Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association Activity’ Category

Fletcher Lake in Ocean Grove.  Part of the “community?” Click to enlarge and see what’s at stake when Ocean Grove policy is commandeered by the CMA and the Township. How about the citizens?    Paul Goldfinger photo.  ©

 

Paul Goldfinger. Editor Blogfinger.net

This post from 2018  deconstructs a portion of a  CMA letter about permit parking which revealed a great deal about how they feel about this town.    Here it is again because of our recent discussions on this subject.  Note the comments.

The quote below is from Rev. John DiGiamberardino’s statement to the Neptune Township Committee at their regular meeting on Monday, August 14, 2017, in the Municipal Building. He is the COO of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.:

“The OGCMA, founder of the community, has existed for 148 years as the leading organization and tax payer in Ocean Grove seeking the good of the community, residents, and visitors.”

The context of his statement was to object vigorously against the idea of permit parking for OG citizens and to threaten a law suit if the CMA’s demands are not met.

But if you read the CMA quote above carefully, you will see that we need to clarify some of his words and definitions. Words have meaning, and I assume that the Reverend wants us to understand his meaning.

a.  “The OGCMA, founder of the community…..”    What does “community” mean?  He refers to the “community” as being separate from “residents” when he says that “OGCMA seeks the good of the community, residents and visitors,”  so “community” evidently refers to something other than the citizens who live here.

He introduces the OGCMA as the “founder of the community” as if that has some special significance in terms of governance  in this town in 2017.  When the State Supreme Court turned  Ocean Grove over to Neptune in 1980, that left the CMA as being just another group or entity in OG with no legal special influence in the decisions of the Neptune government, such as what to do about parking.

b. “ The leading organization..” Does this mean the most important organization in town?  Does he claim special entitlement because of being “the leading organization?”

c. “The leading taxpayer” seems to refer to the OG entity which  pays the most tax money to Neptune Township. Does he mention this because those who pay the most taxes deserve the most attention or the most influence?     We have residents in this town who pay no property taxes.  Do they have no influence?

d. “148 years”  Does he mention this because he wants to teach us some history or does it mean that the oldest organization in town deserves some special consideration?    Otherwise, why do we need that number?

e.  ” The CMA is seeking the good of the community, residents, and visitors.”  In order to understand this claim,  we need to know the definition of “good.”  It seems to be condescending for the CMA to know what “good” we residents need, and then to demand public policy based on that unique knowledge.

My guess is that the CMA thinks that it has some special advantage over the rest of us that entitles it to apply its  unique influence in getting the Township to make decisions in its favor, such as re-zoning the North End and refusing to consider a permit parking plan.

The CMA threatens a lawsuit over this.  If they think that they are  more important than any other constituency in town, and if the Township agrees with that, then that seems like a potential Constitutional violation  if laws are passed in their favor.  (“Equal justice under the law.”)

Are we wrong?  Are we totally misconstruing what Rev. John said in that statement?   What do you think this means?

 

Written August 18, 2017,  by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

 

Read Full Post »

Some of my neighbors way back in the GA where original wooden seats are located and where the view is grand. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Some of my neighbors way back in the GA where original wooden seats are located and where the view is grand. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor, Blogfinger.net   Re-post on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.

 

If you have never witnessed an Ocean Grove choir festival, it is an experience. I attended last night, but it was not a first for me. A large crowd was there to hear the huge massed choir  of about 1000 voices from 125  different churches, professional soloists, the Hope-Jones organ aired out from top to bottom, a number of skilled conductors, a brass ensemble, and a varied program consisting of Christian music. The only composer I recognized was Franz Josef Haydn who wrote the opening anthem, “The Heavens are Telling.”

But even if you don’t know this music and even if you are not Christian, this musical event is astonishing to see.

The Choir Festival is not a typical concert, because, as a number of speakers explained, this program is about prayer through music. As it says in Psalm 95:1 “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord.”  The program, in fact, stresses the words rather than the music. On the cover it says, “Wonderful Words of Life.”

Among the words offered last night was a prayer by the Camp Meeting Association COO JP Gradone who reminded us that living in the northeast was a challenge for those who promote religious principles to guide our lives. He hoped that our country could reconnect with the “values of America’s founders.”

But you can, as I did, attend to enjoy a marvelous musical event, while appreciating its religious significance. I like to sit way in the back, where the moms with infants locate along with others who enjoy the broad expanse of the unique sound and  visuals.

The soloists, with their trained voices, project out and can be clearly heard all the way in the back. They included Ronald Naldi, Monica Zigler, Martha Bartz, and Justin Beck. Plus, of course, there are the Director of Music Dr. Jason C Tramm  and our own Dr. Gordon Turk presiding over those 11,000 pipes.

Below is a sample of what the Choir Festival sounds like.   It is from “How Shall a King Come?” conducted by Dr. Cindy Bell and with soloists Monica Ziglar and Ronald Naldi.

 

Read Full Post »

 

Paul Goldfinger ©. 2012. Ushers March in the Great Auditorium during Choir Festival.

Read Full Post »

Kazoo you too. Days Kazoo band, 2012 edition. Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger photo ©
Kazoo you too. Days Kazoo band, 2012 edition. Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger photo ©  Click image to turn the kazoos into tubas.  (Really—an all- girls tuba band for 2015.  Let’s do it.)   Re-post.

 

 

Heather says:     “THE DAYS ICE CREAM KAZOO BAND WILL BE AT THE INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE IN OCEAN GROVE, NJ.   Ahem. Sorry for yelling, I’m just really excited!!”

Driving Jersey, a PBS series will soon feature the Ocean Grove parade and the Kazoo Band!

 

Read Full Post »

Days Kazoo Band. July 4, 2016. Main Avenue, OG. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge this image.

 

 

DOROTHY STANLEY AND JOEL BLUM   from Showboat.

 

Read Full Post »

Pat Brenan of Neptune has been attending every Planotone concert for thirty years.

Pat Brenan of Neptune has been attending every Planotone concert for thirty years, dressed as Kenny and his guys do. Paul Goldfinger photo © 9/7/13. Ocean Grove, NJ. Great Auditorium.

 

 

By Paul Goldfinger, who wrote the Book of Love, and Editor of Blogfinger.net

 

2013:   The official count for last night’s Doo Wops concert was 2,700, but it sure looked like more than that—downstairs practically all seats occupied, and the balcony seats about 1/3 full.  The crowd was wide awake, alive and well.  We lost count of the standing O’s, whistles, shouts and applause.

Each of the three performing groups thanked the audience for helping to keep a musical era alive—an era of nostalgic, romantic and understandable music.  This was music that you could dance slow with, under low twinkling lights in gyms decorated with crepe paper.

That music, in OG last night, clearly was attracting some people who were born after the actual Doo Wop times of 1950’s going into the ’60’s when it helped form the basis for rock and roll. The Beatles found inspiration in performers including Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Drifters and many others.

Last night, the show opened with the Duprees–not my idea of a Doo Wop act, but they are polished performers. The Duprees have had many hits during their 50 year history (1962-2012) and they do put on a musically excellent show. Unfortunately the loudness of their presentation sometimes made the music a bit muddy.  The personnel of this group has changed many times over the years. The current group are all fine singers.

The Duprees are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new album, and I did like their rendition last night  of the Bobby Darin hit “Beyond the Sea” from that album.

 

THE DUPREES, from their 50th anniversary album:   “Beyond the Sea.”

 

Shirley Alston Reeves, age 72, came on stage with two young women backup singers and her band.  She is the real deal,  and, although she did some girl group songs by the Supremes, the Chiffons, etc, which the audience loved, she really came alive when they did music by her old group:  The Shirelles.

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”  undoubtedly broke a few hearts again in this audience.  One item that kept eyes on the stage were the two backup singers who, by some magic, managed to keep those low cut red gowns aloft.  Shirley also wore red, but her outfit was wisely  more demure.

 

THE SHIRELLES: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”

 

 

But, the Great Auditorium came really alive when Kenny Vance and the Planotones were introduced by Big Joe Henry for act II.  Their entrance set the stage as they came on doing the Planotone walk.  Kenny, who is now 69, has revised his show and made it funnier, edgier and musically more interesting, while retaining the infrastructure of his best hits and perfect falsetto.

Those guys, in their black suits, their porkpie hats and shades—always not taking themselves too seriously—lit up the place with their presence and the quality of the music.  Johnny Gale, the guitarist and musical director, was superb, as usual, in multiple rolls on bass, guitar, and vocals.  He even did some fine blues.

The group  opened with an old favorite, but one that I had never heard before by them:  It was the Five Satins’  “In the Still of the Night” which the Planotones did in a totally unique way.  But later, Kenny again mesmerized an audience with his version of “Gloria”

 

Here’s a link to the Blogfinger article about that song and its importance to Doo Wop history, and you can hear Kenny Vance sing it.

 

Gloria link

 

And here is a song that Kenny seems to do at every concert.  Angel Baby is beautiful, but he always gets the audience to sing along, and that is especially poignant when  a few thousand people participate in the Great Auditorium.

 

KENNY VANCE AND THE PLANOTONES with “Angel Baby.”

 

 

—Paul Goldfinger, Music Editor @Blogfinger.net

Read Full Post »

July 6, 2019,  parade in OG for Independence Day and the 150th birthday of Ocean Grove. But read the banner, to see what the CMA is celebrating.    Click image to read it.     Paul Goldfinger photo.

 

img jpg117 (1)

This fine work of fictionalized history is by an Ocean Grove author.  It is about Victorian OG in 1905. It describes a life of over 100 years ago in the Grove  that had nothing to do with the Camp Meeting. The book is available on Amazon. Posted with permission.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger   RE-POST FROM DECEMBER 2020.

At the concert on July 4, 2019,  in the Great Auditorium, Gordon Turk, the host for the concert, said to the audience that we are celebrating “the birthday of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.”  If you read the recent writings of the CMA, it is quite evident that their main goals for this 150th anniversary are based on their religious “mission.”  Just read the 2019 “Ocean Grove Summer  Program Guide” and you will see what they are doing in addition to what they are saying.

In other publicity ads, the wording  for the 150th seems to say that we are celebrating the birthday of the town of Ocean Grove.  And yes, there are many secular events scheduled as well, but it all happens without an effort to clearly define what this town is really about and, in particular, to recognize that there is another Ocean Grove besides the religious based community.

After the founding of Ocean Grove in 1869 by the Camp Meeting Association, the Town’s public taxpaying community and the private religious organization called the OGCMA were essentially one and the same.  But as time went by, considerable diversity evolved, and many residents were not affiliated with the CMA;  but they all had to follow the CMA rules (“blue laws”)  based on religious principles, and those rules were enforced by their own police force.

However, in 1980, Neptune Township took over governance, and the CMA was no longer in charge, although it subsequently brought to bear considerable influence— moral, practical,  and political.

The historical truth, looking back, is that there were groups of residents who got together to oppose the CMA governance as early as 1898 when a group of “lessees” in town sued to get the CMA to pay property taxes to the Township.  The lessees lost the suit at the NJ Supreme Court.

OG historian Gibbons said in 1939:   “Many times residents and land lessees of the town have voiced their objection to the local rules, to the tax situation, or to the form of government, especially from 1900-1925, and there have been many court fights.”

There were those who wanted secular public governance not private religious based rule. In 1920 there was a law passed  in Trenton called the “Ocean Grove Borough Bill.”  There actually was a public democratic town of Ocean Grove established, but for only one year; the law was reversed because the new Borough failed to rid itself of the blue laws.

This anniversary is about 150 years of history in this town, and there are many elements that the CMA had nothing to do with such as  Presidential  visits by Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley, Garfield, Wilson, and US Grant among others; commercial district with historic businesses such as Days; historic organizations such as the Historical Society of OG; Ocean Grove United; the Homeowners Assoc; suffrage  and feminist movements; architectural design and historic preservation; celebrities such as Caruso who visited Grovers here; businesses that started here such as Mrs. Wagner’s pies; giant events such as craft shows and flea markets; Town-wide Yard Sale; OG Film Festival; tax and zoning issues; land use issues; famous hotels; shipwrecks; Wesley Lake pollution; wildlife; restoration of homes around town including the famous Ocean Pathway; demographic evolution; residents’ issues with Neptune Township; parking challenges; relationship with Asbury Park;  condoization, and more.

The point is that this 150th  anniversary is both that of the CMA and the Town of Ocean Grove as separate but related entities.  One is a private religious based group–the CMA, while the other is a public, largely secular community with taxpaying residents often on a different wave length.   The situation, of course, is complicated by the  CMA’s ownership of the land.  This unique connection has yet to be ironed out.

Currently the CMA, which is promoting this 150th anniversary celebration,  is behaving as if it is all one and the same, and their writings confuse the distinctions.  If you read their summer program guide, there is no doubt that they are mostly celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Camp Meeting Association.

The idea of another historic “Ocean Grove” is getting lost in the shuffle;  the “other Ocean Grove” is a historic 150 year old residential small town with much to celebrate besides religion.  And don’t expect the media to “get it” because most of the citizens don’t “get it” either.

So, regardless of these distinctions, we are in the midst of a festive sesquicentennial, and we can thank the Camp Meeting Association for organizing it and paying for it.  And they have every right to do this celebration in whatever way they choose, but at least let’s speak clearly about what is happening.

Let’s enjoy the events, but don’t lose sight of the strange admixture of three factions  that goes on here—perhaps the only such arrangement anywhere in the US.

Don’t depend on Neptune Township to help at all to understand these distinctions, even though they have a sign on Corlies Avenue, near the Grove, that says that we are their “Historic District.”

But they really don’t care much about the Grove. Look at what they do, not what they say.     The Neptuners enjoy the apathy and the distinctions, because they get to milk the cash cow, exploiting whatever differences we have in our town.

JOHN LITHGOW  sings about knowing who we are and appreciating our differences:

 

How to refer to our town

Read Full Post »

Forever blowing bubbles in the Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo.

 

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-post 2016.

We recently began a discussion about mega- events in town and about the various groups that do not come together as a community.  We suggested that there are too many huge events that literally swallow the Grove whole.  Just this past month we had the Giant Flea Market (CC)  and the Giant Craft Market  (CMA) and then Bridgefest (CMA).  On  Saturday, June 25, the town was consumed by Bridgefest, a huge event sponsored by the CMA.

An exception is the magnificent July 4 parade, a  culturally enriching experience for the entire community and visitors. That parade resonates with history and tradition, and it provides pride, enjoyment and solidarity  to the people of Ocean Grove.  It is the only mega-event that is embraced by everyone in town, so the parking crunch can be tolerated.

But during  these huge events, it becomes extremely difficult to park.  People drive all over town—circling to find a space.  Parking issues contribute to a toxic effect that goes along with the sound and the fury of these tourist invasions. It goes beyond putting your car away.  It effects our lifestyles

But consider this:  The larger issue is not parking per se.   It is, “Whom is the town for?” Most of us bought homes or rent here  because we love this unique ocean-front town.  It has  diversity,  spirituality, family values,  music,  history, tranquility, and beauty.  When you come into town, you feel transformed to another place in time.    It has the potential to evolve a unique 21st century culture. But forces here which run amok threaten the future of Ocean Grove.

Whenever a mega-day occurs, the whole town becomes different.   It is not the town we bargained for when we decided to live here. It becomes something uncomfortable for those who reside  here, and really, why should the tax payers/residents have to put up with so many massive chaotic festivals in our town?  Who decides what the limits are?   Who decides whom  the town is for?

Specifically, these events, such as the giant flea markets, bring nothing of value to the town—- certainly nothing with character, charm, education and pro-community culture.  What they do bring are huge crowds, congestion, something to do for tourists, and transfer of money to vendors and sponsors.  At best they help a few tourist oriented businesses such as shops and restaurants.   They also overrun the infrastructure including the roads, the parks, the beachfront, the parking, the emergency services, the trash collection, the police patrols, and the lifestyles of those who live here.  Who decided we should have such events?

We need more  small-scale community happenings that enrich a town for the benefit of its residents.  These enrich the town by promoting community and culture.

Consider the money. The Chamber of Commerce must make a lot when they have one of their large events.  But who gets the money?—not the town of Ocean Grove  which has the events forced on it and has to put up with it.  It isn’t the homeowners who maintain their homes, culture and lifestyles as an inviting backdrop.   Does any of the money go to town services or community events and programs, for example for kids, seniors and families ?

Why should we tax payers  have our town overrun by those who consume us  and then go home?  And that includes those who use our streets to park and then go to Asbury.

Look back and consider other towns you have lived in.  Think of ones that were desirable and had a strong sense of community.   Did they have comparable mega-festivals that took over the town and benefited very few residents..  What community events did they have where you lived?

Thus,  we have brought up the subject of community in this town and raised the question of who is in charge.  Who gets to decide what’s best for the community?  Unfortunately, it is not the people.  It is a variety of selfish factions acting for their own interests.

There is no game plan for Ocean Grove. It is a free for all, and the question of “whom is the town for” is not answered because the answer has not been identified.   Is it for the event sponsors, the people who live here, the CMA, the tourists, the business community, influential families who receive favoritism, the developers, the Neptune politicians, or the narrowly focused organizations—especially the misguided  HOA?

It is complicated due to the “anything goes” philosophy here.  What can be done?    How can the people get control?    Let’s continue the  conversation.

 

THE MONOTONES

Read Full Post »

Morning CMA event for teens concluded at 8:45 am. Well attended.  Click to enlarge.  Masks are another story. Thursday. Ocean Grove boardwalk pavilion.   Blogfinger photo ©

 

 

THE IRISH ROVERS:

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

After Sandy the CMA mobilized citizens and other volunteers to work together in the cleanup Oct 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

 

 

Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net.   Once again the role of the CMA in the life of Ocean Grove has resurfaced.  May, 2020.

This post first appeared January  2019 regarding how the CMA affects the life styles of secular residents in town.

On Sunday June 2, 2019 a large religious event occurred that alarmed some residents who live near the Great Auditorium:

The Liquid Church brought a crowd of religious tourists here for a morning service in the Great Auditorium. Apparently it was noisy, then lunch on the Pathway with 7 food trucks, and then later with baptisms on the beach.  A usually quiet OG Sunday had changed.   The Liquid Church  was scheduled to be returning every Saturday night in July and August 2019.

This change raised these questions:  Is Ocean Grove once again becoming a Christian town?    Does the CMA have the unlimited power to expand in ways that can impact the quality of life of all who live here?   Does owning all the land give it that power?

 

That 2019  article below gets into some of these issues:

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association used to run this town, but all that changed in 1980 when the N.J. Supreme Court turned over our historic village to the municipality of Neptune Township.

None of the “blue laws” were left in effect, except for bans on selling tobacco, sales of alcohol, and closing of the beach on Sunday mornings.  There has been no coherent explanation for those bans and beach closure  as initiated by a private group in a public town.

The CMA retained control over the beachfront and they actually own the boardwalk but not the sand underneath, and they and others worked together to press FEMA in 2012 to help pay for the boardwalk restoration.

The Camp Meeting still owns most of the land in town as they pursue their religious “mission” which is growing year-round and has an effect on all who actually live in the Grove.

Interestingly, they have no membership list, so we don’t know how many residents in the Grove are committed to the CMA organization.  Most of their supporters seem to be religious tourists.

There is a group in town of private residents who are mostly secular and who probably number over 5,000 if second homers are included.  But, that group doesn’t  have much influence.

So how does the CMA maintain the reigns of power here, in  a democracy, to influence the residents of this community?

Around 2011,  Blogfinger became interested in the role of the CMA as it relates to the “community ” of Ocean Grove—ie the residents of the town.  We interviewed the  President of the CMA.  He said that the group would focus on its “mission” and not on the community of residents. That’s when I first learned that the CMA actually had a policy regarding the rest of the Grove.

After Sandy hit, the CMA stood tall to deal with the beachfront damage, but they also opened their arms to the secular OG community to help pay for it via the Together Fund.

Clearly the CMA is a sort of neighbor for all of us, but it is a peculiar sort.  They have power and influence in Neptune that enables them to strong arm certain issues in the Historic District such as congestion, parking, land use, North End Redevelopment, and life-styles for residents.

If we ask residents of OG the question: “What do you expect from the CMA,” we suspect that opinions will range from “nothing” to “a great deal.”

If you try to answer that question by thinking about the recent history of the CMA as neighbors in town, consider this summary below.  It is a short list of how they impact all who live here.

a.  They have lucrative large events through the year, especially during “prime time” which effects all of us who live here and which bring no money to help the OG  community.

b. They bring in thousands of tourists for their religious based events, but also for the town- wide clogging mega secular events on Ocean Pathway such as the Flea Market. They hope to extend their reach year-round.

c. They don’t care much about the secular residents in town as evidenced by their seeming indifference to issues that effect all of us, such as when they threatened to sue over permit parking before the conversation ever got out of the starting gate.

And you would think that they would be concerned about the Master Plan, the Land Use abuses, historic preservation, and other matters that involve them. But they never speak out about these topics.

d.  They were found to be guilty in 2007 of discrimination, and that stained the reputation of the entire town.

e.  They have been intimately involved with the worrisome plans for the project at the OG North End.

f.  Secular programming has been cut back at the GA.

Of course, there are many positive attributes for the entire town that stem from the CMA’s presence in the Grove such as: the 4th of July parade; Illumination Night;  Christmas events;  a clean and friendly beachfront; a wonderful summer music program; and activities for families, kids and teenagers.

So, what do you think?  Please comment below.

ELVIS:   “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: