Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Musical Event’ Category

Phil Smith performing at the Great Auditorium. Blogfinger photo.  2015 ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger

The Summer Stars Classical Series begins on Thursday, July 6, at 7:30 pm in the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium.  The Imperial Brass will be there, a 28 piece ensemble with first rate musicians.  They have appeared in the Grove before, and they are marvelous.

But this time they will have two famous soloists.  The first is Ocean Grove’s Phil Smith, formerly the principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.

And also featured will be jazz great Warren Vaché whom we have featured before on Blogfinger.  We have hoped for some fine jazz in the Grove, but this time we will get our wish.

The impressive program will feature a variety of classical and contemporary works,   and the mixing and matching of musicians will delight fans of brass arrangements.

Imperial Brass Great Auditorium 2015 Blogfinger review

Here is a link to our article one month ago about this amazing and affordable musical series. The 2017  schedule  is below.


And here is Warren Vaché and friends from his album Stardust :

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Can you talk without moving your lips?  Taylor Mason can. Go to the show and see if you think the dummy on his lap is talking.

Regarding the summer secular schedule in OG, Mike Love of the Beach Boys told APP.com, regarding the Great Auditorium, “I love that place, it’s great, it’s one of the classic venues that we perform at,” Love said of the Great Auditorium in a 2014 interview.”

And, he added with a laugh, “One of the great things about Ocean Grove is the proximity to some fantastic ice cream parlors. We find a lot of pleasure in coming there.”

And he is just one of many GA Saturday night performers who have praised that fabulous music venue as they stood on the stage of the GA  including Tony Bennett who liked to try and sing acapella there. I have heard quite a few musicians and singers express how awed they felt being inside that giant cello of a building.

CAST OF GYPSY   (2008 Broadway revival:)

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Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. September 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Street musician.  Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. September 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo © The building behind burned down on Feb 6, 2015. Note the original setbacks. Reposted from September, 2015.

BLOSSOM DEARIE  “It Might as well be Spring”  (performed in French)

“I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams
I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing”

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Ronald Naldi in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger , undated. ©

Ronald Naldi 2011 BF post


RONALD NALDI performing “Mattinata” from his album Torn A Surriento–Neopolitan Songs and Romances


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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. ©

Here is a link to the Blogfinger article about this concert:

Elijah in the Great Auditorium

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

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Cello soloist in the OG Great Auditorium. Photo by Paul Goldfinger

Cello soloist in the OG Great Auditorium. Photograph by Paul Goldfinger. Click to enlarge.

* Quote from Radar O’Reilly in the TV series “M.A.S.H.”


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The Great Auditorium.  Paul Goldfinger photo. 12/13/14. ©

The Great Auditorium. Paul Goldfinger photo. 12/13/14. ©

SHE and HIM     “The Christmas Waltz.”   From the album A very She and Him Christmas.   “In three quarter time.”

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Perry Young. Sept. 4, 2016. Ocean Grove near the boardwalk. Paul Goldfinger photo. . ©

Perry Young. Sept. 4, 2016. Ocean Grove near the boardwalk. Paul Goldfinger photo.  ©

I struck up a conversation with Perry when I spotted his Planotones shirt. We chatted near the large American flag.   Perry is from Milton,  New Hampshire.  Originally he was from Queens, NY, but he left there in 2003.

Perry was at the World Trade Center on 9-11, and in his words, “I was fortunate to escape the falling north tower.”   Perry was a member of the Painters Union.

Perry Young has been visiting Ocean Grove for nearly 40 years.  He says that it is a very special place for him,  and he  is drawn to it and loves to come here each summer. His favorite hotel is the Shawmont. He knows a lot about the town and this area, and I invited him to share some anecdotes with our viewers.

Perry and his daughter Christine are Blogfinger fans. In a subsequent  email he said, “I along with my daughter Christine will always be following Blogfinger.net.  I enjoyed looking at all the photos you have posted on your website.  I also thought your history in the medical field was awesome.   Your friend, Perry.”

We became fast friends, and Perry asked me to pose for a picture, but I agreed only after he said I could take his picture in the Planotone shirt. We sent a copy of the photo to Christine, and she was thrilled.

He and I are both fans of Kenny Vance and the Planotones.  We miss seeing Kenny and the boys at the OG Doo Wops.  Kenny had an illness, but now  he is reported to be in good condition.   Kenny  has not, so far, returned to touring.   He is working on publishing some unrecorded tapes of music from that era.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones. Undated Internet photo.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones. Undated Internet photo.

We talked about Kenny and his marvelous falsetto and close harmonies with his group.  I should have asked Perry to do the Planotone Walk.  Maybe next time we could find two porkpie hats and some shades to do a video.

We agreed that one of Kenny’s most marvelous songs was “Gloria”—–a beautiful and sad love song that all the fans of that era know to be the gold standard for excellence from that musical genre.   Here is a link to our 2013 post about Kenny and this song.


Perry confided that his favorite Planotones song is “Oceans of Time.”  I never heard that song before, but you can appreciate why Perry favors it:

Hopefully we will see Perry back again in the near future.







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Great Auditorium on Sunday, August 28, 2016. All photos by Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net ©

Great Auditorium on Sunday, August 28, 2016. Click to enlarge.
All photos by Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Sunday, August 28, 2016.        A remarkable musical event occurred tonight at the Great Auditorium where Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn, was performed by the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, the Great Auditorium Choir, Dr. Gordon Turk on the Hope Jones organ, 4 soloists including Monica Ziglar (soprano), Martha Bartz (mezzo soprano), Ronald Naldi (tenor) and Justin Beck (bass-baritone) with Justin Gonzalez (tenor section leader.)   The entire ensemble was conducted by Dr. Jason C. Tramm, Director of Music Ministries in Ocean Grove.

The sound of the combined components was spectacular as it all came together resonating off the wooden walls and rafters of the 122 year-old Great Auditorium.  Musically it is all very dramatic, and the music soars with beauty and emotion.     The oratorio is quite long, but it is considered to be one of the greatest choral musical compositions. It was completed in 1845.

The story of Elijah, of course, is taken from the Old Testament about the life of the prophet as he struggles to deal with the idol worshipping Israelites back in the day.  The six page program spelled the composer’s name wrong on the cover and never mentioned his first name. But Mendelssohn, who was born into a prominent German Jewish family and was converted to Christianity at a young age, would probably have been pleased with this remarkable event in Ocean Grove. Unfortunately, he died at age 38; they say he was exhausted from writing this piece.

I was up in the balcony, near the choir, when Jason Tramm began the performance with the bass soloist and the orchestra.   After a big opening, things got somewhat quiet, and I was lulled by it.  All of a sudden there was a huge roar, and I jumped and then realized that the choir, a sleeping giant,  had come to its feet, and its sound was big and dramatic, sufficient to wake up anyone dozing after dinner  (the concert began at 7 PM.)   All the soloists were wonderful, and none of the participants seemed to need amplification.

After climbing down from the rafters, I wandered outside, trying to figure out the source of a buzzing sound that distracted from the performance..  It quickly became apparent that the loud buzzing was originating in the trees—probably a swarm of insects trying to hum along with the music.

I reentered the GA all the way in the back to try and appreciate the sound of music at that location.  The acoustics were successful even there, and quite a few people chose those seats.  As Jason Tramm moved the oratorio along (It was divided into two parts) I noticed that there was a nun sitting back there, a local retired music teacher, a few African-Americans, and an infant who would intermittently squawk but not cry.  I also noticed that cell phone bright lights, provided by some members of the audience and one choir member, to read the programs, was a source of distraction.  But to balance that, Jason Tramm did not allow applause during the performance–only at the end.

By some miracle created by the Camp Meeting, this remarkable event was free.  There was an offering requested.

Outside the GA, there were some fans on the lawn seats, and there were no people noises.   Sea breezes floated around, and those who walked by seemed amazed by the pageant inside.

Over at Days a small line had formed.  One woman berated the guy she was with for daring to suggest that she not get whatever she pleased, like a big hot fudge sundae.  A couple with two small red headed children had to leave the line because “Daddy needs to drive home now and we can’t wait on line.  We’ll go to our special no-wait place.”

Two guys moved forward and were discussing this family’s bailing out:  “There is nothing I would rather wait for than Days ice cream.”  It didn’t seem like anyone there was aware that Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah was being performed in the big wooden building across the park.  I bet John Phillip Sousa, whose portrait hangs in the museum next to Days, probably woke up to hear that glorious music come wafting  in his direction.

PHOTO GALLERY FOR THE MENDELSSOHN EVENT   Click on one image and then follow the big arrows.  Click on the little X at the left side to return here.

SAMPLE from Elijah by the Edinburgh Festival Orchestra: “Help bow thine ear to our prayer.”  With Renée Fleming

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Ronald Naldi about to leave for a concert in Ocean Grove.  2015. Paul Goldfinger portrait.

Ronald Naldi about to leave his tent  for a concert in Ocean Grove. 2015. Paul Goldfinger portrait.

We first posted this shot of the great tenor Ronald Naldi one year ago.  Here is a link which tells about this photo and offers a recording of Ron performing on one of his albums of Italian music.  But meanwhile,  here are the Chiffons offering a tribute of their own.



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