Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Great Auditorium’ Category

Paul Goldfinger photograph. © 2013  Click to enlarge.

Paul Goldfinger photograph. © 2013  Click to enlarge.  Re-posted from 2013.


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Ocean Grove, New Jersey 2019. © Google.  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.  She was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak English.”

This is by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

You can click on the map above  (dated 2019)  to see a few interesting items:

a.  Since when are research maps marred by advertisements?  Notice the Asbury Beer Hall and the Arts Center in Ocean Grove.  Regarding the latter, where the Heck Avenue is the Great Auditorium?

b.  Wesley Lake is not wearing its latest official name as a “retention detention basin.”

c. The streets along the Lake, OG side, have no names.  What happened to Lake Avenue, that infamous walkway/official street? How about Main Avenue?

d. The North End Redevelopment Area seems to be carved out and made part of Asbury.

e. What about the extension of Ocean Grove into the Ocean?  Does that eastern boundary  presume to say something about ownership of the Ocean?  Or what?  Jack??

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB   “Veinte Anos”   Are we speaking the same language in this town?

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Paul Goldfinger ©. August, 2018.   Click to enlarge.



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

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Enthusiastic patriots down the row from Eileen and me.     Summer Stars 7/5/18. All photos and videos by Paul Goldfinger.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor at Blogfinger.net

Another season of Summer Stars unfolded with the Imperial Brass, a world-class group of 30 musicians who traveled to Ocean Grove to present a marvelous concert to 425 enthusiastic folks in the Great Auditorium on a hot summer July evening.

This was a special occasion for the group, because joining them was Phil Smith of Ocean Grove and the World.  Phil has a summer cottage in the Grove and he has played here before.   For  40 years he was principal trumpet with the NY Philharmonic.  And sometimes he plays during Sunday services in the Great Auditorium

In addition, our own Gordon Turk participated on the Hope-Jones organ, and there was another special guest:  Warren Vaché, jazz cornettist.

Probably the most impressive part of the concert was when Gordon Turk conducted an ensemble of 10 brass players to do a brilliant piece called “Grand Choeur Dialogué”  I was mesmerized.

The three soloists were amazing  with gorgeous tones and technique, so we have some video clips.—turn up your volume.     And the Imperial Brass were absolutely the best. To hear such an accomplished group perform within the acoustics of the GA was a great privilege.





I cannot express how wonderful this concert was. Our tickets cost $29.00 for two. Sitting near me was Congressman Frank Pallone.  We talked music for  about 30 seconds after the concert ended—he stayed for every note.  I’ve seen him there before.   Don’t miss all the Thursday Summer Stars  concerts coming up. The seats are not reserved.

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Saturday night, June 25, 2011. Doo Wops at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


If you check the Saturday night programming this summer, you will find very little happening at the Great Auditorium.  The Beach Boys will be supplying good vibrations on August 18, and the Doo Wops will arrive with a blast from the past on September 1.

But otherwise, the Great Auditorium will have no Saturday night shows that would bring large crowds of tourists into the Grove.

This will confirm the Blogfinger Counting Cars Theory of parking remediation where reducing the number of cars coming into the Grove on a Saturday night will improve parking.  Take advantage of this generous offer by the CMA and invite friends and family to your houses or to enjoy the town without fear of parking glut.

So why did the CMA offer that parking relief?  We are told that they weren’t making money on those big shows  (Abba, Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis, Neil Sedaka, Allentown Band and other popular acts.)   We thought that they were going to fill those Saturday night schedules with religious programming, but it’s not in their Program Guide.

I’m not counting the 2 Summer Band concerts which will not impact parking in the Grove.

Maybe the CMA should take a look at secular programming combined with parking relief  (such as shuttles) but they need to consider some events that will attract younger people or leave that beautiful building empty on summer Saturday nights prime time.    —-PG


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The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove.  Getting ready to perform Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” conducted by Jason Tramm.   August 28, 2016. The musicians are from the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Here is a link to the Blogfinger article about this 2016  concert.  Kudos to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for making such remarkable events possible in our town.  The link below has a photo gallery of Marvelous Mendelssohn brought to life by Maestro Jason Tramm, the musicians, and the choir.

Elijah in the Great Auditorium

STEPHEN DOUGHTY     Elijah Part 2.  “He, watching over Israel, slumbers not.”

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Ocean Grove.  A boy on the cusp of becoming a man.    August 1, 2017. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net


Christmas in August with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert


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Facebook Imperial Brass

By Paul Goldfinger, music editor @Blogfinger.net.  Eileen Goldfinger video clips

July 6, 2017 in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove:

We enjoyed this concert by the Imperial Brass very much, as expected, but there were some “knock your socks off” special moments.

As many of you know, the famous trumpeter Phillip Smith has a summer place in Ocean Grove. His tone and technique are so good that it makes you want to jump up and cheer, which is what happened.  Phil Smith played an intricate duet with Mitch Brodsky called “Deliverance.”  In the second half he soloed on an amazingly complex piece called Scherzando.

Phil told the audience that he has missed playing in the Great Auditorium and how much he loves the salt air and the pleasures of being back in his little cottage on Pilgrim Pathway.   Phil retired from his  long-term position as principal trumpet with the NY Philharmonic and now he is on the faculty at the University of Georgia.

Other highlights included a lovely trombone solo of an African American spiritual “Swing Low” by Robert Tiedemann. (We have a brief video from that below.)

We have been attending musical performances in the GA for years, but my greatest wish, until now ungranted, was to hear authentic live jazz in that terrific venue. Tonight the Imperial Brass granted that wish in what I suspect was the first time a real jazz man played, without amplification, on our stage.

Warren Vaché is an acclaimed jazz cornetist  from New Jersey who had two beautiful solos with the Brass, but the one that I savored was his rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s  “Smile”  Vaché delighted the crowd with a vocal chorus as well as a jazz solo.  Hopefully we can get some more jazz players at the Grove.

If you like jazz, check with the Axelrod Theatre in Deal where they often feature first rate live jazz.  Last year they had John Pizzarelli.  Also, Shanghai Jazz in Madison is a fine restaurant that features jazz and has done so for years. It is worth the trip.


The Imperial Brass is such a fine ensemble, and they vary their content so that you never get bored.  The instrumentation is thrilling for you brass fans–a diverse collection of horns— baritones, French, euphoniums, trumpets, and more that I couldn’t identify.  But the end result is a magnificent sound where the components come together in a remarkable way.

They have a web site if you want to sign up for their mailings or buy their recordings:

Imperial Brass

The group astonished the crowd with their last number, a most unusual rendition of the “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa whose premier march is often played in the Great Auditorium, but it is always done “straight.” However tonight the Brass astonished us with a raucus, jazzy, 21st century version of this piece including the classic piccolo solo done tonight by a marvelous soprano cornet player.  I wish Sousa could have been there.  Below is a bit of that march:


But there was an actual composer present–Joseph Turrin, who got to have a standing O because some of his brass compositions were performed tonight including a marvelous tribute to New York City called “Landmarks.”

Here is a brief segment of Robert Tiedemann’s trombone solo: “Swing Low”  Video by Eileen Goldfinger

And here are two selections from the Imperial Brass & Friends CD.

PHILIP SMITH (Trumpet)  with a hymn that he loves  (he introduced it and played it tonight.)

WARREN VACHE´ (Trumpet)  “April in Paris.”  ( I could not find a recording of “Smile”)

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By Paul Goldfinger, Music Editor @Blogfinger

“The night was splendid
And the melody seemed to say,
‘Summer will pass away
Take your happiness while you may'”

Irving Berlin wrote these words, and although it was not about Ocean Grove, this town was always a place for summer music.

In June 1954, an article appeared in the famed music magazine Etude. It was called “Music at Ocean Grove” and it was largely about the Director of Music who had been there for over 20 years—-Dr. Walter D. Eddowes.

The article made it clear that the music then, in 1954, in Ocean Grove, was almost entirely “sacred.” Dr. Eddowes had an Auditorium Choir which sang the Methodist Hymnal on Sunday mornings, and this choir was a “trained” group of 300 mixed voices. That choir, together with the singing audience that numbered from about 1,200 at the start of the season to 10,000 during the height of the Camp Meeting Week produced quite a sound in the Great Auditorium. It’s a good thing they had a strong roof on that building.

There was no mention of instrumental music in this article.  They did describe the yearly “week long conference of sacred music, held each July back then, which was free, and attracted organists, choir directors, ministers and group leaders from all over the country.”

Eddowes was strict. He believed that “a real church musician feels as deeply about spiritual growth as he does about music.”  He also said, “To register with people, you must meet them in a friendly manner—but the friendliness must be genuine. Do not try to be funny!”

We can only imagine what he would say if he saw Gene Chandler, The Duke of  Earl, strutting down the main aisle of the GA during a Doo Wop concert in the Grove  (which did happen.).  Or how would he react if he heard the Tokens singing about love as they did a few years back during a concert in the GA:


But now, despite the changes in the secular schedule, we still have an ambitious and remarkable classical schedule which includes Summer Stars (one of the most amazing bargains for a concert since the days of Mozart.)

And we have Maestro Jason Tramm, the  current Music Director in Ocean Grove, bringing fabulous major works  including an oratorio and a Choir Festival each season to the Great Auditorium, often with full choral involvement and with entire orchestras conspiring to give the audiences goose bumps.

And Gordon Turk, at the helm of the Hope-Jones organ, provides amazing regular recitals by himself and visiting artists, and those are often free.

And the remarkable Metropolitan Opera star Ronald Naldi and his cast of singers also perform regularly in the Grove.

And don’t miss Phil Smith and the Imperial Brass.  Phil, famous trumpet player and Ocean Grover, will return with some of his brass geniuses to bring us world class  brass music. (see schedule above.)

Also you might recall our post about music in OG from 1890-1900, old recordings that were reproduced and received an Academy Award nomination this year.   Here is a link to that:

OG music from 1890-1900




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