February 19, 2020

“FIGHTING BACK”: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman rallied the PCDO Sunday night at a meeting of about 120 supporters, who unanimously endorsed her for re-election to the House of Representatives for the 12th District and Senator Cory Booker for another term representing New Jersey in the U.S. Senate. In a straw poll, Elizabeth Warren finished first of the eight candidates in the Democratic presidential primary race, followed by Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg.

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), in a straw poll of 114 voters gathered at the Suzanne Patterson Center on Sunday evening, supported Elizabeth Warren for president as they geared up for the 2020 primaries and the November general election.

After hearing an array of speeches from organized campaign representatives as well as volunteers from the floor weighing in on why they are supporting one of the eight remaining candidates in the Democratic presidential primary race, the audience members ranked the candidates. First-choice votes were weighted with eight points, second choice seven, third choice six, etc.

Warren won a total of 634 points, Amy Klobuchar finished second with 602, and Michael Bloomberg was third with 530. Pete Buttigieg finished in fourth place with 501 points, followed by Bernie Sanders with 453, Joe Biden with 372, Tom Steyer with 227, and Tulsi Gabbard with 116.

Warren won the most first-choice votes with 31, followed by Bloomberg with 24, Klobuchar and Sanders with 16 each, Buttigieg with 13, Biden with 5, Gabbard with 1, and 0 for Steyer. more

By Donald Gilpin

The renovation of the John Witherspoon Middle School (JW) Academic Conference Center (ACC), part of the facilities referendum passed last year, is scheduled to begin on March 1, transforming the ACC into new learning spaces for all JW students.

“This renovation will provide much-needed space for our growing student body and provide us with some state-of-the-art, flexible learning spaces that can be used for collaborative projects,” JWMS Principal Jason Burr wrote in a letter to JW families earlier in the month.

The four new flexible classrooms/learning spaces will all be on the same level and will have access to an outdoor courtyard. The construction schedule for all JW projects calls for completion by August 21, 2020, followed by final cleaning in preparation for the first day of school on September 9, 2020.

Also on the agenda are renovation of the health office suite and building a new medical room, an exam room, three resting areas, and a bathroom that will be easily accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new health suite will provide improved facilities and more privacy for children who are ill. The health and nurse’s office will be moved to the Life Skills room in the A-Wing during construction.  more

“BORN TO LEARN:” A musical about the life of Maria Montessori, written and produced by Princeton Montessori School’s (PM) Emmy Award-winning music teacher Alex Mitnick, will play on the Hopewell Theater stage on March 7. Kristen VonWachenfeldt (above), PM administrator and frequent performer in area shows, starred in last spring’s production at the school and will lead a cast of ten professional singers and 20 PM elementary school students in the Hopewell performances.  (Photo courtesy of Princeton Montessori School)

By Donald Gilpin

“A transcendental experience” is how Alex Mitnick, Princeton Montessori School’s (PM) Emmy Award-winning music teacher, described the creation of Born to Learn: The Maria Montessori Story.

He wrote and produced the hour-long musical celebrating the life of Maria Montessori, the educator, scientist, and founder of the child-centered method of education known as the Montessori method, to celebrate PM’s 50th anniversary and Montessori’s 150th birthday.

The production at PM last spring was so successful that Mitnick recorded a professional soundtrack and is now bringing the show to the public for the first time at the Hopewell Theater on Saturday, March 7, with shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“I was so moved by the story of her life,” said Mitnick, who started his research a year and a half ago after being commissioned to write the musical. “It was amazing. So many aspects of my life intersect around this work — from being a parent, to being a teacher, to being a teacher for so long, to being in this amazing Montessori environment.” more

By Anne Levin

On Friday, February 14, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy heard arguments from attorneys representing Rider University on one side, and the Westminster Foundation and 70 Westminster Choir College students on the other, regarding lawsuits by the two groups that the University wants dismissed. The judge is expected to issue a decision within the next two to three weeks.

The suits are a sticking point in Rider’s attempts to finalize the move of Westminster from its longtime Princeton location to the University’s Lawrence campus. Westminster has been a part of Rider since the two institutions merged in 1992, but Westminster has remained on its 22-acre campus on Walnut Lane.

Citing financial difficulties, Rider attempted to sell the Westminster campus to a Chinese company but the deal fell through, leading to a decision to consolidate the two schools on the Rider campus. Those opposed to the move say Rider does not have the facilities or capabilities to accommodate the esteemed music school, and the move would lead to its demise. Rider maintains that the consolidation would keep Westminster in business.

It was standing room only in the small courtroom in Trenton where the attorneys presented their arguments. “This is not a case about a school being closed,” said Angelo A. Stio of Pepper Hamilton, the firm representing Rider. “This is a case about a school being saved.” more

A FULL RIDE: Norm Brodsky, left, with Jayla Armani Swann, who won Rider University’s Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition. Her Luxe Brush Company concept won the high school senior a full, four-year scholarship to Rider. (Photo by Peter G. Borg/Rider University)

By Anne Levin

The first time Jayla Armani Swann heard of Rider University was a day before the deadline for the 2019 Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition, which the University holds to reward high school students’ enterprising business ideas. Her guidance counselor, who knew about Swann’s interest in entrepreneurship, told her about the program.

But it was too late to enter. So Swann, a high school senior at Owing Mills High School in Maryland, got busy on a concept that she entered in this year’s competition. On January 25, she was one of nine finalists for the top prize: a full, four-year scholarship to Rider. To her complete shock and amazement, she won.

“It was just the best moment of my life,” Swann said during a phone conversation this week. “I burst into tears. I just couldn’t believe it. I’m just so excited for what my experience will be at Rider.” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra combined two of its outreach missions in one concert last week with a presentation at the Princeton University Art Museum of the New York-based chamber ensemble Music From China. Princeton Symphony has a long history of partnering with the University Art Museum, and last Wednesday’s concerts continued this tradition of pairing music with the art in the exhibits. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “The Eternal Feast:  Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century,” Wednesday’s concerts provided Music From China with the opportunity to introduce the audience to traditional Chinese instruments and repertoire stretching back centuries.

Wednesday afternoon’s concert (the performance was repeated that evening) featured three musicians playing the Chinese erhu, pipa, and zheng. The erhu, a spike fiddle with two silk strings and a small hexagonal sound box covered with snakeskin, is played with a bow threaded between the strings as the player stops the strings with finger pressure to change the pitch. Music From China Artistic Director Wang Guowei has made a career performing on this instrument worldwide and currently conducts the Westminster Choir College Chinese Music Ensemble. The pipa, a pear-shaped fretted lute, has four strings and up to 24 frets, and is plucked or strummed with fingernails to produce a variety of musical effects. Player Sun Li studied the pipa at the Shenyang Music Conservatory and has appeared with U.S. orchestras nationwide. The foundation of the Music From China ensemble sound was the zheng, a zither with 16 metal strings tuned to three pentatonic octaves. Wang Junling learned the instrument in her family, subsequently founding a Zheng Music School in Flushing, New York, to carry on its tradition. more

Lily Arbisser

On March 15 at 4 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton Pro Musica (PPM) honors the life and legacy of Anne Frank, 75 years after her death, with the choral work Annelies. James Whitbourn’s music sets the words of her diary for chorus, soprano, and chamber ensemble.

Whitbourn’s choral setting in Annelies offers a different interpretation of the diary by focusing solely on the central Anne, portrayed by the soprano soloist, expressing in a series of vignettes her inner, spiritual life within the context of observations of the world outside.

Lily Arbisser will be the soprano soloist. Arbisser frequently solos with choral groups in and around New York City, most recently singing in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, both with Princeton Pro Musica. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University with a BA in art and archaeology and a Certificate in Vocal Performance. She holds a Master of Music degree from Mannes College. more

CELEBRATING SAMUEL BARBER: Westminster Choir College’s 2020 Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival will honor the vocal music of Samuel Barber with performances on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, February 29 at 7:30 p.m. The composer is pictured here on the steps of Westminster’s Williamson Hall.

The 2020 Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival will celebrate the vocal music of Samuel Barber, one of America’s most beloved composers, Friday, February 28 and Saturday, February 29 in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster Choir College of Rider University campus in Princeton at 7:30 p.m.

Students will present research papers about Barber at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, February 28. The Festival concerts will feature Westminster students performing a program of published and unpublished works by Barber, accompanied by guest artist and collaborative pianist JJ Penna. more

MUSIC FOR TWO PIANOS: Ena Bronstein Barton and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer will perform Saturday, February 22 at Bristol Chapel, on the Westminster campus.

Pianists Ena Bronstein Barton and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer present an evening of duo piano music on Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University on Walnut Lane. Admission is free.

The program includes Mozart’s Sonata in D, K. 488; Saint-Saëns’ Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, Op. 35; and selections from Stefan Young’s The Thought for the Day: January. They will be joined by guest artists Craig Levesque, horn; Mimi Morris-Kim, cello; and Elizabeth Lee, cello, in Robert Schumann’s Andante and Variations, Op. 46 for two pianos, two cellos, and French horn. more

LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS: Renowned ballet teacher Franco DeVito is among those scheduled to lead classes this summer at Princeton Dance & Theater Studio.

Princeton Dance & Theater Studio (PDT) at Forrestal Village is offering early pricing until March 15 for its annual “iBallet” Summer Intensive and other summer programs.

The studio’s ballet instructors are all fellows of American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum, an eight-level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. The curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels.

The studio offers classes for students of all levels, ages 2.5 through adult. For the youngest dancers, Dance With Me is given throughout the summer, priced at $45-$60 for five or seven 30-minute sessions. For young dancers who are ready to dance alone, PDT offers Saturday Pre-Primary and Primary dance classes as well as the morning camp, Dancing Stars (ages 5-7), which combines dance, crafts, and fun. more

“COLLECTIVE EXPEDITIONS”: An exhibition/installation of works by, clockwise from top left,  Elisa Pritzker, Olivia Baldwin, Kyle Cottier, and Greg Slick is on view February 20 through March 14 at BSB Gallery, 143 East State Street, Trenton. An opening reception is Saturday, February 22, 5 to 7 p.m.

“Collective Expeditions,” on view February 20 through March 14 at BSB Gallery in Trenton, is the second exhibition/installation by the council members of The International Society of Antiquaries [ISA] — Olivia Baldwin, Kyle Cottier, Elisa Pritzker, and Greg Slick. This exhibit features painting, sculpture, and installation.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The ISA is a learned and multidisciplinary society established in 2018. The council of artists have diverse practices. However, their work fits together in complex and interesting ways that speak to the importance of understanding our past — sometimes as far back as prehistory — in order to comprehend who we are as a species. more

“NYSSA”: Photography by Mary Allessio Leck, shown here, and Patricia Bender is featured in “Wisdom of Trees: Art & Science,” on view at the Tulpehaking Nature Center of the Abbott Marshlands in Hamilton February 21 through July 19. An opening reception is Sunday, February 23 from 2 to 4 p.m.

What do we know about trees? How do they survive winter? How do they grow? Do they communicate? What would our world be like without trees?

These are just a few of the questions to keep in mind when exploring the art and (some) science of trees with photographers Patricia Bender and Mary Allessio Leck in “Wisdom of Trees: Art & Science,” on view at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton February 21 through July 19.

An opening reception is Sunday, February 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. more

“MCVICKER AT 90”: An exhibition of works by award-winning Princeton artist Charles McVicker is at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery February 22 through March 14. An opening reception is Saturday, February 22 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton will present “McVicker at 90: A Retrospective,” an exhibition of works by award-winning Princeton artist Charles McVicker, at its Taplin Gallery February 22 through March 14.

An opening reception is Saturday, February 22 from 3 to 5 p.m.

McVicker believes that through art, he is both a reporter and an interpreter. “My paintings are autobiographical in the sense that they are the result of experiences and travels. I paint what I think is important or beautiful,” he says. more

DESIGN PLUS BUILD: “What if you were an architect and you knew how to build well, too. Wouldn’t that be a powerful combination? We’re an architectural design-build company, and we have on-site product capacity. We fabricate every piece here on-site. All the woodworking and metal work is done right here.” Kevin Wilkes, AIA, award-winning architect, founder and managing partner of Princeton Design Guild, is shown in his Belle Mead workshop.

By Jean Stratton

At the age of 9, Kevin Wilkes knew exactly what he wanted to do. And it has all gone according to plan.

“When I was 9, I had Lincoln Logs and erector sets, and I was always building things. My dad was an engineer, my mom was an interior designer, and I just knew I wanted to design and build things.”

While still a senior at Princeton University, he began building a house on the corner of Harrison and Sycamore Streets all on his own, and it still stands today, a testament to his skill and determination.

Also at Princeton, he was able to target his love of the theater by designing sets and costumes for campus shows, and he also studied scenic design. He took time off between sophomore and junior year to work full-time at McCarter Theatre as scenic artist and assistant to the technical director. He also worked in Manhattan as a scenic designer, as well as creating interior designs, such as a new lobby and a second stage for various theaters. more

SUDDEN IMPACT: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Alex Slusher eludes a Monmouth defender last Saturday in the Tigers’ season opener. Freshman midfielder Slusher enjoyed a superb college debut, tallying three goals and an assist as Princeton pulled away to a 20-9 win over the Hawks. In upcoming action, the Tigers play at second-ranked and defending national champion Virginia on February 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden 

Coming all the way from Oregon to play for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team, Alex Slusher experienced some butterflies as he made his college debut last Saturday against Monmouth. more

BEARING DOWN: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evboumwan looks to make a move in recent action. Last Friday, freshman forward Evboumwan scored a team-high 11 points in a losing cause as Princeton fell 88-64 to Yale. Evboumwan and the Tigers bounced back on Saturday as Princeton defeated Brown 73-54 to improve to 11-10 overall and 6-2 Ivy League. The Tigers, who are tied atop the Ivy standings with Yale after the win over the Bears, play at Harvard on February 21 and at Dartmouth on February 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tosan Evboumwan got the weekend off to a good start for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Yale last Friday evening in a battle of Ivy League leaders. more

MAIN LINE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Jeremy Germain, middle, battles for the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, senior forward Germain scored the lone goal for Princeton as it fell 3-1 to No. 5 Clarkson. The Tigers, now 4-17-4 overall and 2-13-3 ECAC Hockey, play at Union on February 21 and at RPI on February 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton University men’s hockey team found itself trailing No. 5 Clarkson 2-0 heading into the third period last Saturday, Jeremy Germain and his teammates weren’t about to throw in the towel. more

BAY WATCH: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Dan Baytin displays his freestyle form in recent action. The addition of freshman star Baytin to the team in January helped PHS go on a stirring run in the state Public B Central Jersey sectional. The third-seeded Tigers advanced to the sectional final where they fell 100-70 to top-seeded and undefeated WW/P-North last Friday to end the winter with a 12-2-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High boys’ swimming team suffered a one-sided 106-64 loss to WW/P-North in the season opener in December, it could have been a big hit to the squad’s confidence. more

MAKING HER POINT: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Ashley Tumpowsky heads upcourt in recent action. Last week, junior point guard and co-captain Tumpowsky scored 10 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 34-30 to Hamilton West in its regular season finale. The Tigers, who moved to 4-16 with the loss in the February 11 contest, start action in the Mercer County Tournament this week where they are seeded 14th and play at third-seeded Notre Dame in a first round contest on February 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the starting point guard for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team, Ashley Tumpowsky concentrates on setting up her teammates to get the offense going. more

CONTINUING TO ADVANCE: Princeton High girls’ fencer and team captain Eleanora Kreike-Martin shows her saber form. With a total of approximately 50 athletes competing for the boys’ and girls’ squads, the program is continuing to make progress.

By Bill Alden

Sam Blanchard got exposed to fencing through taking a PE course at the University of Oregon in the 1980s and he quickly became hooked on the sport. more

TOUGH BRAKE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Chris Brake, right, tangles with a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior captain and forward Brake contributed an assist as top-seeded Hun defeated ninth-seeded Nottingham 6-1 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and moved to 8-13-2. Hun, which has won six straight county crowns, was slated to play fourth seeded Robbinsville in the semis on February 18 with the victor advancing to the title game on February 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a busy day for Chris Brake and the Hun School boys’ hockey team last Wednesday.

In the afternoon, fourth-seeded Hun played at top-seeded Lawrenceville in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) semifinals and battled valiantly in a 2-1 defeat. more

SHERMAN’S MARCH: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player David Sherman heads up the ice in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior star Sherman wrapped up his PDS career as the Panthers fell 3-1 to LaSalle College High (Pa.) in their season finale. PDS ended the winter with a 7-11-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

David Sherman was disappointed that the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team lost 3-1 to LaSalle College High (Pa.) last Wednesday to wrap up its season but that isn’t what will come to his mind when he looks back on his final high school game. more

LAYING DOWN THE LAW: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Ethan Garita goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, junior forward Garita scored 17 points to help second-seeded PDS defeat third-seeded Wardlaw-Hartridge 55-39 in the state Prep B semifinals. The Panthers, who improved to 12-10 with the win, will play at top-seeded Doane Academy in February 23 in the Prep B title game. In addition, PDS will be competing in the Mercer County Tournament where it is seeded eighth and hosts ninth-seeded Lawrence High in an opening round contest on February 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, its 44-42 loss to Montgomery last week was a wake-up call as it girded for playing in the state Prep B semis on Friday. more

February 12, 2020

Members of the Princeton University wrestling program celebrate last Sunday after Travis Stefanik, left, topped Cornell’s Jonathan Loew 10-4 to clinch victory in a 19-13 triumph by Princeton over the Big Red at Jadwin Gym. In beating Cornell, the Tigers handed the Big Red their first Ivy League defeat since 2002 to snap a 92-match league winning streak and earn Princeton’s first Ivy crown since 1986 and the school’s 500th league title overall. For more details on the win, see page 35. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s plan for affordable housing was approved by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson on Friday, February 7. The settlement agreement between the municipality and the Fair Share Housing Center ends litigation dating back to 2015.

The municipality now moves into the compliance phase of the process, with a hearing planned for June. Several steps must be taken before that time, involving zoning changes, agreements, updates, and a spending plan, among other actions.

“There will be several ordinances that Council will be considering, required as part of the plan,” Mayor Liz Lempert said on Monday.

The all-day hearing was held to make sure the plan is fair, and protects the interests of low and moderate income households.

According to Lempert, the town also got positive feedback. ”Judge Jacobson commended Princeton for exceeding its affordable obligation and praised the proposed redevelopment of the Thanet property in particular as both an innovative and realistic financing approach to constructing 100 percent senior affordable housing,” she said in an email. “Adam Gordon of Fair Share Housing Center also spoke in favor of Princeton’s plan and cited Princeton’s existing developments as model examples of how 100 percent affordable and mixed income communities could both be built and operated successfully.” more