November 8, 2023

By Anne Levin

Coming out of COVID-19, the leaders of local arts organizations were looking for a way to recharge their programs and get patrons back into theaters, concert halls, museums, and other cultural venues. From their conversations, a common denominator emerged: the significant relationship between arts and health.

It so happens that the National Organization for Arts and Health recognizes November as Arts and Health Month. With that in mind, a coalition of nine arts groups formed Arts & Health Mercer, which had its official debut at the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center in Hamilton Township on Saturday, November 4. more

STIMULATING THE SENSES: A new Sensory Garden in downtown Trenton has turned a vacant lot into more than just a place to grow vegetables. Plants that appeal to sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing were part of the plan.

By Anne Levin

A vacant lot near Trenton’s Battle Monument has been transformed into a public garden designed to appeal to all of the senses. Architect Ken Hill’s vision for the site stems from his desire to incorporate sustainability into the projects he creates.

Hill, a Lawrenceville native, is an alumnus of Trenton Climate Corps, which is supported by AmericCorps. The latter provides training and employment in climate resilience and green infrastructure careers, and is managed by Isles, the Trenton-based community development organization. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

—James Dean (1931-1955)

You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye…

—Taylor Swift (born 1989)

The reality of writing an open-ended weekly column is that at the last minute someone or something may come out of nowhere to redirect a piece that was originally triggered, in this case, by controversial basketball coach Bobby Knight’s front page obituary in the New York Times. First thought is you’ll be writing about growing up with Indiana basketball, which goes according to plan until you remember a player you admired as a 10-year-old, who reawakens thoughts of James Dean, the actor you were obsessed with at 17.

It seems incredible that at the time I was buying everything about James Dean I could lay my hands on, I missed the poem with the line about dreaming and living that contains other “last words” such as “Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,” “Dance as if no one’s watching,” and “Love as if it’s all you know.” Any one of those lines could be the title of a song by Taylor Swift, who brought Dean dancing back into the pop culture conversation in 2014 and then again last week in her rerecorded version of “Style.” more

By Nancy Plum

When choruses choose to perform the oratorios of George Frideric Handel, it is usually the popular Messiah which draws in audiences. However, Handel composed close to 30 oratorios, essentially perfecting the genre when interest in Italian opera waned in 18th-century England. Sung in English, oratorios had great audience appeal, retaining the solo vocal fireworks popular in opera but adding complex choral numbers which served a narrative function and provided commentary on the action.

Handel looked to biblical sources for subject matter to create his familiar oratorios, with works based on the stories of Saul, Samson, and Judas Maccabeus. Lesser known is the 1748 Solomon, which depicts the life of the monarch of ancient Israel in 63 arias, recitatives, and choruses. Handel’s choral/orchestral works are tailor-made for the more than 100-member Princeton Pro Musica, which brought a production of Solomon to Richardson Auditorium this past Sunday afternoon. Led by Pro Musica Artistic Director Ryan J. Brandau and joined by the period orchestra New York Baroque Incorporated and five vocal soloists, Pro Musica presented a spirited performance of Handel’s animated work. more

GOD BLESS US EVERYONE: Joel McKinnon Miller stars as Ebeneezer Scrooge, carrying Rafaella Mousa as Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” coming to McCarter Theatre December 6-24.

McCarter Theatre presents A Christmas Carol starring Joel McKinnon Miller, familiar from his work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Big Love, as Ebeneezer Scrooge. The Charles Dickens classic is adapted and directed by Lauren Keating, with musical direction by Chris Frisco and choreography by Emily Maltby.

“Since 1980, McCarter’s A Christmas Carol has been a beacon of holiday cheer and a celebration of our community,” said Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen. “I think a lot about what it means to connect across differences. This story reminds us that it’s not too late to change or to welcome someone back to the table. If Scrooge can change, if his community can give him another chance — then just imagine what is possible for us. Whether it is your first time attending or your 40th, thank you for gathering with us to tell this story.” more

A LOCAL TRADITION: The 2022 “Evening of Readings and Carols” concert presented at Princeton University Chapel by Westminster Choir College of Rider University will be broadcast by American Public Television this year.

Music lovers can relive the 2022 performance of “An Evening of Readings and Carols,” which is now available on American Public Television member stations throughout the U.S. Tickets for this year’s event are now on sale. The concert is presented at Princeton University Chapel.

Last year’s concert is available through PBS Passport, the public television streaming service. All available stations will be listed at The holiday concert was filmed last year in honor of its 30th anniversary, and featured student and alumni choirs from Westminster. The recording project was supported by gifts from alumni and friends of the College. more

CHRISTMAS SPECTACLE: Soprano Sarah Brightman leads “A Christmas Symphony” at the State Theatre New Jersey on November 26.

State Theatre New Jersey presents soprano Sarah Brightman in “A Christmas Symphony” on Sunday, November 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Last year, A Christmas Symphony travelled internationally to Japan and Southeast Asia and was met with standing ovations and rave reviews. Accompanied by orchestra, choir, and special guests, this holiday show will feature Brightman performing many of her holiday classics and greatest hits. more

Tickets are on sale for American Repertory Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” coming to McCarter Theatre November 24-26, Two River Theater in Red Bank December 1-3, Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton on December 9, and State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick December 15-17. Visit

The Westminster Conservatory at Nassau series will continue with a recital of music for two flutes and piano on November 16 at 12:15 p.m. The performers are flutists Ellen Fisher Deerberg and Kevin Willois, and pianist Patricia Tupta Landy, all members of the teaching faculty of Westminster Conservatory of Music.

The recital will take place in the Niles Chapel of Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street. Admission is free. The program includes the Flower Duet from Delibes› opera, Lakme; Doppler Andante and Rondo, op. 25; selections from Flowers from Frösö Island by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger and the Sonata for Flute and Piano by Francis Poulenc. more

Princeton University Concerts (PUC) will kick off its 2023-24 Healing with Music season on Wednesday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium with “The Beat Goes On: Healing from Cancer through Music,” an evening of conversation permeated by live performance with author Suleika Jaouad and her husband, multiple Grammy Award-winning musician Jon Batiste.

The evening is moderated by Deborah Amos, international correspondent journalism professor at Princeton University. As an extension of this event, Princeton University Concerts has teamed up with Princeton University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs to host a Be the Match bone marrow donor registry drive on campus throughout the day on November 15. more

“TROPICANA”: This original inkjet print by Alan J. Klawans is part of “Mixed Realities,” his joint exhibit with Jane Adriance, on view November 9 through December 3 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is on November 11 from 3 to 6 p.m.

“Mixed Realities,” on view November 9 through December 3 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, showcases the artistic talents of Jane Adriance and Alan J. Klawans, offering a glimpse into their unique conceptual approaches and innovative artistic techniques. An opening reception is on Saturday, November 11 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Adriance’s canvases breathe new life into everyday existence, granting viewers fresh perspectives. Her work delves into the realm of contrast and contradiction, effortlessly mixing different realities and at times, blurring the boundaries between the ephemeral and the concrete. more

“NATURE, TONE, AND TEXTURE”: Artist Abigail Ella Johnson of Princeton is shown with works that are part of her dual exhibition with Margaret Simpson, on view through January 3 at Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center in Plainsboro. An opening reception is on November 14 from 5 to 7 p.m.

In collaboration with West Windsor Arts Center’s dual artist series, a new art exhibit entitled “Nature, Tone, and Texture” combines watercolor realism by Margaret Simpson with acrylic abstractions by Abigail Ella Johnson. The exhibit is on view through January 3 at Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center, Lobby Gallery, 100 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro Township.

The public is invited to attend during the center’s normal visiting hours. All artwork is available for sale by contacting either artist. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, November 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be available.  more

“CORTLAND APPLES ON GREEN GLASS PLATE”: This work by Tracy Everly is part of “Light Touch,” her joint exhibition with Carol Pelletier, on view through November 19 at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell.

Morpeth Contemporary presents “Light Touch” through November 19. The exhibition features recent paintings by Tracy Everly and Carole Pelletier, two artists inspired to capture fleeting visions.

A “meet the artists” reception is on Saturday, November 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. more

SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE: The Arts Council of Princeton’s Outdoor Art Market on November 11 will feature a large selection of handmade offerings by local and regional artisans.

Back for its 29th year, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will hold its annual Sauce for the Goose Outdoor Art Market on Saturday, November 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sauce for the Goose is the destination for unique, high-quality, and handmade gifts. This year’s market will feature more vendors than ever, with more than 95 local and regional artisans selling their wares in ceramics, jewelry, leather, woodwork, glass, painting, and more. more

TOUGH GOING: Princeton University running back John Volker gets corralled in a game earlier this season. Last Friday night, junior Volker rushed for two touchdowns in a losing cause as Princeton fell 23-21 at Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 4-4 overall and 3-2 Ivy League, host Yale (5-3 overall, 3-2 Ivy) on November 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at Dartmouth last Friday night, the Princeton University football team outgained the Big Green 356 yards to 197 and outscored then 21-13 over the last three quarters.

But committing some key miscues in the first quarter and falling behind Dartmouth 10-0, the Tigers fought an uphill battle all night. more

GETTING HIS KICKS: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Archie Smith boots the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior midfielder Smith had two assists to help top-seeded PHS defeat second-seeded Howell 5-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final. The Tigers, now 20-2, host South Jersey champion Washington Township (18-1-2) on November 8 in the Group 4 state semis with victor advancing to the final on November 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High boys’ soccer team locked in a scoreless draw with Howell in the first half of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final last Saturday, Archie Smith won the ball and sprinted down the sideline.

Racing past the Howell defense, junior midfielder Smith slotted a pass to Pasquale Carusone, who buried the feed into the back of the net to put the Tigers up 1-0 in the eighth minute of the contest. more

BIRTHDAY GIFT: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Harvey Smith, left, goes after the ball last Wednesday as top-seededPHS battled fourth-seeded Monroe in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals. Freshman midfielder Smith, who was celebrating his 15th birthday that day, scored on a second half free kick to give PHS the margin of victory in a 2-1 triumph. Last Saturday, Smith contributed an assist as PHS defeated second-seeded Howell 5-1 in the sectional final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Harvey Smith turned 15 last Wednesday and it ended up being a birthday he will never forget.

With the top-seeded Princeton High boys’ soccer team knotted in a 1-1 tie with fourth-seeded Monroe midway through the second half of a NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinal clash, freshman midfielder Smith blasted a free kick that caromed off the crossbar and went into the back of the net to put the Tigers up 2-1. more

500 CLUB: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Naomi Lygas hits a serve in recent action. Last Thursday, sophomore star Lygas totaled a match-high 12 kills, including the 500th kill of her career, to help top-seeded PHS defeat fifth-seeded Brick Memorial 2-0 (25-14, 25-7) in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 semis. The Tigers, who improved to 27-1 with the win, were slated to host third-seeded Moorestown in the sectional final on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Naomi Lygas and the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team, it proved to be an historic afternoon last Thursday as the Tigers hosted Brick Memorial in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 semis.

Sophomore outside hitter Lygas starred as top-seeded PHS rolled to a 2-0 (25-14, 25-7) win over the fifth-seeded Mustangs, contributing a match-high 12 kills along with five digs as the Tigers advanced to their second straight sectional final and second in program history. Lygas made some personal history, recording the 500th kill of her career late in the second set.

With PHS having lost 2-1 to Colts Neck in the sectional final last year, the Tiger players were fired up to make a return trip to the title game.

“We always remember what happened last year and how we don’t want a repeat of that again,” said Lygas. “So I think one of our big motives is just continuing to push forward, everybody else wants the same thing and we did. We just have a mindset that we want it more. We want to get as far as we can because we know that we can. It is just important that we get there.” more

CLUTCH HIT: Princeton High field hockey player Delaney Keegan dribbles the ball last Saturday as PHS battled Phillipsburg in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 4 sectional semis. Senior star Keegan scored the winning goal in overtime as the second-seeded Tigers prevailed 2-1. PHS, who improved to 17-2 with the win, were slated to host fifth-seeded Ridge in the sectional final on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Delaney Keegan wasn’t about to do anything fancy when she got the ball on her stick early in overtime as the second-seeded Princeton High field hockey team battled third-seeded Phillipsburg in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 4 sectional semis last Saturday.

“It just came down to not thinking about it and just taking the shot,” said PHS senior star Keegan. “I was crossing my fingers and for a second I held my breath — Mia [Ramirez] gave me a great pass. I didn’t want to keep dribbling in, I just wanted to take a shot. I was just ripping at that point, just get it on cage, trust that Erin [Liggio] was going to be there. I knew she was down low so that really helped me out, it gave me comfort.”
There was no need for Liggio to tip in a rebound as Keegan’s blast flew past the Phillipsburg goal one minute into the extra session to give PHS a 2-1 win and punch its ticket to the sectional final.


MULTITASKING: Allen Bryant competing in soccer and lacrosse during his Princeton High career. Bryant ’10, who starred in both sports as well as indoor track, is being inducted into the 15th class of the Princeton High School Athletic Hall of Fame at a banquet being held this Saturday at the Mercer Oaks Country Club in West Windsor.

By Bill Alden

When Allen Bryant entered Princeton High in 2006, he wasn’t focused on what he could achieve in his athletic career.

“I looked up to the seniors when I was a freshman,” said Bryant, noting that he was particularly inspired by one of those seniors, Tyler Moni, who went on to play for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse program. “The reality is that I didn’t have any specific goals, just to do the best I possibly could.” more

FINAL RUN: Princeton Day School girls’ cross country runner Emily McCann shows her form in a race last fall. Last Saturday, senior star and Northeastern commit McCann placed sixth in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A girls’ meet at Holmdel Park to earn a spot in the upcoming NJSIAA Meet of Champions. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Emily McCann will compete in the Meet of Champions (MOC) girls’ cross country race for the third straight year this Saturday at Holmdel Park.

The Princeton Day School senior qualified the last two years as a wild card entrant out of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group A division, meaning she had to wait a day after the group races to find out she was officially in. This year, McCann made things official on race day by finishing sixth in New Non-Public A girls’ meet to earn one of the 10 automatic entries to the MOC. more

SAVING THE DAY: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer goalie Shelby Ruf clears the ball last Wednesday as fifth-seeded PDS hosted eighth-seeded St. John Vianney in the semifinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public A Tournament. Junior goalie Ruf made a clutch save in a penalty kick shootout as the Panthers advanced to the final. PHS, who moved to 16-3-2, with win were slated to play at third-seeded Trinity Hall in the final on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer goalie Shelby Ruf got ready to face the third shot from St. John Vianney in a penalty kick shootout last Friday in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public A semis, her teammates shouted encouragement.

But junior Ruf tuned them out as she focused on the task at hand.

“I just went in there open-minded, pick a side, stick with it and do your best; I know my team has my back,” said Ruf. “Most girls are righty and most of time times they are going to open their hips so I just went for a side.” more

REACHING OUT: Princeton Day School field hockey player Kelly Christie, left, goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior star Christie tallied a goal to help third-seeded PDS defeat sixth-seeded Academy of St. Elizabeth 5-0 in the quarterfinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Non-Public Tournament. The Panthers went on to lose 7-2 to second-seeded Pingry in the semifinals last Saturday to end the fall with a 15-4-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was Kelly Christie’s last appearance on Smoyer Field for the Princeton Day School field hockey team, but she was determined that it wouldn’t turn out to be the final game of her career.

As third-seeded PDS hosted sixth-seeded Academy of St. Elizabeth in the quarterfinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Non-Public Tournament last Wednesday, senior star Christie and her teammates were fired up to keep their season going. more

November 1, 2023

Hosted by the Arts Council of Princeton, the annual parade weaved its way through Palmer Square on Friday evening before heading to the Princeton YMCA, where the festivities continued. Participants describe their Halloween costumes in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Princeton)

By Donald Gilpin

Carol Kelley

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Carol Kelley’s resignation, effective September 1, 2024, and her request for a paid leave of absence from October 27, 2023 through August 31, 2024, were approved by the PPS Board of Education (BOE) at a special board meeting on Monday, October 30.

In the third item on the agenda of the 25-minute meeting, Rebecca Gold, PPS interim assistant superintendent of human resources, public information and community relations, was appointed interim superintendent until November 30, 2023.

Kelley had announced her resignation on October 27 in an email to PPS staff, stating that “for personal and professional reasons, I must take some time to reset and recenter myself.” Her email was followed later that day by an email from the BOE to the PPS community announcing Kelley’s leave of absence and resignation and thanking her for her service to the district.

Monday night’s BOE vote was 7-1 on the questions of Kelley’s resignation and leave of absence, with Michele Tuck-Ponder in opposition in both cases. The vote on Gold’s appointment was 7-0 with Tuck-Ponder abstaining. more