LINCROFT: UNITY THRU HOT CHILI, COOL JAZZ

Lincroft PresbyterianPress release from Lincroft Presbyterian Church

While some people celebrated Valentine’s Day with a card, a romantic dinner, gold-foiled chocolates in a heart-shaped box or a bouquet of beautiful red roses, members of Lincroft Presbyterian Church, took the matters of love straight to the heart, and hosted two successful recent events: a February 6 Chili Cook-Off, and a February 11 Unity in Diversity Jazz Service to benefit two neighbor organizations, immediately prior to the day of love.

The two events raised more than $1,500 for 180 Turning Lives Around and Family Promise of Monmouth County, which offer the only places of sanctuary in Monmouth County for families facing domestic violence or homelessness.

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RED BANK: COUNT MEETS CONSERVATORY

Vladislav Kovalsky discusses the 50th anniversary commemorations of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music on a recent news program. (Click to enlarge)

After a long run, it remains one of Red Bank’s best-kept-secret arts treasures: the public-welcome series of free classical music concerts that occur on a regular basis at the Monmouth Conservatory of Music on White Street.

Mixing guest performances by internationally touring artists with the showcased talents of the school’s faculty and students, the events are merely the most visible and audible manifestations of an entity that has trained generations of young musicians for 50 years.

This Saturday afternoon, the staff and students of MCM travel from their home in the heart of the downtown business district  to the Count Basie Theatre, where executive director Vladislav Kovalsky and company will cap a yearlong Golden Anniversary observance with a pair of world-premiere works by New Jersey composers. They’ll also salute the man who first got the notion of establishing a serious music school in the borough that birthed the bandleader-legend Bill Basie.

And they’ll be joined by some special young guests, too.

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M’TOWN: INTIMATE CLASSICS, REVERENT JAZZ

JoelDeWittJohnGronertViolinist Joel DeWitt (left) presents a program of chamber duets at Middletown Library on Monday evening…while drummer John Gronert (right) is among the cats taking part in a February 19 jazz service at Lincroft Presbyterian.  

The post-Valentine days and evenings offer discerning music lovers a chance to get all intimate with their preferred sounds — be it a chamber recital at the bibliotheque, or the return of a rather unique public-invited Jazz Service at a local place of worship.

This coming Monday, February 16 sees the Community Room of the Middletown Township Public Library welcoming back an artist who’s frequently made himself at home in that cozy venue, for the latest in a series of MTPL-produced classical music offerings. Violinist Joel DeWitt teams with pianist Brian Gilmore, for a 7 pm session spotlighting masterful duets by Mozart, Debussy and Prokofiev. It’s an hour-long program, for which no advance registration is necessary (and admission is of course fabulously free).

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WEEKEND: OLD MASTERS, HISTORIC HAUNTS

mikesuperIllusionist extraordinaire Mike Super materializes for an evening of large-scale prestidigitation at the Basie tonight.

Friday, October 25:

RED BANK: At the Count Basie Theatre — where a “ghost light” is kept burning for passing Lantern Tours and house phantoms — the newly minted tradition of “Harley-ween” is kickstarted with the theater-scale area debut of America’s Favorite Mystifier, illusionist Mike Super. Last seen in an appearance at Brookdale College, the winner of the NBC TV competition Phenomenon materializes on the Basie boards with a spectacular 8 pm show that promises a live murder-mystery round of CLUE, a demonstration of voodoo mind control, and an outright repeal of the law of gravity. Most potentially amazing is the fact that all ticketholders are eligible to ride away with “the vehicle that Mike will make appear on stage” — a little item from Harley-Davidson of Long Branch. Tickets ($39 – $69) right here.

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