November 23, 2022

KEY PERFORMER: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Alysse Kiesewetter, right, marks a foe in a game this fall. Junior defender/midfielder Kiesewetter starred at both ends of the field for PHS as it went 8-8-2 this fall. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ soccer team ended its season by losing 2-0 to Manalapan in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional tournament, Dave Kosa believed the score didn’t reflect how his squad battled.

“We played really well, a couple of things didn’t go our way,” said PHS head coach Kosa, reflecting on the effort he got from 11th-seeded PHS as it battled a sixth-seeded Manalapan squad that ended up advancing to the sectional final. “We had a goal called back on an offsides on a direct kick which you don’t normally see. On the second goal, the ball went out on the touchline, we thought it was ours. They scored on a corner. You take those two things and maybe it is 1-1 instead of 2-0. What we take out of it is that when we are playing our best, we can hang with the best teams.”

PHS didn’t play its best down the stretch as it lost six straight games to finish the fall with an 8-8-2 record, struggling to find the back of the net.

“We had a lot of injuries, we have five, six girls on the sidelines, that hurts,” said Kosa. “Throughout the season, even when were 8-2-2, we weren’t scoring a lot. We would win 2-1, 1-0.”

Kosa was proud of how his players stuck with things as they dealt with adversity. more

JACK SHOW: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Jack Serxner boots the ball in a game this fall. Senior defender Serxner starred for PHS as it went 8-8-1 this season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Getting off to a 7-1 start this fall, the Princeton High boys’ soccer team appeared to be on the way to another banner season.

But getting hit with a rash of injuries and plagued by a lack of scoring punch, PHS limped home to finish with an 8-8-1 record, falling 3-0 to Howell in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional in its season finale.

Despite the late season slump, PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe enjoyed the ride this fall.

“It is a young team; Ryan (assistant coach Ryan Walsh) and I had the most rewarding experience working with them every day with their quality, their perseverance, and their honesty,” said Sutcliffe. “They are all good players, they are just a little young. It was a great season, you are dealt these things.”

Unfortunately, dealing with injuries became a theme of the 2022 campaign.

“We had a plethora of injuries; at one point late in the season, we had four starters injured and those four guys were perhaps the most experienced players,” said Sutcliffe, who lost his top returning scorer Richard Wegmann to injury before the season even started and saw such stars as Felipe Matar Grandi, Nick Matese, and Emanuel Noyola sidelined by knocks at times this fall. more

IN TOUCH: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Todd Devin dribbles the ball in a game this fall. Sophomore Devin was a standout this fall for PDS as it went 3-11-4 and advanced to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B South Jersey quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team fell behind 3-0 at St. Rose in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B South Jersey quarterfinals earlier this month, it would have been understandable if it threw in the towel.

Instead, PDS scored three straight goals to make it a 3-3 game late in the second half.

While the Panthers ended up losing 4-3, PDS head coach Brian Thomsen was proud of the way his squad battled to the final whistle.

“The boys have always had fight,” said Thomsen, who got goals from Raag Desikan, Yaseen Mousa, and Aaron Herscovici in the loss as his team ended the fall with a 3-11-4 record. “They have been very unlucky with the outcomes.”

Despite the paucity of wins as it played a challenging schedule, the PDS players didn’t get discouraged.

“If you look at who we played against, we had one of the tougher schedules in the area,” said Thomsen. “I am not very happy about the record itself. But from a culture standpoint and everything, when you see the boys with the record that they have, you would think that they would stop caring about coming to practice and the practices would get worse and worse. The boys actually didn’t want it to end; it was pretty close in that last game, we almost did it.” more

GETTING HER KICKS: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Adriana Salzano kicks the ball in recent action. Junior star Salzano scored a team-high 12 goals this fall to spark the PDS attack. The Panthers posted a final record of 12-7, advancing to the Prep B state semifinal and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A quarters. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Chris Pettit, this fall ended up being the “nearly” season for his Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team.

Competing in three postseason tournaments, PDS showed flashes of brilliance but fell short of playing for a title, advancing to the Prep B state semis, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A quarters, and losing on a late goal in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals.

While Panther head coach Pettit, whose team ended up with a 12-7 record, would have liked to see his young squad play for a championship, he saw plenty of progress.

“There were a lot of positives,” asserted Pettit. “Shelby [Ruf] did great in goal, we tightened it up defensively and we gave a lot of minutes to our freshmen. We improved in certain areas that we worked on. We didn’t really give up many goals from corners and we scored a lot of corners. Things like that were positives.”

In a 3-2 overtime loss to Rutgers Prep in Prep B semis, PDS produced one of its best efforts of the fall.

“We were winning 2-1 for a good portion of the second half and they scored with the last kick of the game,” said Pettit, who got two goals from junior star Adriana Salzano in the defeat. “We ran out of steam a little bit and we were hanging on for the last few minutes of extra time with a couple of minutes away from it going to penalties, and they scored again. On the bus going there and from the moment we started warming up, you could see the girls were laser-focused. They really embraced that underdog mentality. We talked a couple of weeks after that game and talked about how do we bring that every weekend. It was a good game.” more

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR: Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS) boys’ soccer player Oliver Gao shows his form in a game this fall. Senior Gao helped lead the way as the PRISMS squad went 2-3-2 under new head coach Jay James May. (Photo provided courtesy of PRISMS)

By Bill Alden

Growing up in soccer-mad England, Jay James May fell in love with the game at an early age.

“We all play, it is like a religion with the approach to it and how you feel about it,” said May. “Every time you have a break you are out playing football. You are on the field as much as you can. I played a lot as a teenager.”

In his 20s, May devoted his energy to academics, matriculating to the University of Sussex, where he was awarded a trio of prizes, including highest-ranked student in its School of English. He later earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of York. May then got into education, teaching worldwide, beginning in his native England before teaching in Spain and China for 10 years.

During his five-year stint teaching in China, May made his debut coaching soccer.

“China is where I really started coaching because they had a gap for it at the school,” said May. “I coached our house team, the schools are divided into houses and you get a quarter of the population.”

Coming to Princeton this past summer to teach English at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS), May took on a labor of love, becoming the head coach of its boys’ soccer team.

At the outset, May wasn’t sure what he had in terms of the talent on hand. more

FAST COMPANY: The top three female finishers in the HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon are all smiles after the race which took place on November 13. Pictured, from left, are Sarah Walker (3rd place), Valentyna Veretska (1st), and former WW/P-South and Cornell track and cross country star Caroline Kellner (2nd). Veretska, who recently came to the U.S. from Ukraine, set a new female course record with her time of 1:18.06. Princeton resident Kanato Goto placed first of 1,383 finishers in a time of 1:11.07. (Photo provided by HiTOPS)

By Bill Alden

Setting the pace at the 10th annual HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon, Kanato Goto placed first of 1,383 finishers in the November 13 event.

Princeton resident Goto, 33, covered the challenging 13.1 mile course in a time of 1:11.07. 

But perhaps the most emotional and historic performance at the race was produced by Valentyna Veretska, who recently came to the U.S. from Ukraine. Veretska was the first women’s finisher and third overall, clocking a time of 1:18.06 to set a new female course record.

Veretska, 32, is an accomplished runner and is ranked 444th in the world of female runners. One of her many accomplishments in the sport include winning the Jerusalem Marathon one month to the day after fleeing Ukraine, wearing borrowed gear and without her coach (and husband). Her husband and daughter were on the sidelines in Princeton to cheer her on.

After the race, she posted a heartfelt message on her social media account.

“Finally my first steps in sports life in USA are made,” wrote Veretska. “It’s a cold rainy day today, but that didn’t stop it. The competition was great! Friendly almost family atmosphere, support throughout the race track, many new acquaintances and a lot of kind words in support of Ukraine. Princeton you will forever be in my heart. First place with a record of a race for not an easy track.”

Additional history was made by Amy Read, 28, of Pennington, who set the a new nonbinary course record with a time of 1:52:43, besting the previous mark of 2:24.28 set in 2019. more

November 16, 2022

An in-person service last Friday morning at the Princeton University Chapel was followed by a swearing-in ceremony on the steps for new cadets and midshipmen, conducted by the Princeton ROTC programs. At noon, American Legion Post 218 held a Centennial Charter Celebration. Attendees share why the celebration is important to them in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Hendricks S. Davis)

By Donald Gilpin

Incumbents Susan Kanter, Dafna Kendal, and Debbie Bronfeld appear to be winners in the 2022 Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) election, though provisional and some mail-in ballots are still to be counted. The result will not be official until certified by the county clerk by November 21.

Voting machine failures and a problem with temporarily missing ballots from three Princeton precincts delayed the count, but by late Friday afternoon, November 11, ballots from the three precincts had been tallied, along with those of Princeton’s 19 other precincts, early votes, and mail-ins that arrived by Election Day on November 8.

Kanter with 3,744 votes (24.9 percent), Kendal with 3,516 votes (23.4 percent), and Bronfeld with 3,325 votes (22.1 percent) seem to have secured re-election for another three-year term on the PPS Board. Challengers Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky with 2,716 votes (18.1 percent) and Lishian “Lisa” Wu with 1,733 votes (11.5 percent) have fallen short.

The leading incumbents chose not to comment on the election, and significance of vote totals, until the results are official.

In the election for two seats on Princeton Council, Democrats Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros were running unopposed for a second term. Sacks has so far received 5,496 votes, Lambros 5,405. more

By Donald Gilpin

At its Monday, November 14 meeting Princeton Council passed unanimously a resolution authorizing payment of up to $43,850 to complete an asbestos abatement project at the Veblen House in Herrontown Woods.

“This is a big step ahead for us,” said Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) Board President Stephen Hiltner, noting the assistance of town officials led by Municipal Open Space Manager Cindy Taylor, as well as Land Use Engineer Jim Purcell and Deputy Administrator and Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton.

“They’ve been great to work with as we prepare for the removal, protecting the house’s custom woodwork and identifying the location of asbestos-coated heat ducts in the walls,” Hiltner added.

In 2017 Mercer County, which owned the Veblen property, was planning to demolish the buildings at Herrontown Woods, but Hiltner and the FOHW were able to persuade the town to take ownership of Herrontown Woods along with $100,000 that would be held by the town in case demolition became necessary in the future.

“The town is expecting us to raise all funds needed to repair and repurpose the buildings, but because asbestos would need to be removed even if the Veblen House were to be demolished, the town has agreed to pay for the removal,” Hiltner said.

He continued, “The removal of the asbestos will create a clean slate for us to begin renovations. We’re grateful to the town for helping us with all of this.” more

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: Chris Knigge, left, along with Princeton Councilmembers David Cohen and Michelle Pirone Lambros, worked on issues of traffic, transit, pedestrians, bicycles, and parking as one of nine teams at a November 12 workshop and listening session sponsored by Princeton Future. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Future)

By Donald Gilpin

The topic was circulation and mobility in the town of Princeton, and the discussion was lively on Saturday, November 12 in Erdman Hall of the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Cooper Center in a three-hour open public meeting sponsored by Princeton Future.

One in a series of Princeton Future’s listening sessions “to inform and engage residents as the town prepares its new Community Master Plan,” the work of the group is “intended to complement the official master planning process by the Princeton Planning Board.”

“It’s really about listening to what the people in town have to say, and the more we can do to help the town make the decisions that are the most appropriate the better off we’ll be,” said Tony Nelessen, Rutgers University professor emeritus of urban design and a member of the Council of Princeton Future.

Nelessen, who led Saturday’s workshop, continued, “We’re saying this is what people told us. You should consider this in some form or another and allow it to help you make these decisions that have to be made in order to keep the town the kind of town everybody wants now, and into the future.”

Saturday’s participants divided into nine teams, and each team focused on a large map of a particular section of town. Colored markers and symbols were provided to designate what streets and routes participants thought needed various types of improvements, and where bus stops and parking should be.  more

MUSICAL MATCHMAKING: The stage of Richardson Auditorium, shown here at a performance by the Calidore String Quartet, will be the setting for Princeton University Concerts’ upcoming “Do-Re-Meet” series of social events for music lovers. (Photo by Andrew Wilkinson)

By Anne Levin

During the pandemic, Marna Seltzer and Dasha Koltunyuk had a regular date watching the television series The Bachelor together, from their respective homes. The popular show about looking for love gave Seltzer, the director of Princeton University Concerts (PUC), and Koltunyuk, PUC’s outreach manager, an idea: Why not a concert series built around bringing people together for romance or companionship?

That germ of an idea has morphed into “Do-Re-Meet — Social Events for Music Lovers,” a three-concert series that begins December 13 with an evening geared to those seeking heterosexual connections, including a concert by tenThing Brass Ensemble. It continues March 26 with a session for individuals looking for friendship, and a concert by the Chiaroscuro Quartet; and concludes April 12 with an event for LGBTQ+ music-loving singles at a concert featuring jazz vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant.

“We wanted to make sure the program was inclusive and didn’t leave anybody out,” said Seltzer. “If people from different interests and age groups are looking to connect with others for love, friendship, or making work connections, we want them to be a part of this.”

Once Seltzer and Koltunyuk, who met her husband at a concert, settled on the idea, they started brainstorming. “We began googling around about speed-dating, and we found this company The Singles Group run by Risa Glaser Grimaldi,” said Seltzer. “We called her, and she immediately wanted to meet with us. It turns out she is a music lover. Her brother is the conductor of the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra. It was just meant to be.”

Grimaldi is enthusiastic about the concept. “I’m so excited, because after 16 years of running all kinds of singles groups, this is the first one that’s music-oriented,” she said. “I’m thrilled, because meeting people with a common interest is the best way to go.”

The December 13 event begins with eight-minute speed-dating and ice-breaker games at the University’s Maclean House. Next is the holiday concert by tenThing Brass Ensemble, part of PUC’s “Up Close” series, next door at Richardson Auditorium. The participants, who are divided into three age groups (“Do” is 24-39, “Re” is 40-59, and “Mi” is 60-plus) will sit together at a special section in the balcony, near the stage. more

EMPLOYMENT MILESTONES: Members of the Princeton Police Department were among the municipal employees honored for their service on Monday. From left: Chief Jonathan Bucchere, Captain Christopher Tash, Sergeant Thomas Murray, Detective Sergeant Ben Gering, Officer Jennifer S. Gering, and Patrolman Jonathan Myzie.

By Anne Levin

Each year, the Municipality of Princeton pays tribute to those who have reached employment milestones — five years, 10 years, 20, 25, 30, and retirement. From vehicle maintenance and construction to police and serving on Princeton Council, these individuals get special recognition.

The municipality held the 2022 Employee Service Awards Ceremony on Monday, November 14, at the Suzanne Patterson Center, honoring 36 people who have given nearly 400 years of combined service to the town. Deb Mercantini, a municipal employee and longtime Princeton Environmental Commission secretary who died last March, was honored posthumously.

Mayor Mark Freda, who was in attendance along with members of Council, praised the employees for their past and ongoing contributions. “I congratulate these individuals on reaching important career milestones,” he said. “Their dedication is inspiring, and we are all grateful for their day-to-day commitment to our community and to the Municipality of Princeton.”

Later in the day at a meeting of the Council, Princeton Police Captain Jonathan Bucchere was sworn in as new police chief, and Lieutenant Christopher Tash was sworn in as new police captain. Because of the pandemic, the most recent swearing-in ceremony, two years ago, was held virtually. Monday’s event took place at the beginning of the Council meeting, starting with an honor guard procession in front of an audience of nearly 50 people. Bucchere replaces the recently retired Chief Christopher Morgan, who was in the audience, as was his predecessor, former Chief Nicholas Sutter.

The employees who are retiring are: Thomas R. Murray III, police (31 years); Olivia R. Kidd, finance (31 years); Joseph Sekeras, buildings and grounds (26 years); Keith Wood, sewer (24 years); Joseph P. Scullion, recreation (15 years); Richard Decker, engineering (8 years); as well as Debra Mercantini, clerk, honored posthumously (25 years). more

By Anne Levin

Following a ceremony marking the swearing in of new Police Chief Jonathan Bucchere and Captain Christopher Tash at Princeton Council’s meeting on Monday evening, November 14, the governing body introduced some ordinances, approved others, and heard reports.

Among the reports was the first phase of the Witherspoon Street Improvement Project. Land Use Engineer Jim Purcell said work will temporarily shut down on December 10 and resume around the beginning of 2023, to allow for holiday-related shopping and dining.

The project has been delayed due to several utility conflicts over the past few weeks.

“When they [workers] leave, the roadway will be open to the traffic, the service lane will be open for loading and unloading, and the extended curb at Spring Street will be completed,” he said. “Remaining work to be done will be to replace the existing sidewalk currently used by pedestrians.”

Purcell added that the entire site “will be left in safe condition. We’ll work with them to make sure that everything remains safe and clear for the month they’ll be gone.”

Scheduled reports on the Special Improvement District and the Climate Action Plan were tabled, as were an ordinance related to public parking spaces for charging electric vehicles and a settlement agreement with Princeton Community Television.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

I believe that if people would learn to use LSD’s vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonder child.

—Dr. Albert Hofmann (1906-2008)

Lately it’s all about winning and losing, baseball and politics, the Phillies roaring into the World Series with seemingly unstoppable momentum and losing it in six games while across the state in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are losing 100 games for the second year in a row. Three days later as America goes to the polls, Pennsylvania Republicans are rolling down the yellow brick road to Oz, until a giant in a hoodie blocks the way. He’s from a town near Pittsburgh, half a year this side of a stroke, his communication skills may be flawed, his control can be concerning, but in pitching terms, he’s still got good stuff, plus he’s come back from the brink and when he says he stands for anyone that ever got knocked down and got back up, it means something. And when he says health care came through for him and should be there for everyone who needs it, he knows because he’s been there. Meanwhile, the Dr. Oz express is spinning its wheels as the yellow brick road turns to dust and the vision of the Emerald City Senate vanishes, leaving nothing behind but a Mar-a-Lago mirage fading in the Red State sky.

The  Fox

A fox crossed my path twice in broad daylight on Election Day. He looked to be a thoughtful, modest, easygoing, philosophical sort of animal the way he moved, like the word philosophical come to life, a five-syllable fox, a serious word-fox. Although I only saw him for a moment, both times, having slowed instinctively, no need for screeching brakes, no cause for alarm, the sight of a fox trotting across Harrison Street left me feeling stupidly, irresponsibly hopeful, something I remembered later that night when the Dems rallied nationwide. After doing some cursory online research about foxes and omens, I found a website — aboutspiritual.com — that says seeing a fox is not only a good sign, it may indicate “the appearance of a new perspective in your life.” more

By Nancy Plum

Anything lasting 100 years deserves recognition. Centenaries are observed by individuals, civic organizations and even buildings, but in these times, a musical organization which has thrived for 100 years merits a particular reason to celebrate. On November 27, 1922, a new-formed orchestral ensemble of 19 string players gave a modest concert of Purcell, Saint-Saëns, and Victor Herbert at New Jersey’s Montclair Art Museum. Almost 100 years later to the day, what is now New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) presented a concert featuring a world-renowned cellist in a state-of-the-art concert hall to an audience of more than 2,500. Over the past century, NJSO has grown in tandem with the state of New Jersey to a full orchestra with five concert homes in the state, as well as a virtual presence. Currently under the musical leadership of conductor Xian Zhang, NJSO kicked off its 100th anniversary festivities this past Saturday night at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center with a sold-out gala and concert highlighting the orchestra players and guest cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 

Saturday night’s performance at NJPAC included accolades from community and political leaders fitting for the occasion, as well as a contemporary work co-commissioned by NJSO from legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Premiered by the orchestra last January, Marsalis’ Herald, Holler and Hallelujah was scored for 19 brass and percussion players, paying tribute to the original members of the NJSO. Playing from boxes on one side of the hall and led by conductor Xian Zhang from the stage, the brass players were joined by five percussionists who added rhythmic drive and character to the music. Marsalis drew this work’s musical influence from marching band and big band styles, as well as his trademark mastery of jazz. With the brass ensemble on one side facing across the hall, the unorthodox harmonies of the piece were occasionally diffuse in the space, but the passages that captured the New Orleans “second line” funeral tradition worked particularly well. 

While the Marsalis piece was rooted in truly American jazz and blues, the work which featured Ma with New Jersey Symphony was influenced by the composer’s time in New York City. Czech composer Antonín Dvorák spent several years in New York City in the 1890s, and although his Cello Concerto in B minor was completed when he had returned to Europe, the concept for the work was from Dvorák’s time in the United States. Ma’s career has been as much about collaboration as solo concertizing, and his performance of this concerto with NJSO was a true partnership from the opening rolling passages. Conductor Zhang led soloist and orchestra in a dramatic first movement, with Ma’s exquisite solo lines well punctuated by the winds. Fast moving solo passages spoke well in the hall, and Ma effectively handled shifts between lyrical and more frenetic styles. The first movement “Allegro” was also marked by a clean quartet of horns and clear solo wind lines, including from clarinetist Pascal Archer and flutist Bart Feller. Cello and flute were often in duet throughout the concerto, and despite the distance between the two players, Ma and Feller were in solid communication and dialog. more

“Mozart & Contemporaries”: Pianist Vikingur Ólafsson makes his Princeton University Concerts debut on November 20 at Richardson Auditorium. (Photo by Ari Magg)

Pianist Vikingur Ólafsson brings his trademark ability to breathe new life into classical convention to Richardson Auditorium on Sunday, November 20 at 3 p.m. His program, “Mozart & Contemporaries,” presented by Princeton University Concerts (PUC), invites audiences to rediscover Mozart by setting his work within the framework of his contemporaries.

The recent Deutsche Grammophon recording of this program has topped international charts, been streamed over two hundred million times, and won several awards.

“This is an artist that I have been very eager to bring to Princeton for a while,” said PUC Director Marna Seltzer. “I had the opportunity to hear this very same program live at Carnegie Hall last year and I was completely spellbound. Víkingur has such a refreshing and sincere voice; he cares deeply about his listeners and their experience of his programs, and I cannot wait for our audience to experience his magic in the first of what I hope will be several visits to Princeton.” more

SALSA AT THE STATE: Grupo Niche, Colombian salsa kings, come to the State Theatre New Jersey on November 19.

The State Theatre New Jersey, 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, presents the return of Colombian salsa kings Grupo Niche on Saturday, November 19 at 8 p.m. Often called the “Salsa Experience,” the band performs a range of up-tempo dance music as well as romantic numbers. 

Founded in 1980 by Jairo Varela and Alexis Loano in Bogota, Colombia, Grupo Niche is one of Latin America’s most popular acts. Their first major success was the release of Querer es Poder and the single “Buenaventura y Caney.” In 1984, the band produced its signature song “Cali Pachanguero,” a hit tribute to the world salsa capital. Other hits include “Cali Ají,” “Sin Sentimientos,” “Una Aventura,” and “Gotas de Lluvia.”

Visit STNJ.org for tickets, which range from $25-$155.

SONGS OF THE SEASON: Broadway singer Janet Dacal is guest artist with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra at its annual Holiday POPS! Concert, which is conducted by Rossen Milanov and also features the Princeton High School Choir.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) holds its Holiday POPS! Concert, featuring Broadway singer Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Prince of Broadway, Wonderland, The Band’s Visit–National Tour), on December 17 at 3 and 6 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium. PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov conducts.

Dacal performs songs from the stage and screen, while the Princeton High School Choir adds its voices to traditional carols. Orchestral pieces include Nigel Hess’ A Christmas Overture, music from Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride.  more

WESTMINSTER IN NEW YORK: A rehearsal of “El Mesias: Handel’s Messiah for a New World” led by Tyler Weakland, assistant conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir. (Photo by Peter G. Borg/Rider University)

Rider University’s Westminster Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Dr. James Jordan, conductor, will perform El Mesías: Handel’s Messiah for a New World on Sunday, November 20 at Christ Church NYC, 524 Park Avenue, in Manhattan. The choir will be joined by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the performance will be led by guest conductor Ruben Valenzuela, artistic director of the Bach Collegium San Diego.

“I am so pleased for Symphonic Choir to be working in collaboration with Maestro Valenzuela and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s on this project,” said Jason Vodicka ’03, ’09, associate dean of Rider’s College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of music education at Westminster Choir College. “Hearing Handel’s Messiah sung in Spanish brings a fresh, new perspective to the work, and the opportunity for our students to work with these world class musicians is second to none.” more

HOLIDAY CONCERT: Celebrated songstress Patti LaBelle performs holiday classics at the State Theatre New Jersey December 1.

State Theatre New Jersey celebrates the holiday season on Thursday, December 1 at 8 p.m. with Patti LaBelle, who will perform holiday classics and her hit songs. Tickets are $49-$209.

LaBelle has performed a variety of genres throughout her versatile career including rhythm and blues renditions, pop standards, and spiritual sonnets. Her hits include “If Only You Knew,” “When You Talk About Love,” “New Attitude,” “Stir It Up,” and “Lady Marmalade.” 

In addition to her busy touring schedule, LaBelle has written six books, Don’t Block the Blessings, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, Patti’s Pearls, Patti LaBelle’s Lite Cuisine, Recipes for the Good Life and Desserts LaBelle. Recently, she released a 20th anniversary edition of her New York Times best-selling cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine, featuring three new recipes.  

Additionally, LaBelle has been featured in popular films and television programs including A Soldier’s Story, A Different World, American Horror Story, Empire, Star, and The Kominsky Method, and starred in her own TV series, Out All Night. She has also appeared on Dancing with the Stars and The Masked Singer, and starred in Broadway productions of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, Fela, and After Midnight. 

The State Theatre is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick. Visit STNJ.org for tickets and more information. 

“STORMY SKIES OVER APPLE TREES”: This work by Joelle Hofbauer was awarded Best In Show at the “In Celebration of Old Trees” art show, on view November 19 through December 11 at Terhune Orchards. An opening reception is on Saturday, November 19 from 1-3 p.m.

The “In Celebration of Old Trees” art show will be on view in Terhune Orchards’ 200-year-old barn from November 19 through December 11. In the exhibit, 34 paintings and photographs by noted artists tell the story of Terhune’s century-old apple trees. Michael Madigan, well-known local artist, judged the entries. Joelle Hofbauer received Best in Show for her work Stormy Skies Over Apple Trees. She and all the artists will be honored at a reception on Saturday, November 19 from 1-3 p.m.

Some of the artists will be available to discuss their work with the public at the reception. Select pieces will be for sale. No admission fee is required.

Visitors are invited to stay for a tour of the old apple tree orchard led by Pam and Gary Mount. Gary Mount will give a short reading from his book, A Farmer’s Life, featuring the chapter “Joy of Planting Trees.”

The exhibit will be on view on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. through December 11.

Terhune Orchards is located at 330 Cold Soil Road. For more information, call (609) 923-2310 or visit terhunerochards.com.

ARTIST TALKS SERIES: Member artist Pamela Somer-Pagan will open the new series at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center on November 17 at 7 p.m. Somer-Pagan, a resin artist, will share insights into her practice, techniques, and process, in addition to demonstrating how she creates her pieces.

On Thursday, November 17, at 7 p.m., artist Pamela Somer-Pagan will open the new Artist Talks series at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center. Princeton Makes member Somer-Pagan, a resin artist known for abstract works, will share insights into her practice, techniques, and process, in addition to demonstrating how she creates her pieces.

The Princeton Makes Artist Talks series, part of the cooperative’s new programming initiatives, will provide the public a monthly opportunity, every third Thursday, to learn about and from its creatives.

Somer-Pagan’s creative focus is abstract resin art. She likes her abstractions to bring joy, often through geometric shapes. “My training and background are in fashion design, and as a result I bring shapes, color, and line to all of my artwork,” said Somer-Pagan. “These things inspire me and make me happy. I like my art to be modern, bright, and clean to inspire happiness. I am drawn to simple and clean, but never basic.”

She was educated in fashion and design at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning; the Fashion Institute of Technology; and Parsons School of Design. Her work can be found in homes from the New York/New Jersey area, Florida, the Midwest, Canada, and Israel, to name a few. more

“LIBERATED AMERICAN WOMAN OF THE 1970S”: This 1997 work is featured in “Samuel Fosso: Affirmative Acts,” on view November 19 through January 29 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish gallery in Palmer Square.

Beginning November 19, the Princeton University Art Museum will present “Samuel Fosso: Affirmative Acts,” the first major U.S. survey of one of the most renowned contemporary artists based in Africa today. The exhibition — curated by Princeton University Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu with Silma Berrada, Lawrence Chamunorwa, Maia Julis, and Iheanyi Onwuegbucha — will be on view at Art on Hulfish in downtown Princeton through January 29 and will offer U.S. audiences an introduction to one of the best-known photographers from the African continent on the international scene.

Fosso’s intimate self-portraits, which he began shooting when he was about 13, explore identity, social history, and the impact of colonialism on the African continent. The earliest work in the exhibition, which includes more than 20 pictures drawn mostly from The Walther Collection, was shot in 1975, when the young Fosso opened his first studio in the Central African Republic. After spending each day taking pictures of clients, Fosso used leftover film to take self-confident photos of himself to send to his grandmother in Nigeria.

In 1997 Fosso, by then an established artist, earned a commission from the French retailer Tati for 12 self-portraits wearing the styles of the day. The images — the first Fosso took in color — depict the artist as a golfer, a lifeguard, and a bourgeois woman, among other personalities, suggesting the flexibility of identity, social class, and gender. The series earned him the moniker “the man with a thousand faces.” Just over a decade later, Fosso broadened his interest in identity with his series African Spirits (2008), wherein he dressed himself up as 14 icons of Black liberation (including Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, and Malcolm X) to celebrate and pay homage to their transformative political work. Works from both series, drawn from The Walther Collection, will be on view. more

“BEST FRIENDS”: Acrylic and watercolor paintings by Princeton artist David Meadow are on view at The Present Day Club on Stockton Street through December 16.

The Present Day Club now presents local artist David Meadow in a one-man exhibition featuring more than 55 acrylic and watercolor paintings.

Meadow, whose work has been accepted by many juried shows including those at Phillips’ Mill, Ellarslie, and Artists of Yardley, is considered one of the area’s up-and-coming artists. His art spans realism to Impressionism, employing light and color to draw the viewer into the setting. 

“I want my art to be accessible and pleasing to view, while conveying some aspect of the human condition,” said Meadow. “As a lifelong resident of the area, the settings are often based on scenes I know well in New York, Philadelphia, and closer to home in New Hope, Lambertville, and the Sourland Mountains. I was excited to be able to show many of my works in one setting when The Present Day Club opportunity was presented to me.” 

The show is on view through December 16 at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street. Call (609) 924-1014 for gallery hours. 

To see his artwork online, visit davidmeadow.com.

“CAROUSEL”: Jim Irvine’s mixed media work is featured in “Intersection: Four Voices in Abstraction,” on exhibit through January 27 at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach. An artists’ reception will be held on December 4 from 2-5 p.m.

“Intersection: Four Voices in Abstraction,” on view through January 27 at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach, features the work of Hunterdon Art Museum member artists Terri Fraser, Jim Irvine, Florence Moonan, and Catherine Suttle. Each has a history of receiving awards, selection for multiple exhibitions, and being acquired for private collections.

Curator David Lawson said, “With this group of four very distinct voices, I wanted to not only explore the more tangible intersection of their vocabulary through materials and technique, but also the broader context of how we all commune at the crossroads of our collective, creative unconscious as audience, critic, curator, and creator. I believe that in that space there is a shared conversation that connects, engages, and elevates us. I do hope you’ll enjoy the collection from this viewpoint and find your own ways of connecting the myriad elements at play.”

Fraser shares stories through visual art. She loves the interrelationship between nature and humanity, and is forever looking for new ways to reveal their influences on each other. “When I create, I feel my way through the tensions and interactions of the natural and human worlds colliding, overlapping, expanding, projecting — ultimately giving voice to a myriad of vibrating networks,” she said. Each work has its own story, like each human. Acknowledging this and allowing each to be heard is her way of unveiling connections between them, and between them and herself. more