May 22, 2024

By Nancy Plum

For 40 years, Princeton Singers has presented chamber choral concerts of unique repertoire in some of the more unusual spaces in the area. Comprised of 16 professional choristers, the Singers has maintained a strong commitment to high-level presentation of music of all periods, especially advocating for the creation of new choral works. Led by conductor Steven Sametz (celebrating his 25th year as artistic director), the ensemble observed both its commendable history and Sametz’s significant anniversary this past Saturday night with a concert of “The Best of The Princeton Singers” at Trinity Church in Princeton.  more

“CHOICE”: Performances are underway for “Choice.” Written by Winnie Holzman, and directed by Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, the play runs through June 2 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Above, from left: The friendship between Erica (Kate A. Mulligan) and Zippy (Ilana Levine) is tested by an impassioned disagreement over the latter’s approach to writing an article about a very controversial subject. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

American political discourse, which already is fraught and polarized, only intensifies when the subject has a religious or spiritual aspect to it.

With Choice, playwright Winnie Holzman examines one of the most polarizing subjects: a woman’s right to choose. On the surface, the play is about reproductive freedom — and the possible ramifications of the decision that is made. But the piece also examines a woman’s a right to choose something else: how to engage with complex moral issues. more

“PROUD MARY”: “The Music of Tina Turner” is among the events taking place inside the tent at Morven during opening weekend of the 2024 Princeton Festival, June 7-9. LaKisha Jones plays the iconic rock star. (Photo by Eric McCue)

Two-time Grammy award-winning soprano Angel Blue opens this year’s Princeton Festival on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m., The festival also includes a fully-staged performance of Mozart’s comic opera Così fan tutte, Broadway cabaret with Santino Fontana, orchestral music, Baroque and chamber concerts, dance with American Repertory Ballet, and a Juneteenth celebration, through June 22 in a tent on the grounds of Morven Museum and Garden, 55 Stockton Street.

Rounding out opening weekend are “The Music of Tina Turner” on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m.  and a Family Day, culminating with a concert featuring Latin Grammy-award nominee Sonia De Los Santos, on Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m.  more

Filmmakers Christopher Harris and Nicolás Pereda will join the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Visual Arts faculty at Princeton University in July.

Christopher Harris
(Photo by David Hermantas)

Harris, appointed as a professor of visual arts, makes films and video installations that read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. Pereda, appointed as an associate professor in visual arts, makes films that explore the everyday through a weaving together of scripted narratives and documentary observation. They will begin teaching in the fall 2024 semester. more

YOUNG AND GIFTED: Claudio Mir, left, and Sarah Ferreira host a new talent competition for ages 5-25 at the State Theatre New Jersey on June 1.

State Theatre New Jersey presents “Jersey Talent” on Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. Hosted by Claudio Mir and Sarah Ferreira, the new talent show is for ages 5-25. Ten finalists, including singers, dancers, a pianist, a rock band, and more, will perform live. The winner gets a spot as a featured performer at the New Brunswick Heart Festival on August 10.

Video auditions for the show began in early March. From the video submissions, 26 acts were chosen to audition live at the State Theatre. Of the 26 acts, 10 were selected to move forward to the live performance on June 1. Four judges from the New Brunswick community will select the top three finalists. The winner will be chosen based on audience applause. more

“ODE TO THE RING-NECKED PHEASANT”: This work by Laura Beard is featured in “Mercer County Artists Exhibition 2024,” on view through July 22 at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor.

The talents of 27 Mercer County artists are on display through July 22 at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in “Mercer County Artists Exhibition 2024,” a juried exhibition open to visual artists who live, work, or attend school in Mercer County. The MCCC Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on Mercer’s West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

In collaboration with the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission, the exhibition, which features 32 works in a variety of media selected from 44 pieces submitted by 27 artists, is dedicated to celebrating all artists of Mercer County from hobbyists to professionals. more

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: From left, Susie Henkel, Lynn DeClemente Losavio, Stephen Webb, and Grant Peterson have joined the board of directors at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council has welcomed Stephen Webb, Lynn DeClemente Losavio, Susie Henkel, and Grant Peterson to its board of directors. These professionals bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and passion for the arts, enriching HV Arts Council’s mission to foster creativity and cultural engagement in the community bringing “art in the everyday!”  more

“MOONLIGHT FANTASY”: This oil on canvas painting by Jane Adriance is featured in “Beyond Boundaries,” her joint exhibition with Joe Kazimierczyk, on view June 6 through June 30 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

Artist’s Gallery will present “Beyond Boundaries,” an exhibition showcasing the abstracted realities of painter Jane Adriance and the inspiring landscape paintings of Joe Kazimierczyk, June 6 to June 30 at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street, Lambertville.

Viewers are invited to witness how these artists are pushing the boundaries of imagination, offering fresh perspectives for all to explore, and meet the artists at their opening reception on Saturday, June 8, from 5 to 7 pm.  more

Paintings by Michael Schweigart  are on view in the dining room at Bell’s Tavern, 183 North Union Street, Lambertville, through June 30. An exhibiting member artist at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, Schweigart relishes taking the road less traveled when possible, creating paintings inspired by scenes along the way.  

“SMALL FUND, BIG IMPACT”: “‘Small Fund, Big Impact’ is our motto, and it’s so true! For 18 years, our Johnson Park Koko Fund has assisted Johnson Park students experiencing financial hardship by subsidizing enrichment programs they can join.” Koko Fund co-chairs Philip Arnold and Deirdre von Roemer are proud of the fund’s contributions in offering students an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities.

By Jean Stratton

If you don’t have students attending Johnson Park (JP) Elementary School, the Koko Fund may be unknown to you.

But it is such an important program, providing opportunities and enrichment to so many children, that it won’t remain unknown for long. Its impact continues to grow, as new students become involved and the community helps provide needed support.

What is it and how did it begin? First of all, Koko is a gorilla! That is: the large stuffed animal version which is the Johnson Park mascot. It reminds the students to: “Be Responsible. Be Respectful. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Successful.” more

OPENING UP: The Princeton University women’s open varsity 8 churns through the water in recent action. Last Sunday, the varsity 8 placed first in its grand final at the Ivy League Championships in Pennsauken, N.J. The top boat’s victory helped the Tigers win their seventh straight Ivy title and earn the league’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Rowing Championships. The NCAA regatta is taking place from May 31-June 2 at the East Fork/Harsha Lake in Bethel, Ohio. (Photo by Ed Hewitt/Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University women’s open rowers had to juggle exams last week with preparing for the Ivy League Championships, they didn’t let that detract from their training.

“They did a really nice job balancing the academic demands with testing and rowing,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny. “They were just very focused in their approach. I think that is a testament to the team.” more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Braden Barlag heads past two Lawrenceville B players last week in the Mercer County Tournament semis. Junior attacker Barlag scored a career-best seven goals in the May 14 game as third-seeded PHS topped the Big Red 19-11. Two days later, Barlag tallied four goals and one assist but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers fell 16-11 to fifth-seeded and host Hopewell Valley in the MCT final. PHS, now 11-7, will be starting action in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 3 tournament this week where they are seeded ninth and will play at eighth-seeded Northern Highlands in a first round contest on May 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Braden Barlag has piled up a lot of goals this spring for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team, he readily acknowledges that his production results from a group effort.

“It is amazing having two of the best players in the state,” said junior attacker Barlag, referring to Tiger senior star attacker Patrick Kenah and junior standout midfielder Brendan Beatty. “They are the best teammates you could ask for, and two of the best leaders. We have some other great players like Jason Singer and Alex Famiglietti. They are great dudes to play with and great guys. I love being on the team with them. They hit me on the stick every time so I can just step and shoot it. It is just an honor to play with them.” more

By Justin Feil

Mila Trkov has been adjusting to her first year of track and field with the Princeton High girls’ squad.

The freshman took another big step by anchoring two of the Tigers’ highest placing events at the Mercer County Championships on Friday and Saturday at Robbinsville High, the 4×800 and the 4×400 relays. She has toggled between the sprints and the distance group as a runner who can help both relay teams.

“It was definitely really scary because there was like that pressure that now we can score points,” said Trkov. “I was in the relays for the 4×8 and the 4×4 so I didn’t want to let my team down, and you know my group down. So there was definitely some nervousness from that as well as my additional pre-race anxiety.” more

HAVING A BLAST: Hun School baseball player E.J. Balewitz makes contact in the Mercer County Tournament final last Thursday at Trenton Thunder Ballpark as second-seeded Hun defeated top-seeded Lawrence 10-2 to win the title. Senior catcher Balewitz, who blasted a walk-off homer as Hun edged Robbinsville 5-4 in the MCT semis, helped Hun end the season with the Prep A state title as it defeated Lawrenceville 8-7 in the final round of the double-elimination competition last Saturday. The Raiders, who finished the spring with a 20-5 record, became the first team in program history to win the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) title, MCT crown, and Prep A championship in the same season. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Bill Alden

From May 11-18, the Hun School baseball team faced a playoff gauntlet as it competed in both the Mercer County Tournament and Prep A state tourney.

Rising to the occasion and getting contributions throughout its roster, Hun ran the table, going 3-0 in the MCT on the way to winning its second county crown in three years and 3-0 in the Prep A as it earned its second straight title in the competition. more

LEADING ROLE: Hun School softball player Sam Jolly lays down a bunt in a 2023 game. Last week, sophomore second baseman and leadoff hitter Jolly starred as top-seeded Hun defeated fifth-seeded Lawrenceville 3-0 in the Prep A state semis. Jolly went 2 for 2 with a walk, run, and RBI in the May 14 contest. Two days later, Jolly went 1 for 3 with a run in a losing cause as the Raiders feel 3-2 to third-seeded Pingry in the Prep A final. Hun ended the spring with an 18-3 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sam Jolly’s uniform was covered with dirt stains after the Hun School softball team defeated visiting Lawrenceville 3-0 in the Prep A state semi last week.

Those stains were badges of honor for Jolly as she sparked the Hun hitting attack from her leadoff spot, going 2 for 2 with a walk, run, and RBI helping the top-seeded Raiders edge the fifth-seeded Big Red. more

May 15, 2024

Visitors learned about sheep shearing, wool spinning and use, sheep herding and care, fleece cleaning, and more at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township on Saturday. The program was part of the farm’s series of weekly Saturday events. (Photo by Sarah Teo)

By Donald Gilpin

Nineteen days after its start on April 25, the Princeton University Gaza Solidarity Encampment appeared to be preparing to leave Cannon Green on Tuesday, May 14 following a warning sent by Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber the previous evening.

About 40 demonstrators continued to occupy the space in the early afternoon on Tuesday, but signs of decamping included piled up blankets, tarps, and other supplies, as well as barriers surrounding the green with signs stating: “This space is closed in preparation for University events.” About a dozen public safety officials were present around the perimeter of the green, and a number of University facilities workers were hanging electrical cords and lights in the trees.

It is not clear how and when the withdrawal from Cannon Green will be completed. A mid-day Instagram notice from the protesters stated that Eisgruber “failed to let us know how, when, or on what timeline the camp would be cleared,” and the “urgent update” concluded, “Administration and public safety are currently encircling the camp as we deliberate our next steps.”  more

By Anne Levin

Testimony was set to continue at Witherspoon Hall Tuesday evening on an application for a 15-unit addition to the Joseph Hornor House, an 18th century property at the corner of Nassau and Harrison streets that was recently listed by Preservation New Jersey as one of the 10 most endangered historic places in New Jersey.

Some 40 people, many of whom live in the Jugtown Historic District where the house is located, attended Monday’s 5 p.m. special meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to express their views on the proposed project. Because Princeton Council was to meet in the room at 7 p.m., the HPC ran out of time before any of them had an opportunity to speak. With this in mind, the commission scheduled a second meeting for 5 p.m. Tuesday, after press time, without a time limit. more

By Anne Levin

At its meeting on Monday evening, May 13, Princeton Council held a work session on the 2024 Bicycle Facilities Implementation Plan. Assistant Municipal Engineer Jim Purcell talked about how to work elements of the Master Plan Bicycle Mobility Plan into programs that are taking place to resurface roads, make capital improvements, and repave sidewalks.

“We have some opportunities this year,” he said. “PSE&G’s gas system modernization project is underway. Twelve miles of gas mains are being replaced, so they are tearing up the roadways.”

PSE&G is required to replace existing markings on the roadways, and will be asked to add some new ones. “Given limited resources, we want to implement these elements when we can,” Purcell said. “With all the construction and PSE&G work, this is an opportunity.” more

ONE THOUSAND TREES: The Watershed Institute and its partners embarked last week on a tree planting project in Cadwalader Park that aims to increase Trenton’s tree canopy and combat climate change while adding 1,000 trees throughout the city in the next three years. (Photo courtesy of the Watershed Institute)

By Donald Gilpin

With a plan to plant 1,000 trees in Trenton in the next three years, the Watershed Institute, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF), and other partners began planting trees last week in Cadwalader Park to improve climate resiliency and enhance the environment.

“At the Watershed we really believe that trees are such an important component of the green infrastructure that protects our waterways and so important as we enter this year of climate change,” said Watershed Chief of Operations Sophie Glovier. more

By Anne Levin

Celebrating its 40th anniversary during the pandemic in 2021, Isles, the Trenton-based community development organization, came up with the idea for a week-long series of free webinars, workshops, and panels focused on timely topics such as environmental concerns, violence prevention, and building community. The Virtual Forum was such a success — attracting more than 650 participants from New Jersey and beyond — that it has become an annual event.

This year’s Virtual Forum takes place Monday to Thursday, May 20-23, with sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The focus is Environmental Health on day one, Building Wealth on day two, Transportation and Mobility on day three, and Innovative Approaches to Violence Prevention on the final day. Each webinar is followed by a discussion. more

By Donald Gilpin

Mark Eastburn

Mark Eastburn, Princeton High School (PHS) science teacher and a leader of the school’s award-winning research program, reflected on some of the key experiences and influences in his life: an interest in reptiles, a Quaker upbringing, a semester-abroad program followed by two years in the Peace Corps after college, and an affinity for pursuing his own interests regardless of popular opinion.

The PHS research team, with its remarkable cross-cultural Indigenous language project, was recently chosen for the second time as a National Grand Prize Winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition with a prize package worth $100,000 — the only school in the country to have won the national competition twice.

Eastburn first came to Princeton Public Schools as a Spanish teacher at Johnson Park Elementary School, where he taught for 10 years, then a science specialist at Riverside Elementary for seven years before coming to PHS in 2018, where he has taught chemistry, biology, and engineering, as well as overseeing the research program and serving as adviser to a wide variety of clubs. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and master’s degrees in biology from Villanova University and in neuroscience education from Columbia University Teacher’s College.

His own experience as a high school student was not a high point of his life. “I had some good teachers in high school who encouraged me,” he said. “Biology and chemistry were something I was interested in and I worked hard at that, but I did not have a good time as a teenager. I had so many bad memories. I threw out my yearbook. I didn’t enjoy middle school or high school at all.”

 more

By Nancy Plum

Instrumental concertos have been audience blockbusters for centuries. Such composers as Mozart and Beethoven cast themselves as leading stars in their own compositions, and contemporary performers have made stellar careers of exploring the repertory. Princeton Symphony Orchestra presented one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s challenging piano/orchestral works this past weekend, featuring a soloist who maintains an active repertoire of more piano concertos than almost anyone. Led by conductor Rossen Milanov and with soloist Sara Davis Buechner at the keyboard, the musicians of Princeton Symphony Orchestra brought Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major to life, bracketed by a contemporary work honoring nature and a towering Schumann symphony.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

I’ve been writing the same sort of thing since I was 15 years old — about people who are a little cracked.

—Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995)

The line I’ve quoted is from an August 1991 interview Patricia Highsmith granted the International Herald Tribune shortly before publishing the last novel in the Ripley series, Ripley Under Water (Knopf 1992), which I read in a day, swept along in a fever of morbid anticipation. Whenever that most civilized of psychopaths Tom Ripley is involved, it’s not what happens next that carries you along but the need to know when it will happen and to whom and how, and then how Ripley will get away with it, which he always does. There’s no denying you’re in the grip of the writer Graham Greene called “the poet of apprehension.”

Even before she started writing about “cracked” people, Highsmith was reading Karl Menninger’s The Human Mind, which she found in her parents’ library when she was “8 or 9,” and going through “case histories with footnotes about murders, sadists, crackpots, if they could be cured or not and what the psychiatrist decided to do about them.” more

FINAL CONCERT OF THE SEASON: Westminster Conservatory Honors Music Program students, from left, Julianna Wong, Madeleine Nieman, and Tanvi Patl, will perform with the Westminster Community Orchestra on Sunday, May 19.

The Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present its season finale “Nature and Magic” on Sunday, May 19 at 3 p.m. in Hillman Hall in the Marian Buckelew Cullen Center on the Westminster Campus on Walnut Lane.

Suggested admission is $10 (cash) which will be accepted at the door. Audience members requiring seating assistance should arrive at 2:30 p.m. more