November 16, 2022

COMPASSIONATE CARE: “I want to emphasize the role of volunteers as part of our overall mission. EASEL relies on volunteers for some of our crucial operations. Adoptions, intake, training, off-site events, follow-up calls, and fostering are all primarily run by volunteers. The relationship between our staff and volunteers has been instrumental in the success of EASEL.” Mark Phillips, EASEL Animal Rescue League’s director of animal services, is shown with Pinky, a longtime shelter dog with some medical issues, and, from left, Director of Operations Lori Cima and Assistant Manager Andrea Dunks.

By Jean Stratton

EASEL — Ewing Animal Shelter Extension League — has a mission. It is to help stray, abandoned, transferred, and surrendered dogs and cats to find a happy home, and in the interim, to provide them with a caring, healthy, and safe environment.

Founded in 2008, and established in its current location at 4 Jake Garzio Drive in Ewing in 2013, it is a no-kill shelter. As a nonprofit volunteer animal welfare organization, it is dedicated to ending the euthanasia of unwanted animals in Mercer County through collaborative coalitions and community alliances.

“We are the only shelter in Ewing,” points out Mark Phillips, director of animal services. “We are both a place to take animals and a place to get animals. Currently, we have 40 cats and 13 dogs in the shelter. We also have 20 cats (mostly kittens) in foster care.”

The animals are brought to the shelter by animal control officers. They may have been found abandoned, or people have reported seeing a stray. They can also be transferred from other shelters. At times, owners may be forced to surrender a pet for a variety of reasons, reports Phillips. more

EYEING SUCCESS: Princeton University wrestling head coach Chris Ayres, right, and associate head coach Joe Dubuque display their intensity in a 2020 dual match. Ayres and Dubuque are expecting big things from their wrestlers this winter as Princeton comes off a historic 2021-22 campaign that saw Patrick Glory take second in the NCAA Championships at 125 pounds and Quincy Monday place second at 157. The Tigers have their first dual of the 2022-23 season when they wrestle at Indiana on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Chris Ayres, falling short of his goal to win an NCAA title during his Lehigh University wrestling career put him on the path to coaching.

“It was an ending goal and then when I didn’t do it; I felt I had more to do in the sport and now I think I am where I belong,” said Princeton University wrestling head coach Ayres, who placed sixth at 157 pounds at the NCAAs in his senior season at Lehigh. “I think I am very analytical in the areas that I failed in. I worked on them to teach other people so maybe they wouldn’t make those mistakes. I am still chasing it. We had some national champs at Lehigh when I coached there. Here at Princeton, it feels like it is a little more invested because I have been here so long and it has been such an uphill climb. Not doing it helped me become a really good coach.”

Last winter, Ayres nearly guided two of his wrestlers to NCAA titles as Patrick Glory took second at 125 pounds in the national final and Quincy Monday was the runner-up at 157.

“It is proof of concept; I know we do the right things, we can produce Olympic champions and national champions,” said Ayres. “Quincy and Pat proved it to themselves because we hadn’t had anyone in the finals. It has been year after year, we keep doing things we haven’t done before. Those guys getting to the finals was one of those things. One of the interesting things is that we have never really taken steps backwards where we didn’t do things we hadn’t done before. That should just make everyone excited that we are going to do something bigger this year and what that bigger thing is.” more

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Fillier controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward Fillier starred as Princeton swept a two-game set against Syracuse last weekend. She tallied a goal and an assist as the Tigers prevailed 4-2 on Friday and then added an assist in a 1-0 Princeton win a day later. Fillier, who is returning to Princeton after a two-year hiatus which saw her help the Canadian national women’s team win two world championships and an Olympic gold medal, is leading Princeton in scoring with six points on three goals and three assists. The Tigers, now 3-3 overall and 1-3 ECAC Hockey, host St. Lawrence on November 18 and Clarkson on November 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Fillier took a two-year hiatus from the Princeton University women’s hockey team to join the Canadian women’s national team and emerged as an international star in the process.

High-scoring forward Fillier helped Canada win the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in 2021 and 2022 as well as the gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. At the Olympics, Fillier tallied eight goals to rank second among all players in the tournament, and had 11 points to stand sixth.

For Fillier, earning Olympic gold proved to be a highlight of her time away from Princeton.

“A lot has happened; I think winning Olympic gold is a highlight for sure,” said Fillier, a 5’5 native of Georgetown, Ontario. “That is what I grew up dreaming about. Every decision I made in hockey and the decision to come to Princeton was with that in mind. For it to come true and happen, was the coolest experience of my life.”

It is cool for junior Fillier to be back at Princeton to resume her college career.

“It has been exciting, it has been a long wait to come back,” said Fillier. “I have been waiting to come back. To be back on campus and in school and playing with the girls has been a lot of fun.”

Playing with twin sister Kayla, who is in her senior year at Princeton, has been particularly fun for Fillier.

“It has been great, if COVID didn’t happen and I was away at the Olympics, we would have never had the chance to play together for her senior year,” said Fillier. “It is nice. We grew up playing hockey together. To see her grow as a player and a person and watch her develop from a fan’s point of view, it is just really cool to see her live her dream out.”

Living out her dreams on the world stage had helped Fillier grow as player. more

STONE AGE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Grace Stone looks to pass the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior Stone scored 17 points in a losing cause as Princeton fell 69-59 to Villanova. Stone and the Tigers bounced back on Monday as the Tigers topped Seton Hall 62-58 to improve to 2-1. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Fordham on November 16 and then plays at Buffalo on November 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Grace Stone struggled a bit on the opening night of her final season for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

While Princeton defeated Temple 67-49 on November 7 in its season opener, senior guard Stone was cold, going 1-for-6 from the floor with three points in 24 minutes of action.

Last Friday as Princeton hosted Villanova, Stone started out sizzling, scoring 15 points in the first quarter, including four 3-pointers, as the Tigers led 21-20 heading into the second.

“I was just trying to be aggressive, just taking whatever the defense gave me,” said Stone, a 5’11 native of Glen Cove, N.Y., who averaged 9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists last season. “I was just finding open spots and just trying to shoot in my rhythm. Every game is different, every team is different. They were giving me the three so I decided to take them.”

Princeton, though, had trouble guarding Villanova in the second quarter as the Wildcats outscored the Tigers 21-9 to build a 41-30 halftime lead.

“We had a scout, we knew what we were doing,” said Stone. “I think it was a communications thing, that comes with games early in the season. It is something we definitely need to work on moving forward.” more

POWER HITTER: Princeton High girls’ volleyball star Naomi Lygas makes a hit in recent action. Last week, freshman star Lygas contributed 13 kills and 10 digs in a losing cause as third-seeded PHS fell 2-1 to top-seeded Colts Neck in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 3 Central Jersey sectional final. The defeat in the November 8 contest left the Tigers with a final record of 21-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Competing in the program’s first-ever sectional final, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team got off to a good start as it played at Colt’s Neck.

Third-seeded PHS won the first set 25-17 over the top-seeded Cougars in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 3 Central Jersey title game on November 8.

“We served tough, we passed well and that allowed us to run a consistent offense,” said PHS head coach Patty Manhart. “We kept them out of system so they really weren’t giving us their best attack coming over.”

Colts Neck, though, went on the attack after that, taking the next two sets, 25-21 and 25-18, to win the match.

“In the second set right away, we fell into a hole on serve receive and when that happens it is tough,” said Manhart. “Even though it happened early in the game, going down eight points, that is just a really big deficit to overcome. Even though we did chip away and get closer, there are certain things that another team picks on. It is hard to make up for it.”

While the defeat stung, getting to the sectional final was a special breakthrough for the players.

“It is exciting, it meant so much to the girls,” said Manhart, whose team finished the fall with a 21-5 record. “We don’t have any titles in the state sectional or playoffs on the banners in our gym. The banner has a league championship and they all badly wanted to add a state sectional to that.” more

SPOILS OF VICTORY: Members of the Princeton Day School girls’ cross country team display the trophies they earned for placing first in the Prep B state meet on November 1 at the Blair Academy. Pictured, from left, are assistant coach Chris Devlin, Jesse Hollander, Maddy Weinstein, Emily McCann, Natalia Soffer, Brooke Law, Harleen Sandu, Riya Mani, Jamie Crease, assistant coach Kelly Clark, and head coach Mike Mazzei. It marked the first Prep B title for the girls’ cross country program. (Photo provided by Mike Mazzei)

By Bill Alden

Mike Mazzei brought an intensity and work ethic to the Princeton Day School cross country team as he took the helm of the program this fall.

Having walked on to the Rider University track and cross country program after competing at Middlesex County College, Mazzei developed into a star for the Broncs, culminating his career by helping the team’s 4×800-meter relay to a gold medal at the 2021 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Outdoor Championships and taking seventh in the 800 at that meet.

“The coach at Rider gave me an opportunity and when I met with him, he said I blew him way with how passionate I was to be great,” said Mazzei. “I made something out of myself. I put the work in and started to be one of the better runners on the team.”

Drawing on his Rider experience, Mazzei had high aspirations for PDS in his debut season.

“I came to PDS and my goal was to win Prep championship,” said Mazzei, who helped coach the PDS track program this past spring and had previously coached at his high school alma mater St Thomas Aquinas (formerly known as Bishop Ahr). “When I was in college, I always wanted to win conference titles.”

Mazzei helped the Panthers achieve that goal as the PDS girls’ squad placed first in the Prep B state meet on November 1 at the Blair Academy. The Panthers had a team score of 37 with runner up Rutgers Prep coming in at 80, producing a dominant performance in earning the girls program’s first-ever Prep B crown. more

MAKING HIS MARK: Hun School quarterback Marco Lainez III fires a pass in a 2021 game. Last Saturday, senior star and Iowa-bound Lainez connected on 10-of-16 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 96 yards as the Raiders rolled over Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 54-20 to finish 9-0 for the second consecutive season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Marco Lainez III fulfilled a promise when he helped the Hun School football team complete another unbeaten season.

Senior quarterback Lainez was 10-for-16 for 222 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 96 yards as well to help the Raiders rout Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 54-20 last Saturday to finish 9-0 for the second consecutive season. It sent Lainez and 15 classmates on the Hun roster out as winners in their last 19 straight games.

“Before the game, I knew I had one more thing to do,” said Lainez, a Montgomery resident. “I said, ‘no matter what, if you throw nine interceptions or 10 touchdowns, just keep swinging, you have to finish the job.’ When we finished the job, I just thought, I’m going to miss these guys so much. We’ve sacrificed so much for this. It was awesome.”

Lainez and the Raiders last lost a game on Halloween 2020, in the COVID-19 pandemic shortened season. Hun fell to Malvern (Pa.) 10-8 that day, and Lainez never forgot it.

“I threw four interceptions,” said Lainez. “I was probably the sole reason we lost that game. I walked off that field and said, I never want to feel like this again. So I devoted as much time as I could to winning. I just wanted to win every game.”

Mission accomplished in memorable fashion. The Raiders were absolutely dominant in their second straight unbeaten year. They outscored teams, 413-75, this fall. They broke out to a 21-0 lead against Wyoming before the visitors returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Hun added two more scores by halftime to shut down any hopes of a comeback.

“It was a physical game,” said Hun head coach Todd Smith. “I think even though some of our scores were lopsided, it doesn’t mean they weren’t physical. Wyoming Sem, and Cheshire and Brunswick and Salisbury, those were all super physical games for our kids. It was good football.”

Kamar Archie, JT Goodman, Dom DeLuzio, and Owen Wafle all scored rushing touchdowns, Logan Blake caught a pair of touchdown passes and Liam Thorpe and Bryce Kania each caught a touchdown toss in the balanced attack Saturday. DeLuzio ran for 129 yards and Archie ran for 116. Blake led receivers with 82 yards in the air on four catches. more

November 11, 2022

By Donald Gilpin

With ballots from three of 22 Princeton precincts not yet counted, results still hang in the balance in Princeton’s School Board election, though the three incumbents — Susan Kanter, Dafna Kendal, and Debbie Bronfeld — are leading over challengers Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky and Lishian “Lisa” Wu.

As of late Friday morning, November 11, three days after Tuesday’s election, unofficial vote totals were 3,272 for Kanter, 3,050 for Kendal, 2,905 for Bronfeld, 2,390 for Rafalovsky, and 1,525 for Wu. There are three seats available on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education.

Election Day issues with voting machines and scanners throughout Mercer County forced voters to use paper ballots that were later scanned and tallied by the bipartisan Mercer County Board of Elections in Trenton.

In a November 11 email, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello reported that “an investigation is being conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Election officials have no suspicion of any purposeful wrongdoing, but we need to have the matter reviewed to determine if there was an error or malicious intent.”

Covello noted that all the Princeton ballots, including those still to be counted from precincts 9, 11, and 21 (the Community Park School polling location), were delivered to the Board of Elections office on election night. Mail-in ballots from all precincts are still coming in, and provisional ballots will be counted after mail-ins. The results will be finalized, certified by the county clerk, and made official by November 21, Covello said.

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November 9, 2022

Voters went to the polls in Princeton on November 8, and, despite widespread technical malfunctions in Mercer County and some citizens’ concerns, election officials said that all votes would be counted accurately. Voters had to complete ballots manually, and the bipartisan Board of Elections in Trenton is still tallying the totals. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Despite some delays in voting, delays in counting the votes, and concerns throughout Mercer County as voting machines failed and voters had to complete ballots manually on Election Day, November 8, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello assured residents that the vote tally would be fair and thorough. No results were available at press time Tuesday evening.

“It’s disappointing that the machines didn’t work, and it’s going to take longer than usual,” she said in a phone conversation late Tuesday afternoon, “but I have full confidence that it will be a reliable vote count. We’ll count them all.”

The county clerk’s office is investigating the problem, “how it occurred and what took place,” Covello said. “It’s a problem between the voting machines, the scanners, and the printer that prints the ballots.” Dominion Voting Systems and other IT professionals are also working on the problem, she noted.

Covello stated that, starting at 8 p.m. last night, when the polls closed, the bipartisan Board of Elections, two Republicans and two Democrats, would be counting all ballots that have been received so far — including early voting, mail-in, provisional, and those voted manually on Tuesday. Additional mail-in ballots may arrive and be counted in the coming days, as long as they were mailed by November 8.

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By Anne Levin

On Friday, October 28 at 10:38 a.m., a landscaper working in the 900 block of Mercer Road was struck by a 2010 Kia Forte traveling south on the roadway. Ewing resident Salvatore Esposito-Dimarcant, 70, was transported to the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.

The tragic incident, which is still under investigation, has been especially troubling to neighborhood residents who had employed the man, known as Sal, for decades. And it has renewed attempts to get the speed limit reduced on that portion of Mercer Road (also known as Princeton Pike), where a woman was struck by a vehicle and killed in 2016.

A petition is being circulated for presentation to Princeton Council regarding lowering the speed limit from 45 to 35 miles per hour, matching the speed of Mercer Road as it crosses the Princeton Battlefield. According to the petition, there are 19 homes that line the road in the Gallup Road area alone. “Those homeowners, and the contractors working at those homes, are at risk,” it reads. “The tragic fatality that occurred on October 28 might have been avoided with a lower speed limit.”

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By Donald Gilpin

Looking to tackle the challenges of the post-election period, the 42nd Annual Conference and Multifaith Service for Peace, sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), along with 35 co-sponsoring religious and civic groups in the region, will take place on Sunday, November 13.

Rabbi David Saperstein, called the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, will deliver the Multifaith Service sermon at 11 a.m. in the Princeton University Chapel, and in the afternoon he will be joined by climate justice movement leader and New Yorker writer Bill McKibben, and social justice advocate and co-founder of the CODEPINK peace group Medea Benjamin for a Conference for Peace on Zoom from 2 to 4 p.m.

“These are trying and troubling times,” said the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the CFPA. “It’s good this event is happening so soon after Election Day, especially if there is a concerning outcome on Election Day. People are going to want to be somewhere together in solidarity.”

He also noted that the service and conference would encourage participants ”to be more empowered to effectively advocate for peace policies.”

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The Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands hold their annual Thanksgiving Day Walk in the Mapleton Preserve, from 10-11:30 a.m. This year, the focus is birds of all kinds — including turkeys. Led by Karen Linder, president of the organization, the group will talk about feathers, look for local birds and migrating flocks, and search for bird nests. The event is free and suitable for all ages. Meet at Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. Visit fpnl.org for more information.

A HOLIDAY TRADITION: A tree from last year’s annual Festival of Trees at Morven Museum & Garden, where galleries, mantels, and porches are decorated by local groups. This year’s festival begins on November 16.

By Anne Levin

Ever since Morven opened as Morven Museum & Garden in 2004, the Festival of Trees has been an annual Princeton holiday event. This year’s installation, which turns the historic home’s galleries into showcases for holiday décor by local businesses, garden clubs, and nonprofits, begins Wednesday, November 16 and remains open to the public through January 8.

Holiday-themed exhibits, concerts, ballets, and theatrical performances tend to attract a broader audience than events held throughout the year — think The Messiah, The Nutcracker, and A Christmas Carol. Morven fits that description, said the museum’s Executive Director Jill Barry.

“What’s interesting is we converted systems about a year ago, and we can now track behavior a lot better,” Barry said this week. “During the Festival of Trees, Morven looks different from other times of the year. Not only are we decorated for the holidays, but we are seeing more family groups. And these groups are bigger.”

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COMMUNITY ACTION: About 35 entering Princeton University students worked on a variety of food-packing, rock-painting, and quilt-making community service activities in a collaboration this fall between Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP) and the University’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement. “They all got engaged,” said SHUPP Founder and President Ross Wishnick. (Photo courtesy of SHUPP)

By Donald Gilpin

Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP), founded about 10 years ago, grew gradually during its first years in operation, expanded its services rapidly with the onset of COVID-19, and has continued to grow steadily over the past three years.

“The last few years have been transformative and quite a game changer for Send Hunger Packing Princeton,” said SHUPP Founder, President, and Board Chair Ross Wishnick. “There are kids in the Princeton school system who are hungry, close to 15 percent of Princeton Public School children. Out of about 3,500, there are 450 to 500 kids who are food insecure. We’re Princeton. We’re not supposed to have that problem.”

Starting out as a part of Mercer Street Friends (MSF) Food Bank, SHUPP continues to work with MSF and through Princeton Human Services collaborates with several other local community service groups. About six years ago SHUPP became an independent, official 501c(3) nonprofit organization.
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MARKING A MILESTONE: Westminster Choir College of Rider University celebrates the 30th anniversary of the popular “An Evening of Readings and Carols” at Princeton University Chapel on December 9 and 10.

By Anne Levin

With the addition of high school students this year and the return of an alumni choir, Westminster Choir College of Rider University’s upcoming performances of “An Evening of Readings and Carols,” at Princeton University Chapel December 9 and 10, are truly multi-generational.

The performances, which represent Westminster students’ culminating event for the fall semester, will include a high school honor choir featuring local students who have been recommended by their choral directors. “Readings and Carols,” which regularly fills the chapel, features numerous works from the choral repertoire, several works played by the Westminster Concert Bell Choir including a transcription of “Trepak” from The Nutcracker, and more.

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Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad has launched a full-scale volunteer recruitment campaign for its training programs. Applications are being accepted for spring, summer, and fall classes, and a virtual information session is on Monday, November 21 at 6 p.m. The need for squad members, highly-trained emergency medical technicians prepared to deliver care in a wide variety of life-threatening situations — including childbirth, allergic reactions, respiratory emergencies, traumatic injuries, and cardiac arrest — has increased significantly since the pandemic. Visit pfars.org/volunteer for more information.

Friends of Princeton Open Space needs help with field work in the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. The scope of work includes restoration plantings, invasive plant removal, tree trunk painting to deter beaver chew, and winter seed sowing. Nine dates through December 1 are available. Email anna@fopos.org with “Volunteer” in the subject line to register or get more information.

CONNECTING NEIGHBORS: Staffers from the Latin American Legal Defense Education Fund (LALDEF) were among those gathered at Princeton Public Library for “Loteria” on October 29.

On October 29, Princeton Human Services hosted “Loteria” Mexican Bingo as part of a postponed Welcoming Week event series, at Princeton Public Library.

Recognizing the importance of building relationships among residents who otherwise may not have opportunities to meet, Princeton Human Services, the Princeton Human Services Commission, and the library collaborated with the help of donors and volunteers to host an event attended by approximately 30 families. Loteria is a tradition of Mexican fairs and similar to bingo, using images on a deck of cards. An additional game of Human Bingo was played at the two-hour event, encouraging participants to talk to new friends and ask them questions about themselves.

Several businesses donated prizes, free giveaways, and food. Among them: the library, Princeton University, McCarter Theatre, Red Umbrella Princeton, Princeton Kindness Food Project, LALDEF, Sustainable Princeton, Olives, Princeton Health Department, LiLLiPiEs Bakery, JaZams, La Lupita, La Mexicana, the YWCA, the Arts Council of Princeton, and Solidaridad. The grand prizes, two bikes, were donated by the Princeton Police Department.

FINE WINES: “While our focus is on fine wines from smaller vineyards, we also offer craft beer, mostly from New Jersey, and spirits from small distilleries, along with some well-known brands. We will have a special bourbon tasting event this month. Quality is key here, and with our friendly atmosphere, it is a welcoming place. Our location in the Pennington Shopping Center is excellent, with convenient parking and accessibility.” Delroy Williams, owner of the Princeton Wine Company, looks forward to introducing more customers to his exceptional selection and inviting setting.

By Jean Stratton

The Princeton Wine Company is unique. Not only can customers buy wine, beer, and spirits to take home, they can also enjoy a glass of a special curated wine in the charming and intimate Wine Bar.

Located in the Pennington Shopping Center at 25 Route 31 South, it is the new venture of Delroy Williams. After 11 years as director of food and beverages at The Nassau Club, he opened his new business in July 2022.

“I very much enjoyed my time at The Nassau Club, and I made many good friends there,” he says. “I enjoyed its conviviality and warm atmosphere.”

Wanting to spend more time with his young family, he decided to establish his own business, affording him more flexible hours. When the Pennington location became available, it was an ideal opportunity for him. With his experience and special knowledge of wine, opening the Princeton Wine Company was a dream come true.

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By Stuart Mitchner

His poetry is about the difficulty of conceiving anything.
—Richard Poirier (1925-2009)

I’ve just revisited my favorite page in Valerie Eliot’s edition of her late husband T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts Including the Annotations of Ezra Pound (Faber and Faber 1972). I don’t mean my favorite passage. I mean the first page of the facsimile that shows Pound’s first “annotation” in the form of a bold line striking straight through the heart of the typescript. That slashing of Eliot’s original is the essence of revision writ large. It’s also amusing to imagine how differently we’d have approached The Waste Land had Eliot stayed with the title He Do The Police In Different Voices, or had the two opening lines remained “First we had a couple of feelers down at Tom’s place, / There was old Tom, boiled to the eyes, blind.”

Eliot would surely have figured out on his own the downside of beginning a difficult, fabulously allusive work of art by, in effect, putting the reader on a first-name basis with the poet, old Tom Eliot. Instead of “April is the cruellest month,” we’re walking into a swirl of voices with the poet’s blind-drunk namesake leading the way. You can almost hear Ezra telling Tom it’s an opening that would make the hip readers of the day think the voices he was “doing” had already been “done” by Joyce in Ulysses. On top of that, there’s Tom’s pal Joe singing “I’m proud of all the Irish blood that’s in me,” which has been circled for special attention, with a note in the margin that could be read as a suggested replacement or a nudge from Ezra: “Tease, Squeeze lovin & wooin, Say Kid what’re y’ doing.”

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By Nancy Plum

The Brentano String Quartet, longtime friends of Princeton University Concerts, made a return visit to Princeton University last week with a concert paying homage to the American classical music tradition. A former ensemble-in-residence at Princeton, the Brentano Quartet commanded the stage at Richardson Auditorium last Thursday night with “Dvorák and the American Identity,” acknowledging the impact of Czech composer Antonin Dvorák on 20th-century American music and the legacy of this composer to this day. Violinists Mark Steinberg and Serena Canin, violist Misha Amory, and cellist Nina Lee created a program drawn from arrangements of American tunes as well as complex classical works rooted in the gospel and spiritual traditions.

The Brentano musicians began the concert with an arrangement for string quartet dating back almost 100 years. In the early decades of the 20th century, the Manhattan-based Flonzaley Quartet thrived for a mere 27 years, but despite the brevity of their existence, left a repertory of spiritual arrangements for string quartet possessing the same complexity as the rich works of the 19th century Romantic period. Arranged by Flonzaley second violinist Alfred Pochon, these pieces conveyed the same depth of emotion with four string players as the more familiar versions with words.

The Brentano String Quartet presented three Fonzaley arrangements Thursday night, beginning with a lush version of the spiritual “Deep River.” Accompanied by the lower strings, first violinist Steinberg presented the tune quietly, and as the tune was passed among the instruments, the players explored the more soulful characteristics of the music.

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“TWELFTH NIGHT”: Performances are underway for “Twelfth Night.” Directed by Solomon Bergquist, the play runs through November 13 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Above, from left, are Maria (Alex Gjaja), Feste (Ava Kronman), Olivia (Alexis Maze), and Viola, disguised as “Cesario” (Rilla McKeegan). (Photo by Kate Stewart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Twelfth Night reflects the “end of the Christmas season and was a time of revelry, in which the norms of society were inverted,” observes the play’s page on the Royal Shakespeare Company website. The work’s first noted performance took place in February 1602, on the feast of Candlemas.

Princeton University’s Theatre Intime is currently presenting Shakespeare’s comedy. The production’s first weekend coincided with another celebration, albeit a secular one. An alumni reunion (belatedly) celebrated the centennial of Theatre Intime (and the 50th anniversary of Princeton Summer Theater).

However, the script itself rarely feels festive; one could say that revelry is inverted. Countess Olivia, who mourns her brother, is determined not to consider suitors until seven years have passed. Meanwhile, her steward Malvolio is the victim of a cruel prank. By way of acknowledging the play’s gloomy undercurrent, Feste the Fool ends it by singing a song that reminds us that “the rain it raineth every day.”

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Gita Varadarajan will be reading from and talking about her book My Bindi (Scholastic Inc.), with illustrations by Archana Sreenivasan, in an event for adults and children on November 12 at 3 p.m. The hybrid program will be held at Labyrinth and online. For further information or to register, visit labyrinthbooks.com.

A starred review from Kirkus calls My Bindi “A novel treatment of a familiar situation delivered with fizz and aplomb.”

Varadarajan has taught and designed curriculums all over the world, including in a number of schools in Bangalore. She teaches second grade in Princeton and has also taught in the Princeton University Prison Teaching Initiative. With Sarah Weeks, she is the author of the novel Save Me a Seat. Sreenivasan is a freelance illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her illustrations have been published in magazines, children’s books, book covers, and comics.

EXPLORING ROOTS: Multi-faceted musician Bruce Molsky, who specializes in the folk tradition, will be at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane, on Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. (Photo by Michael O’Neal)

On Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. the Princeton Folk Music Society presents an evening of fiddle, banjo, guitar, and song with Bruce Molsky at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane.

The Grammy-nominated artist is known for his authentic and personal interpretations of rarities from the Southern Appalachian songbook and other musical traditions from around the globe. His combination of technical virtuosity and relaxed conversational wit makes a concert hall feel like an intimate front porch gathering. He has collaborated with such players as Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Darol Anger, Tony Trischka, and Allison de Groot.

Molsky also serves the folk tradition by teaching at camps, festivals, and online. He is the visiting scholar in the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, where he is the go-to guy for the next generation of roots musicians.

Tickets are $5-$20. Visit Princetonfolk.org.