Express Christmas Party. Students and faculty joined Tim McLoone (at keyboard) and the bandmembers and support team of Holiday Express for a day of Christmas fun and dancing, all to help adults with special needs and disabilities enjoy this special time of year. (More photos after the story break)

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RED BANK: CHRISTMAS BASIE, C’MON HOME

Tim mcloone 2011Tim McLoone and Holiday Express (above) make their annual fundraising whistle-stop on the Count Basie stage this Thursday, followed on Friday by the “Souled Out” (but still very much on sale) return of Christmas Baby Darlene Love (below).  

darlene-loveNo matter how many times Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s show to deliver her soaring signature “Christmas (Baby please come home),” it somehow stayed fresh across four decades, five presidential administrations and countless hairstyles.

Likewise, Holiday Express manages to keep it fresh despite spending most of the year in a crisper, only to be taken out for a blizzard of seasonal performances.

And somehow, the Count Basie Theatre does it up in style every December with crowd-pleasing sets by both acts, which roll into Red Bank in the nights ahead.

Read on for details…

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RED BANK: LIGHTS UP ON HOLIDAY SEASON

holiday-express-2010-2Tim McLoone (below) and Holiday Express sound the keynote for another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank with a free concert and Town Lighting ceremony Friday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) 

timmclooneHe’s the leader of the band and founder of the winter-wonderland wall of sound known as Holiday Express. As such, Tim McLoone is also the conductor of a festive freight-train that each year carries its message of community and caring to the places that almost no one wants to think about — not even during the holidays.

And every Black Friday evening, McLoone is a conductor of electricity — when he and the big band sound the keynote and flip the switch on a season of sights and Santa-fied activities that make Red Bank the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.

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SANDY HOOK: BEACH BLANKET FREEBIES

kirk jirks 072013 3Brian Kirk and the Jirks head back to the beach when the free concert series on Sandy Hook returns Wednesday evening. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Grab those beach chairs from the garage and shine up your best dancing flip flops: the season of free outdoor summer concerts is upon us, with the local action keynoted as always by the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series.

Presented at 6 pm each Wednesday by the Sandy Hook Foundation at Beach Area E, the long-running slate of all-ages, all-welcome celebrations comes equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew on Wednesday with a season starter starring Brian Kirk and the Jirks.

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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN GIRLS EARN TITLES

Winter_Track_Sect_ChampsThe Girls Winter Track Team from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School has reigned victorious, earning the school’s first State Group II State Relay Championship for Winter Track and scoring its fourth consecutive Central Jersey Group II Sectional Title.

The historic State Group II Relay Championship was the result of a first-place finish at the State Relays in January, where 24 teams competed and RFH bested Holmdel by three points. RFH medaled in five of six races, with senior Janie DeVito competing in three of those events. Senior Hannah Anderson ran two of the races as did junior Morgan Steinhacker, who clinched the 4 X 400 relay with her outstanding anchor leg.

At the State Sectional Championship on February 8, the RFH girls earned their fourth straight Central Jersey Group II title.

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