September 16, 2020

The first day of fall isn’t until next week, but pumpkins, mums, apples, and more are already in abundance at Terhune Orchards on Cold Soil Road. Area residents share what they are looking forward to this fall in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo courtesy of Terhune Orchards)

By Anne Levin

October 1 is Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter’s last day on the job. At Princeton Council’s meeting Monday, Sutter was lauded for his more than 25 years on the force —  six of them as chief. The 49-year-old Lawrence resident announced his retirement three months ago.

Current and past Council members, legislators, and Mayor Liz Lempert thanked Sutter for his leadership and credited him with transforming the department into “not only a state but really a national model of policing,” according to former Council member Heather Howard.

Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, all of New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District, took turns reading a joint legislative resolution dedicated to Sutter. Lempert read a proclamation from Council.

“He led Princeton through consolidation as well as anybody could have hoped,” said Lempert, prior to reading the proclamation. She cited Sutter’s leadership for “the values our officers are told to uphold, empathy and service to the community. It’s hard to imagine this place without him, because of the big mark he’s left.”

Sutter was captain in Princeton Borough before consolidation of the Borough and Township. He served as acting chief when former chief David Dudeck was forced to retire amid allegations of harassment and discrimination, and a civil suit by seven police offers against him and the municipality. Sutter was named chief in 2014, a year after consolidation. more

By Donald Gilpin

A virtual Board of Education (BOE) Candidates Forum on Saturday, September 19 at 9:30 a.m., sponsored by the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association (WJNA), will address issues of “equity, access, and accountability,” with eight candidates sharing their visions of the future for Princeton Public Schools and their reasons for seeking one of the three open seats on the BOE in the November 3 election.

Also on Saturday’s agenda, for the second part of the meeting, will be a discussion on zoning and its impact on affordable housing in Princeton.

BOE incumbents Beth Behrend, the current board president, and Michele Tuck-Ponder, current vice president, are slated to participate along with challengers Adam Bierman, Hendricks Davis, Jean Durbin, Bill Hare, Paul Johnson, and Karen Lemon. The candidates have been asked to comment for four minutes each on their vision for the district’s future and the experience and skills they would bring to the job.

Emphasizing the importance of the moment and the fact that three of the eight candidates are African American, WJNA Co-Chair Leighton Newlin pointed out, “This comes at a time during a national pandemic when virtual education, tutorials through pods, internet access, and connectivity could further exacerbate the historical minority education achievement gap, making it intractable to address, adjust, or reverse.” more

By Donald Gilpin

It’s virtual this year and somewhat reduced in scope, but Princeton is celebrating its fifth annual Welcoming Week, sponsored by Princeton Human Services and the Princeton Public Library (PPL), with an invitation to all residents to share a favorite recipe.

“The overarching goal of Welcoming Week is to celebrate the contributions of all residents in our community and to promote community and inclusivity among all of those who live in Princeton,”  said Human Services Director Melissa Urias, and this year’s event, September 12-20, is featuring recipes that community members might prepare for visitors and the stories behind those recipes.

“If you were to make a dish to welcome someone into your home, or to welcome someone to the neighborhood, what would it be?” asks the engageprinceton.org website, headquarters for this year’s Welcoming Week events. “Is there a story around the recipe? What makes it special to you? Was it shared with you by a friend or family member  — or was it a favorite of someone you love?”

Welcoming Week organizers at the PPL are gathering the recipes and stories “looking forward to the time when we will be able to come together around a table, around nourishing food and building friendship and community.” more

DRIVE-THROUGH PUMPKIN CARVE: The Amazing Pumpkin Carve will be viewed from vehicles this year, but the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is confident that the October 7-11 event at Woolsey Park will be as engaging as in previous years. (Photo by Michael Davies)

By Anne Levin

For the Hopewell Valley Arts Council (HVAC), turning the Amazing Pumpkin Carve into a drive-through event was a challenge that had to be met. Now in its sixth year, the annual celebration of art, music, food, dance, and all things Halloween, held at Woolsey Park in Titusville, has become the organization’s major fundraiser.

Thanks to social distancing restrictions of the pandemic, holding the event in the usual manner was not a possibility this year. “It was a festival, where  you’d come in, walk around, listen to live music, have food — more like coming to a fair,” said Carol Lipson, HVAC executive director. “We couldn’t do that. So we had to get creative. That’s how we got the idea for making the festival a drive-through event.”

From October 7 to 11, viewers will be able to cruise through the park in their cars. As in previous years, 40 pumpkins will be carved and electrified by local artists and displayed in illuminated tents. Participants will drive up and receive an event program, listen to live or DJ’d music, and take quick, socially distanced photo ops. Visitors will receive a free mini-pumpkin while supplies last, and popcorn and cider will be available for purchase.

“We’ll have music piped into cars while people are waiting in line to get in,” said Lipson. “We’ll also have live music Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. On Sunday all day, a DJ has volunteered to be here.” more

By Donald Gilpin

President Donald Trump was the subject of a Monday, September 14 virtual book talk with Atlantic editor and writer David Frum, author of the recent Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy, in conversation with Princeton University History Professor Julian Zelizer under the auspices of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Beyond the discussion of the upcoming presidential election and the possibility of an approaching end to the Trump presidency was the belief that even if Trump is defeated on November 3, “Trumpism will not be so easily removed from American life,” as Frum has stated in his book.

Though Frum, still a registered Republican and a longtime proponent of the conservative movement, was sharply critical of Trump in both his 2018 book Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic and in his recent book, which was published in May, he remains hopeful for the future of the American democracy and for the Republican Party.

Frum explained that an apocalypse, or a Trumpocalypse, does not necessarily mean the end of the world. “Apocalypse means a revelation, a vision, but not just a vision of the end of the world,” he said. His book, he stated, explores “what comes after, what comes next, with a view that we can shape what comes next,” amidst “challenges to the democratic order and American government driven by the fact that systems all over the world have not delivered very well.” more

BACK IN THE SWIM: Among the most popular spots at the Princeton Family YMCA is the pool, where lap swimming has resumed, by appointment, along with other activities.

After being closed since the onset of the pandemic, the Princeton Family YMCA opened its doors this week. Capacity is limited and certain restrictions are in place. Loyal members have begun returning to the facility on Paul Robeson Place.

“I heard a wonderful story today,” said Kate Bech, the organization’s executive director, on  opening day Monday, September 14. “We have four people who have already reactivated their memberships, and they are golden members, which means they are 85 and older. One of them showed up today and said by golly, she was glad to be back! This is very real for a lot of people. For older residents, this has all been very isolating. For them to return to their routine at the Y is very meaningful.”

As of September 1, Gov. Phil Murphy allowed all gyms in the state to reopen as long as they do not exceed 25 percent of indoor capacity, and they follow other safety guidelines. The YMCA rearranged the exercise equipment in its Fitzpatrick Fitness Center, instituted temperature checks, and health screenings, increased sanitation, and is requiring masks to be worn. more

Child Care Scholarships and Internet Access for PPS Students

Approximately 200 Princeton families will receive unlimited wireless data in their homes for the school year, under an agreement between Princeton Public Schools (PPS) and two internet providers, Comcast and T-Mobile.  The companies are offering discounted service for qualifying families, and PPS will cover this cost with funds from a grant from an anonymous donor.

The district has also received a grant to provide child care in partnership with the Princeton YMCA during the current remote learning period and beyond. The YMCA is providing safe, monitored child care for students at the Pannell Center and the Crimmins Center for approximately 40 qualifying students, which began on September 14.

Advisory Committee to Help Name Middle School

An advisory committee of ten school officials and community members will hold its first meeting on September 21 to plan the initial steps in suggesting new names for the Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS), formerly John Witherspoon Middle School.

As the naming process continues, the committee will be seeking input from school staff and students and the community.

The committee so far includes Debbie Bronfeld and Betsy Baglio, from the PPS Board of Education; Shirley Satterfield, local historian; Geoffrey Allen, Princeton High School graduate and author of the original petition to remove the name of Witherspoon; Jason Burr, PUMS principal; Jen Bigioni, Princeton High School teacher and librarian; Stephanie Tidwell, PPS mathematics supervisor; Cecilia Birge, PHS assistant principal; Angela Siso Stentz, Johnson Park principal; and Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I’ve been thinking about the time I saw Frank Capra in person. It was in the late 1970s, in a classroom at Princeton’s Center for the Visual Arts on Nassau Street. The meeting got off to a rocky start when one of the students asked a question that distinguished between art films and popular, commercial movies like It’s a Wonderful Life. Immediately on the defensive, Capra insisted that the artistic value of any work in any medium was ultimately determined by its popularity. Critics, scholars, reviewers be damned! The people had the last say. “All great art is popular!” he insisted, citing Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and da Vinci. “Look at all the people who come to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa!”

The students were a bit rattled. Why was the old guy so touchy? Clearly, he still believed that his populist, upbeat films had been misunderstood and devalued by elitists. I considered weighing in to say how often I’d argued with film-buff friends who scorned It’s a Wonderful Life and invariably cited Fellini’s La Dolce Vita as an example of “great art.” Instead, I said something about Jimmy Stewart’s performance as George Bailey, aware that the mere mention of the other film might only make things worse.

A British Bridge

My bridge from Capra’s Life to Fellini’s Vita is the British film critic David Thomson, who slammed both directors in his Biographical Dictionary of Film (1994). It’s only fair to note that Thomson may have updated his comments in later editions and that when he’s not righteously venting, he writes as well about film as anyone this side of James Agee. That’s why I quoted his thoughts on the “uneasy depths” of It’s a Wonderful Life to close out last week’s column. After giving the film his mixed blessing, however, he couldn’t resist another personal dig: “I think I like Capra less than ever, even if I have become interested in his emotional muddle.”  more

“SUMMER 2020: EONS AT THE SAME TIME”: Fly Eyes Playwrights presented an online anthology of documentary-style monologues. Top row, from left: Sandy Kitain, Mimi Schwartz, Donna Clovis. Second row: Tri Duc Tran, Fulton C. Hodges, Aixa Kendrick. Third row: davidbdale, Joey Perillo, June Ballinger. Bottom row: Carol Simmons, Jill Hackett. (Photo montage courtesy of Fly Eyes Playwrights, and the participating actors)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Fly Eyes Playwrights offered a free online presentation of Summer 2020: Eons at the Same Time on September 10 and 12. The play is an anthology of monologues, derived from interviews in which people react to the convergence of the COVID-19 lockdown and the Black Lives Matter movement.

A press release reveals the project’s origins as an “online documentary theatre course at McCarter Theatre, under the direction of former Artistic Director Emily Mann. After the four-week program ended, the students decided to form Fly Eyes Playwrights and continue their work in documentary theatre, gathering monologues from diverse real-life voices of the moment.”

Summer 2020: Eons at the Same Time is the culmination of the playwrights’ coursework, combined with additional pieces to expand the show into a full-length play. The disparate monologues deftly have been woven together into a thematically unified larger show.

During a post-show discussion following Thursday’s performance, playwright and actor Donna Clovis emphasized that the monologues contain the words spoken by the interviewees. “They’re not our words; we just transcribe them,” Clovis said.  more

AND THE WINNERS ARE: Finalists and top players at The Princeton Festival’s 2019 Piano Competition displayed their trophies in person, but this year’s winners will vie virtually for the honors.

By Anne Levin

For the past 13 years, The Princeton Festival has been holding a piano competition for young musicians ages 6 to 24. More than 100 entrants have been known to take part in the popular event, coming to Princeton from the tri-state area to play works by major composers in front of discerning judges.

The pandemic has changed all that. The event is virtual this year. Judges accustomed to observing the young musicians up close — sitting with them in small piano studios at Westminster Choir College — are instead making their decisions after watching and listening to them online.

A video concert by the finalists will be available on the Princeton Festival website (princetonfestival.org) on Wednesday, September 23 at 6 p.m., with the winners to be announced at the end. Tickets are $10 and streaming will be available until September 27 at 10 p.m. more

OPENING NEW MUSICAL DOORS: Westrick Music Academy is holding new virtual music classes for students of all ages. For information and registration, visit WestrickMusic.org/education.

Westrick Music Academy (WMA), home of Princeton Girlchoir and Princeton Boychoir, is currently enrolling students of all ages in a variety of music education classes, exploring new ways to build and strengthen musicianship skills.

Young singers in grades 1-2 looking to develop their singing voice and music skills are invited to join Poco Voce. This non-performing music class explores the young singer’s voice. During each lesson, children will focus on tone development and fundamental musical skills, through engaging games and activities. more

“IN CONVERSATION”: The Arts Council of Princeton presents author-illustrators Barbara DiLorenzo and Rashad Malik Davis in a free conversation event via Zoom on Tuesday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) invites the community to join them for “In Conversation” with author-illustrators Barbara DiLorenzo and Rashad Malik Davis moderated by  Timothy M. Andrews, arts collector and major supporter of the ACP’s Artist-in-Residence program, on Tuesday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 

This curated series of discussions is designed to celebrate and connect those who make art and those who love art. Visit artscouncilofprinceton.org to link into the free conversation via Zoom.   more

COMMUNITY ART: Spires, creatively decorated by local artists and community members, will be installed in clusters at more than 20 locations throughout Hopewell Valley as part of “ArtSpires,” the latest community art project and exhibition by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

This fall, colorful sculptures will pop up all around Hopewell Valley as part of “ArtSpires,” the newest community art project and exhibition by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. The spires, creatively decorated by local artists and community members, will be installed in clusters at more than 20 locations throughout Hopewell Valley and will remain on display until spring 2021.

“Now, more than ever, there’s a need for connection,” said Carol Lipson, HV Arts Council executive director, “‘ArtSpires’ is a way for our community to be together while still being apart, to celebrate local artists’ talents, and to shed light on an environmental tragedy.”

A detailed map on the HV Arts Council website will be updated regularly revealing new installation locations. Each work of art will be installed with QR code signs for virtual access to information about artists and artwork. A Facebook live virtual ribbon cutting will be held on September 20 at 3 p.m. Plus, join the public online auction in November 2020 for a chance to own one, with proceeds benefiting the individual artist and the HV Arts Council. more

HOMESTYLE: “The customers are so happy that we have re-opened. They are coming all the time, even during the pandemic. They say they feel it’s like coming home because so many people know each other.” Lyn Farrugia, owner of Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette and Bakery in Hopewell, is enjoying one of the restaurant’s popular salads.

By Jean Stratton

It’s all about family at Aunt Chubby’s in Hopewell. Family history, family tradition, families coming together — whether they are genetically related or through friendship and reaching out to others, who then become “family.”

“Our staff and customers are like family,” says Aunt Chubby’s owner, Lyn Farrugia. “We all take care of each other like family. We have had a great deal of help from so many people starting the business. Many of the Hopewell residents and longtime Aunt Chubby customers supported us, and continue to support us.”

Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette and Bakery, at 1 Railroad Place in Hopewell, is a true treasure. Its history is both unique and engaging.

The building itself dates to 1903, when it was a general store and gathering place for the community, a tradition that continues today.

Evolving over the years, it continued to serve the community, eventually becoming a luncheonette. more

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Grace Barbara boots the ball upfield in a game last fall during her sophomore season for the Princeton University women’s soccer team. After assuming a reserve role in her first two years for the Tigers, former Princeton Day School standout Barbara was poised to battle for a starting spot this fall. But with the Ivy League canceling the 2020 fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara is going to have wait a little longer for her shot to be a starter. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Grace Barbara is learning a lot about patience during her career with the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

After playing just about every minute during her three seasons for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team as a star goalie, Barbara played in just two games for a half each in her first college season in 2018 and then got into two contests last fall, playing a full game in one appearance and a half in the other.

With star goalie Natalie Grossi, the Ivy League career leader in shutouts, having graduated this past June, Barbara was poised to battle for the starting role as a junior.

But with the Ivy League canceling the 2020 fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara is going to have wait a little longer for her shot to take charge in goal.

“Obviously I was very disappointed, but I completely understand that the University believes that is best and the Ivy League does as a collective group,” said Barbara, an ecology and evolutionary biology major who is hoping to go to medical school and took a class on pandemics this spring. more

FAY DAY: Katie Fay enjoys some classroom time. Fay, a former standout swimmer at Duke University who came to Princeton Day School in 2009 and has helped run the school’s Annual Fund, Alumni Giving, and Capital Giving, became the PDS director of athletics and physical education in July. She is succeeding Tim Williams, who left the school this spring to take the same position at the University School of Milwaukee. (Photo provided by Katie Fay)

By Bill Alden

For Katie Fay, attending a retirement party for a beloved former swimming coach in 2009 proved to be a transformative experience.

As Fay, a former star swimmer at Deerfield Academy and Duke University who went on to the banking world, soaked in the testimonials to Hank Buntin, the longtime coach of the Summit YMCA Seals, she started re-examining the course of her life.

“There were hundreds of people who came out for his retirement just to say how he had impacted them and changed their lives,” said Fay.

“Listening to the stories and speeches that went on for hours, I thought ‘what am I doing now? I am not touching anyone’s life, I am not making any impact.’ It really made me think. I had always wanted to be at an independent school. If I stay in this, it is going to be one more bonus, one more promotion, and I am never going to get myself out.”

Inspired to make her impact, Fay began searching for a prep school job.

“I just starting to look at schools all over the country; I was applying to schools for jobs in admissions and advancement where I thought my skill set would be most transferable,” said Fay.

“One of the things I always asked when I was interviewing was how these schools feel about coaching. That was really important to me, not being a faculty member but being able to be engaged in the student side of life.”

Ending that search, Fay found a home at Princeton Day School, getting hired as the associate director of the Annual Fund in 2009.

“It was a beautiful campus, but it was the people that I met at the time,” said Fay, who became director of alumni giving a year later and was then named the director of capital giving and later joined the Thrive! Campaign as director of capital giving. more

GAME ON: Members of the Princeton High girls’ soccer team go through a training session before the 2019 season. Last week, the PHS athletes and coaches got the go-ahead from the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) for a fall varsity season. The teams started preseason practices last Monday with games to begin during the week of September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Val Rodriguez was on pins and needles as the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) met last week to decide whether fall sports could go ahead for Princeton High varsity teams with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing.

“I was doubtful, I have to be honest,” said Rodriguez, the head coach of the PHS girls’ soccer team, reflecting on the September 8 meeting. “I remained as hopeful as I could be.”

Tiger football head coach Charlie Gallagher shared the concerns of his colleague as the meeting unfolded.

“I was nervous, some of the Board members that had some concerns talked initially before any Board member that spoke in the affirmative,” said Gallagher, noting the PHS fall coaches had formed a task force and met over the summer to formulate return-to-play plans and protocols along with Director of Athletics Brian Dzbenski. more

September 9, 2020

The line was steady on Saturday as ice cream lovers waited patiently for their treats at Thomas Sweet Ice Cream on Nassau Street. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton, along with the rest of New Jersey, has moved cautiously into Phase 3 of “the road back,” with schools reopening this week or next, restaurants restarting indoor dining, and gyms, movies, and religious events permitted to welcome participants, with restrictions.

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) will start remotely on September 14, with students coming to the buildings for the first time for a phased-in hybrid program in October. Private schools are opening for remote, hybrid or in-person learning over the next two weeks.

Emphasizing the Princeton Health Department’s focus on many different fronts in this transitional period, Health Department Press and Media Communications Officer Fred Williams noted, “The biggest challenges here are keeping more people healthy as increased social activities come into play. Our Health Department is prepared to observe how these reopenings impact our current infection rates and is prepared to act based on what they encounter.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy delivered a favorable coronavirus report on Tuesday, September 8, describing the Labor Day weekend as “an incredibly good weekend in terms of compliance,” but adding, “You don’t see as much masking as you’d like.”   

Although for the 11th consecutive day the transmission rate increased slightly, to 1.10, on Monday, (with any number over 1 indicating that each new case is leading to at least one additional case and the outbreak is spreading), Murphy expressed optimism that “the chances are relatively low” that recent reopenings will cause significant spikes in COVID-19 cases. In a week to ten days, he said, we would know more about possible effects of the reopenings. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University is ramping up its efforts to combat racism on a range of fronts, in both scholarly work and practical operations, according to a September 2 letter from Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber to the University community.

Eisgruber’s letter outlined the next steps the University, under the leadership of its senior academic and administrative officials, will take to address systemic racism at Princeton and beyond, including planning to extend a Princeton education to underserved populations in the area and significantly increasing the number of faculty members from underrepresented groups.

In June, as demonstrations throughout the country protested the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, Eisgruber called on his cabinet of University leaders to develop plans to combat racism, asserting, “As a University, we must examine all aspects of this institution — from our scholarly work to our daily operations — with a critical eye and a bias toward action. This will be an ongoing process, one that depends on concrete and reasoned steps.”

On June 26, 2020 the Princeton University Board of Trustees voted to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college, because of Wilson’s “racist thinking and policies.”

In following up, on August 25 Eisgruber and his cabinet examined a range of proposals during a full-day session, and on September 2 Eisgruber issued his update.  more

By Donald Gilpin

When the Princeton Planning Board (PPB) approved a minor subdivision plan last month for 145 Ewing Street, known as the red farmhouse, it was a victory for the owner, for a group of concerned local residents who spoke up, for historic preservation, and for the whole Princeton community.

“We were very happy with the outcome of the application,” said Planning Director Michael LaPlace. “It was really a team effort with the applicant, the town, and interested neighbors as well.  A lot of credit goes to Brooke Brown, the owner. She was willing to rethink the application in order to preserve the historic building.”

He continued, “We saw it as a win-win for both the applicant and the community. We’re very excited about it. It shows that there are many ways to achieve historic preservation. This was a creative and sensible solution.”

Built in 1755, with additions in 1830, the house has a rich history. It was the home of novelist Caroline Gordon from 1956 to the mid-1970s, and, though they divorced in 1959, her husband the poet and essayist Allen Tate was there frequently, reportedly along with such
literary celebrity visitors as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Walker Percy.

Other, unconfirmed, stories of the red farmhouse include a visit by Thomas Jefferson in 1783, when he attended the Continental Congress in Nassau Hall, and a raid by British soldiers, who supposedly kicked down the front door during or after the Battle of Princeton in 1777. Job Stockton, who also built the Bainbridge House on Nassau Street and was a cousin of Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton, apparently bought the land from John Hornor and built the original farmhouse.  more

ORCHESTRA ONLINE: Rossen Milanov, artistic director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, leads the ensemble in a recent live performance. Despite the limitations posed by the pandemic, Milanov is enthusiastic about the orchestra’s upcoming virtual season.

By Anne Levin

Like most every arts organization, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has faced major challenges since COVID-19 put live performances on hold. The PSO, which holds regular seasons at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus, has worked hard to keep audiences engaged while the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight.

Artistic Director Rossen Milanov acknowledges these challenges. But he makes no apologies for the online series that begins October 4 and replaces the original fall subscription concerts. In fact, “Virtual Concerts: Your Orchestra, Your Home” is as ambitious a season as one that he might have programmed for live performances. The series mixes known works by Mozart, Grieg, and Shostakovich with newer music by contemporary composers, much of which is a commentary on current social issues. Guest artists originally scheduled to appear with the orchestra will be performing solo as part of the series.

“We are still presenting pieces that are works for orchestra rather than extended chamber music, which seems to be the standard practice right now for orchestras our size,” said Milanov, speaking from his home in Philadelphia. “And we didn’t want to wait until we reopened the season in more regular fashion. We wanted to make a strong statement by premiering important works by African American composers spanning over several generations.” more

BOOKS FOR EVERYONE: On Free Book Day in Princeton and Lawrence this Saturday, September 12, readers can get rid of unwanted volumes and find some new ones. The event was first launched in Hopewell and Pennington as a way to strengthen community bonds during the pandemic.

By Anne Levin

One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic is the annual Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale, a marathon used-book extravaganza usually held in the gym at Princeton Day School. For 18-year-old Pennington resident Anna Salvatore and her family, the cancellation of this year’s sale was especially frustrating.

“We were disappointed that we couldn’t go this year, because we look forward to it,” Salvatore said. “Then one day I saw that a neighbor who was moving was putting out his books, for free. And I thought it would be a good idea if everyone did that.”

The enterprising Hopewell Valley High School graduate, who will be a member of Princeton University’s class of 2025, got to work planning a Free Book Day in Pennington and Hopewell. The event was a success; so much so that Salvatore immediately thought of Princeton and Lawrence as the logical next step.

Free Book Day – Princeton and Lawrence is this Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents with books to give away can place them on their front lawn or curb, and all Mercer County residents are encouraged to stroll the streets and shop for titles.

“My thought was, how could it possibly fail in Princeton, where there are more nerds per capita than anywhere else?” said Salvatore. “So I have high hopes for this.” more

By Anne Levin

In normal times, attending synagogue services is a focus of the Jewish High Holy Days. But these are not normal times.

The pandemic has forced houses of worship to get creative about how to observe Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starting the night of September 18; and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins the night of September 27. Gathering en masse under one roof for the various services that mark the holidays is not an option this year.

Locally, observances will range from indoor services for very limited numbers to outdoor gatherings and, of course, Zoom. The traditional blasts of the Shofar, a ram’s horn that is blown in synagogue at different times during the holidays, will be heard outside instead.

“We’re having drive-in shofar services, where cars will be lined up in our parking lot,” said Rabbi Jordan Goldson of Har Sinai Temple in Pennington. The ram’s horn will sound on Saturday, September 12 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. “The person blowing the shofar will be in the middle, and people can just roll down their windows to hear it. We’ll have loudspeakers if the weather cooperates.” more