July 3, 2024

“THE SOUND OF MUSIC”: Performances are underway for “The Sound of Music.” Presented by Kelsey Theatre and The Yardley Players; and directed by Kristy Davis, the musical runs through July 7 at Kelsey Theatre. Above: Watched suspiciously by the (offstage) Nazis, the Von Trapp Family Singers give a performance on which their lives literally depend. From left are Aurora Quinn (Louisa), Emma Poppell (Brigitta), Gabi Oliano (Gretl), David Nikolas (Captain Von Trapp), Laney Kenwood (Liesl), Lauren Wolensky (Maria), Scarlet Hillman (Marta), Trevin Davis (Kurt), and Joseph Wilson (Friedrich). (Photo by John M. Maurer)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Yardley Players Theatre Company is presenting The Sound of Music at Kelsey Theatre. Kristy Davis directs and choreographs an appealing production that honors the 1965 film adaptation, while accentuating the benefits that a live production can offer the story.

The Sound of Music marks the final collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse is suggested by Maria Augusta Trapp’s memoir The Trapp Family Singers. The show follows Maria’s journey from novice at Nonnberg Abbey to governess for the seven children of the stern widower Captain Von Trapp; and the threat posed to the family by the Anschluss (the Nazi takeover of Austria) in 1938.  more

ROCKING OUT: Members of the cast of “School of Rock” are ready for shows July 12-21 at the Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor.

Can a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher transform nerdy fifth graders at an elite prep school into contenders at the Battle of the Bands? The answer will be revealed when Thank You 5 Productions brings School of Rock to the stage of Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre, July 12-21.

Dewey Finn never quite made it as a rock star, but also never gave up on his rock and roll dreams. So when he manages to impersonate a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school — and becomes enamored with the musical talent of his students — Finn goes to work transforming a class of straight-A fifth graders into a guitar shredding, bass slapping, rock band to compete in the Battle of the Bands. But can he and his students keep this special assignment secret from parents and the school’s headmistress as they learn to fully embrace the power of rock? more

LODGE IS LIVE: John Lodge, right, with Jon Davison and Duffy King, will perform classics from The Moody Blues in a concert on Saturday, July 13 at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. (Photo by Dana Grubb)

State Theatre New Jersey presents The Moody Blues’ John Lodge on Saturday, July 13 at 8 p.m. Lodge, legendary bass player, songwriter, and vocalist of The Moody Blues, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will be live in concert performing the music of The Moody Blues and the album Days of Future Passed.

The show encompasses a first set of electric Moodies classics featuring ‘“Isn’t Life Strange,” “Legend of a Mind,” “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band),” “Ride my See-Saw,” and more. The second set will see Lodge and his band perform the album Days of Future Passed (“Nights in White Satin”) in its entirety, and in full symphonic sound. Jon Davison of YES also joins Lodge on stage to perform the classic songs “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”  more

THREE PIANISTS: German pianists Friedemann Eichhorn, Peter Horr, and Florian Uhlig make up the Phaeton Piano Trio, performing a free concert at Richardson Auditorium on Monday, July 8.

On Monday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m., the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts presents the Phaeton Piano Trio in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. This concert is free and will include Trio in C Major by Haydn; Trio No.1 in D Minor by Felix Mendelssohn, and Trio No. 4 in E Minor, the “Dumky” by Dvorák.

Pianists Friedemann Eichhorn, Peter Hörr, and Florian Uhlig have performed in major cities in Europe and Asia. After their South American debut at the Fondacion Beethoven, Santiago de Chile, the trio celebrated another debut in the U.S. in 2020 with concerts at the Library of Congress, Washington and the Frick Collection, N.Y.. In 2023, the Phaeton Piano Trio performed again in the U.S., and made its debut in Canada as “Ensemble in Residence” at the “musicandbeyond” festival in Ottawa, Canada.

In the 2024/25 season, the trio has been invited back to Ottawa and will perform at festivals in Germany, again in the U.S., and for the first time in China. In addition, two CD recordings are planned for the hänssler classic label in co-production with SWR, including the complete recording of the works for piano trio by Camille Saint-Saens.

For more information, visit princetonsummerchamberconcerts.org or call (609) 570-8404.

“WHISPERS OF TIME”: An exhibition of photographs curated by architectural design specialist Farzaneh Tahmasbi is on view in the Princeton Public Library Reading Room through July 21. An art talk featuring Tahmasbi is scheduled for Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

“Whispers of Time: Exploring Select Iranian Architectural Gems,” an exhibit of photographs curated by architectural design specialist Farzaneh Tahmasbi, is on view in the library’s Reading Room through July 21. An art talk featuring Tahmasbi is scheduled for Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The photographs on display showcase the rich tapestry of Persian architecture and celebrate its timeless beauty, intricate detail and cultural significance. From the majestic domes of mosques adorned with vibrant tile work to the imposing bazaar steeped in centuries of history, each photograph offers a glimpse into the architectural marvels that have shaped Persian culture. The exhibition provides an exploration of various architectural styles, showcasing the diversity and ingenuity of Persian craftsmanship.

A Zoom link will be provided to those who register through the events calendar at princetonlibrary.org.

This fall, viewers are invited to expand their understanding and perception of accessibility through “Smoke & Mirrors,” opening September 4 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University—New Brunswick. This major exhibition features the work of 14 artists with disabilities from across the globe who conceptualize access through humor, antagonism, transparency, and invisibility. The exhibition will run through December 22.

For the non-disabled museumgoer, visiting an art institution is likely an experience with few obstructions. For visitors with disabilities, however, wayfinding through a museum — not to mention, simply accessing the entrance — is challenging. And the barriers are often invisible.

Organized by guest curator Amanda Cachia, a prominent disability arts activist and scholar, this unprecedented exhibition showcases work by artists with disabilities, who are underrepresented in museums. It also encourages visitors with disabilities and their allies to become active participants in telling their own stories. more

“CORNELIA FANNING GAY”: This marble bust by Daniel Chester French is featured in “Monuments and Myths: The America of Sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French,” on view through January 5 at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. (Photo by Bruce Schwartz)

The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., now presents “Monuments and Myths: The America of Sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French,” the first exhibition to explore the intersecting careers and significance of two of America’s most preeminent sculptors of the Gilded Age. The exhibition is on view through January 5.

Daniel Chester French (1850–1931) and Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) were friends and sometimes rivals who transformed sculpture in the U.S. They produced dozens of the nation’s most recognizable public artworks, including French’s Seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Saint-Gaudens’s Diana, which graced the top of Madison Square Garden in New York. more

PULLING IT TOGETHER: Claire Collins, second from right with visor, shows her form while rowing for the U.S. women’s 8. Former Princeton University women’s open crew standout Collins ’19 will be competing in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics for the U.S. 8. It will mark the second appearance at the Olympics for Collins, who helped the U.S. 4 take seventh at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. (Photo by Row2K, provided courtesy of USA Rowing)

By Bill Alden

For Claire Collins, making the U.S. rowing team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 marked a career breakthrough.

“It was pretty eye-opening, it was also the first senior national team that I made,” said Collins, a 2019 Princeton University grad who helped the Tigers earn four Ivy League titles during her college career and won the Otto von Kienbusch award as Princeton’s top senior female athlete.

“I had done the junior national team, I had done the U23. The Olympic team in 2021 was my first senior national team. It was also a really valuable experience as my first race on that level so I was seeing what that level was like. All in all, I would say a lot learned and great experiences.” more

ON POINT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick Kenah, left, races upfield in a game this spring during his senior campaign. Star attackman and Lafayette College commit Kenah tallied 108 points on 61 goals and 47 assists as he helped PHS go 11-8 and advance to the Mercer County Tournament final. Kenah ended up with 372 points in his Tiger career on 217 goals and 155 assists. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Patrick Kenah prepared for senior season with the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team, he put his nose to the grindstone.

“This offseason was super crucial, I wanted to put in the work,” said Kenah. “I knew I needed to have a good season. I wanted to help the team and be a leader of this team. I think I have set myself up well to do that, and I have been put in a good position.”

Senior attackman and Lafayette College commit Kenah achieved that goal, triggering the PHS offense.

After tallying four points in a 15-4 opening day win over WW/P-North, Kenah exploded for nine points on five goals and four assists to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 17-11.

After a tough stretch in mid-April which saw PHS go 2-3, Kenah helped the Tigers get back on track with a 21-11 win over Notre Dame High under the lights at Mercer County Community College, piling up five goals and six assists. more

SETTING THE PACE: Princeton Day School star runner Emily McCann competes in a cross country race during her stellar Panther career. The recently graduated McCann, a Northeastern University track and cross country commit, has been a driving force for the fledging PDS track program as it has grown by leaps and bounds over the last four seasons. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

From its humble start in 2021 as a club program with about 20 athletes that competed in some varsity meets, the Princeton Day School track and field squad has certainly picked up the pace.

This spring, the PDS varsity track team saw its roster swell to 50 with the Panthers finishing third in both the boys’ and girls’ team standings in the Prep B state championship meet. At the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group B championships, the PDS boys and girls each finished 10th in the team standings. The Panthers also sent two girls’ relay quartets to the Penn Relays. more

NO QUIT: Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball player Nano Sarceno launches the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, Princeton High rising senior Sarceno went 1 for 3 with one run to help Post 218 defeat Trenton Post 93/182 8-5. Princeton, now 2-13, plays at South Brunswick Post 401 on July 5, hosts Hamilton Post 31 on July 7, and then plays at Bordentown Post 26 on July 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even as the losses piled up this summer for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team, Pete Nielsen never lost faith in his players.

“We have the ability,” said Post 218 manager Nielsen. “That has been my message throughout the whole season.”

After starting the 2024 season with 12 straight losses in Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL) action, Post 218 displayed its ability, posting a 13-9 win over Broad Street Post 313 on June 23. more

By Bill Alden

For Jay Jackson, playing for the SpeedPro team in the Princeton Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League this year has been a reunion tour.

Jackson, who went to Princeton High for three years and starred in football, basketball, and lacrosse before transferring to the Pennington School, was excited to team up with SpeedPro, which is comprised of recent PHS alums like Judd Petrone, Jack Suozzi, Matt Rinaldi, Brendan Rougas, and Tim Evidente.

“It has been awhile — I grew up with them and we have been playing for a while,” said Jackson, who graduated from Pennington in 2021 and has gone to play college lacrosse at Frostburg State University where he will be a senior this fall. “It is just being able to hang out with the guys on the court. It is nice to be able to get back out on the court with these guys.” more

UNITED WAY: Members of the Princeton FC 2009 United 15U pose for a team photo as they took a break from competing in the United States Youth soccer (USYS) Eastern Regional Presidents Cup in Barboursville, W. Va., last month. PFC ended up going 1-1-1 in group play at the competition as they narrowly missed advancing to the semifinals of the tourney. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Griffin Short, Cesar Carrera, Anthony Morales, Dani Da Costa, Dani Ludewig, Oscar Klein, and Gregoire Stefani. In the back row, from left, are Michael Habingreither, Jason Lee, Kingston Lipsey, Macintyre Jerdonek, Michael Caceres, Rayyaan Mohiuddin, Riccardo Meloni, and Nicolas Savard. Not pictured are Simon Danos, Yash Thakur, David Gajewski, Vivaan Ravindran, and Raphael Borentain.

By Bill Alden

Coming off winning the New Jersey Youth Soccer (NJYS) Presidents Cup in May, the Princeton FC 2009 United 15U boys’ soccer team headed to the USYS Eastern Regional Presidents Cup 2024 in Barboursville, W. Va., in mid-June where they battled hard before getting knocked out in the group stage.

The draw for the regional put the United in the same group with two strong foes from Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

PFC United opened the competition by facing the Southern Chester County Dragons, ranked fifth in the Eastern Pennsylvania region. United got off to a slow start, conceding three goals in the first half on the way to a 5-0 loss. more

June 26, 2024

Despite the excessive heat, the annual Princeton Pride Parade, sponsored by the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ), made its way from the Municipal Building on Witherspoon Street to an After-Party at the Princeton YMCA on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of BRCSJ)

POST OFFICE NO MORE: The Triumph Brewing Company, relocated to the former post office building on Palmer Square, will be reopening this weekend after years of planning, renovation, and reconstruction. The main entrance is located where the post office loading dock used to be, on the opposite side of the building from the old post office entrance. (Photo by Anthony Stull Photography)

By Donald Gilpin

The former post office on Palmer Square is ready for its long-awaited rebirth as the Triumph Brewing Company, with reopening scheduled for this weekend, according to Triumph representative Eric Nutt.

It’s been a difficult birthing process since a plan for renovating the old post office was first presented to the Princeton Planning Board in 2017, but Nutt urges the hungry, thirsty, and/or curious to watch the triumphbrewing.com website for details about the reopening. It could be this Friday, he hinted, but certainly by the last day of the month on Sunday. more

By Anne Levin

A comprehensive community transit program study, focused on how the routes of Princeton’s mini buses can be more effectively used, was approved by Princeton Council at a meeting on Monday, June 24. A resolution to retain Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates Inc., which the town has utilized in the past, was unanimously approved by the governing body.

The idea has been in the works for several years. The goal is to design a program pairing Princeton’s free Muni transit with services “not currently utilized in order to maximize access for all Princeton residents,” Deputy Administrator Deanna Stockton wrote in a memo to Council on June 18. “Consideration will be given to optimize service connections with Princeton University’s Tiger Transit.” more

By Anne Levin

With July 4 falling on a Thursday this year, celebrations of the holiday are being stretched into something more substantial than the traditional three-day weekend. In fact, the lead-up to Independence Day has been building, both locally and beyond, since Juneteenth observances were held a few weeks ago.

From fireworks in Skillman on Thursday, June 26 to a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Trenton on Monday, July 8 — the site, day, and time where it was first read in 1776 — there are many opportunities to celebrate the anniversary of the American colonies’ official separation from Great Britain 248 years ago. more

GOLD MEDAL WINNER: Amy Lin, Princeton High School senior and virtuoso pianist, center, celebrates her Royal Conservatory of Music Gold Medal award, presented to her at Carnegie Hall on January 14. Marvin Blickenstaff and Kairy Koshoeva, her piano teachers at the New School for Music Study in Kingston, join in honoring her. (Photo courtesy of Amy Lin)

By Donald Gilpin

There’s the old joke where the New York City tourist asks a man in the street who’s carrying a violin case, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician’s answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”

For rising Princeton High School (PHS) senior and pianist Amy Lin, the answer might be “practice, practice, practice,” but she also had to win the Gold Medal in the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) National Award, receiving the highest score in the country at the RCM’s top performance level.  more

By Anne Levin

Since Princeton passed a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf-blowers in October 2021, prohibiting their use from May 16 to September 30 and from December 16 to March 14, most residents and landscaping companies have followed the rules and made the switch to less toxic electrical equipment.

But three landscapers and one property owner were recently cited for not complying with the regulations. According to the organization Quiet Princeton, which advocated the development of the ordinance, each were fined $250 and warned that a future violation could result in a $2,000 fine.

“These people are not the majority,” said Anthony Lunn, who with Phyllis Teitelbaum founded Quiet Princeton in 2016. “On the whole, observance of the law has been very good, and we are very fortunate in having the Community Compliance Officer Sandra Garrity, who has been going around and talking to landscapers.” more

THE PATHWAY TO COLLEGE: Since 1970 the 101: Fund has provided need-based college scholarships for Princeton High School graduates. This year’s 101: Fund all-volunteer board, pictured above, awarded scholarships to 30 PHS graduating seniors, and additional funding to support other recent PHS graduates in college. (Photo courtesy of 101: Fund)

By Donald Gilpin

In its 55th year of existence, the 101: Fund recently awarded scholarships to 30 Princeton High School (PHS) graduating seniors. In total the Fund will provide more than $176,000 during the next year to support recent graduates.

This was a record number of scholarship awards to new graduates, with many recipients being the first in their families to attend college.

The featured speaker at the June 10 awards ceremony was Kevin Lara Lemus, a former 101: Fund scholarship award recipient who is a recent graduate of the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) nursing program. He spoke about the significant help that the 101: Fund provided, both financially and through mentorship, during his college experience. more

By Stuart Mitchner

So the first thing I do is buy “Finnegans Wake” and I read a chapter and it’s GREAT and I dug it and I felt like — here’s an old friend!

—John Lennon

John Lennon came into the world on October 9, 1940, a little less than 100 days before James Joyce left it on January 13, 1941. That the singer songwriter from Liverpool and the writer from Dublin arrived and departed in such close proximity should be of no more earthly significance than the fact that Joyce died of natural causes in Zurich four decades before Lennon died violently in New York City. A month before he was murdered, Lennon made sure an image of Finnegans Wake appeared in a video for his song, “Just Like Starting Over.” A copy of the Viking edition is prominently displayed among Lennon’s possessions around 1:17 into the film.  more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Festival switched gears this past Thursday night to chamber music with a return visit from the popular ensemble The Sebastians, which draws its moniker from the middle name of towering Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Surmising that Bach might actually have been called “Sebastian” by his friends, the instrumentalists first came together with the goal of playing “mixed chamber music at a high musical level, with friends.” Twelve members of The Sebastians came to Princeton’s Trinity Church last Thursday night as part of Princeton Festival, performing music of their namesake, as well as Bach’s contemporaries. Demonstrating the range and capabilities of 18th-century strings, flute and harpsichord, the conductor-less chamber orchestra showed how Bach’s influence is still felt to this day.

Although German composer Georg Philipp Telemann was more recognized than Bach in his own lifetime, his music was overshadowed by other 18th-century composers until the early 20th century. Since then, his music has been recognized as equally complex and intricate as the more well-known Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Telemann’s Concerto in A Major for Flute, Violin and Cello was initially published in a collection known as “musique de table,” in the tradition of musicians performing while guests were enjoying a meal. The Sebastians began Telemann’s four-movement work gracefully, with David Ross’ Baroque flute providing a richer and more mellow sound than its 21st-century counterpart.

The combination of a slightly lower Baroque pitch, warm period instruments, and animated music seemed to bring down the temperature on a sultry evening as the ensemble created its own world of precise rhythms and tapered phrase endings. Joining Ross as Concerto soloists were violinist Daniel Lee and cellist Ezra Seltzer. All players watched one another well, with each soloist providing clean melodic passages. The second movement “Allegro” featured Lee and Seltzer in duet under extended trills from Ross. A courtly third movement showed Seltzer plying a wide-ranging cello line, while the light orchestration enabled the audience to hear Kevin Devine’s excellent harpsichord accompaniment.

Violinists Lee and Nicholas DiEugenio were showcased in Telemann’s Gulliver Suite for Two Violins in D Major, inspired by Jonathan Swift’s 1726 satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels. Throughout this narrative piece, Lee and DiEugenio frequently played in pure thirds, effectively bringing to life the Laputians and Lilliputians through fleeting passages played with precision and a bit of humorous acting at the close.

The Sebastians are known for Bach, and even with one Brandenburg Concerto cut from Thursday’s program, there was plenty of the Baroque master to enjoy. Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major was the only one of Bach’s set of six pieces that did not use violins; the composer scored the three-movement work instead to feature two violas da braccio, which were relatively new at the time and which were expertly played in this performance by Jessica Troy and Kyle Miller. The orchestration often juxtaposed the violas against two more familiar violas da gamba, stylistically played by Matt Zucker and Adrienne Hyde. The Concerto’s key of B-flat and the absence of violins kept the texture mellow, as Troy and Miller maintained a lively dialog with cellist Ezra Seltzer and the two da gambas provided a solid foundation to the sound. Cadences were short and clean, and phrases well tapered. The third movement gigue-like “Allegro” was chipper without being too fast, and was especially noteworthy for Seltzer’s nimble cello lines.

The closing Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major brought the strings of The Sebastians to the stage, with the resulting performance being energized and refreshing. Quick thematic passages were passed down the row of violins and then to the violas, and the instrumentalists showed uniform dynamic contrasts. The second movement “Adagio” was originally composed as only two notes, with the intention that players would improvise a bridge between the two faster movements. Violinist Lee provided a quick improvisation over the two harmonic chords, before the orchestra was off to the races again to close the concert in spirited 18th-century fashion.

“AN EVENING WITH SANTINO FONTANA”: The Princeton Festival has presented “An Evening with Santino Fontana.” Broadway and film star Santino Fontana (above) performed a program of highlights from musical theater and animated films. Fontana was accompanied by pianist Cody Owen Stine. (Photo by Princeton Symphony Orchestra staff)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

An Evening with Santino Fontana” has concluded the Princeton Festival’s season. The June 22 concert took place in the festival’s performance tent on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden.

A debonair baritone, Fontana entertained the audience with standards from Broadway musicals and one animated film. Pianist Cody Owen Stine accompanied the singer on all but one selection. In between songs, Fontana shared amusing anecdotes about his experiences performing onstage and in studios. more

HONOR FOR A PRINCETONIAN: Jane Cox, left, shown here with her daughter Beckett Alexander, was awarded the 2024 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play. (Photo courtesy Jane Cox)

On June 16, Jane Cox, director of Princeton University’s Lewis Center Program in Theater and Music Theater, won the 2024 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play for her work on Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s play, Appropriate.

This is Cox’s fourth nomination and first win. Appropriate received the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Jacobs-Jenkins is a member of Princeton’s Class of 2006 and of the Lewis Center’s Advisory Council, and has taught in the Theater Program at Princeton. The production garnered a third Tony, for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, for Sarah Paulson. more

As part of the last few days of the 2024 Princeton Festival, held on the grounds of Morven, the June 19 Juneteenth Celebration culminated in a concert honoring Black choral music conducted by Vinroy D. Brown Jr. Anchored by The Capital Singers of Trenton, singers from area choirs combined to lend their voices to Robert Ray’s “Gospel Mass” and other choral selections. (Photo by Princeton Symphony Orchestra Staff)