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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Musical Event’ Category

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

Cello soloist in the OG Great Auditorium. Photograph by Paul Goldfinger. 2017.   Click to enlarge.

 

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

 

MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH:   BACH’S CELLO SUITE #1 in G major, prélude:

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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.

 

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Jason Tramm, music director for the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Jason Tramm, Director of Music Ministries for the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. 2014.  By Paul Goldfinger ©

 

Being a conductor, Maestro Tramm often has his back to the audience so here he is in a rare frontal view.  This image was obtained at the September 1, 2014 annual Camp Meeting  Association Labor Day public summary* of the season’s successes.

Jason Tramm  is a young man who is considered a rising star in the music world.   In Ocean Grove he manages an ambitious program of choral, orchestral and oratorial works.  He believes that adding music to inspirational words creates a powerful combination, so he plans even more great choral works in the Great Auditorium next season.

But Maestro Tramm, like all great musicians, appreciates music that crosses over the genre divides.

To hear Itzhak Perlman play klezmer  or Dick Hyman crossing over from classical to jazz, or, as in this case, the great late operatic soprano Eileen Farrell performing pop music shows how that works.

And so it is with Jason Tramm who brings us all sorts of music in the Grove.   Hopefully he will be able to cross those divides regularly in the Great Auditorium so that a variety of audiences can enjoy his versatility.

 

EILEEN FARRELL:    What music can we post to go with Jason’s photo?  Putting up an opera aria is too easy.

Here is Eileen Farrell   with “The More I  See You” by Harry Warren  and Mack Gordon.

 

 

* 2022:    Note that the CMA did not have their public meeting this past Labor Day. We can speculate on that change, but not now.

And, we noted above that Jason Tramm is a strong believer in enhancing words with music.  We feel the same way on Blogfinger, so most of our posts are enhanced with music, just as music always enhances movies.

In our case, the coupling of music with still photography,  poetry and even opinion pieces is still an original idea of ours, and we will continue.

At one point in Blogfinger history, one of our editors complained that we were posting too much music, but I believe that music is something that we humans naturally appreciate, somewhere in our brains, so we will keep it up, and many of you have told us that you love the music.

 

Editor: Paul Goldfinger, MD.   Just returned from Fla-La-land, and glad to be back.

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Great Auditorium. Music of the Spirit concert. August 26, 2018. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©  Click to enlarge.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net   Crank up the volume for the video below.

 

The video below is from the final part of this 6 part composition—Songs of Faith.   It is called “Where Moses Stood.” This section includes choir, organ, brass and percussion.  The words from the last two stanzas are:

“Oh, Mary, oh Mary, oh Mary. No! No! No! No! No! No!

“Don’t you weep and don’t you mourn.

“If I could, I surely would stand on the rock where Moses stood.

“Pharaoh’s army got drownded, oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn.”

 

 

 

August 26, 2018.  Ocean Grove, New Jersey.  Concert Review:

 

The Songs of Faith is like an exciting 6 chapter short-story book that unfolds with beauty, grace, emotions, unexpected plot twists, and wonderful melodies.  Each part captures your mind  in a way that as each one draws to a close, you wish it would stay a bit longer but you also anticipate the next surprise.

Composer Gwyneth Walker borrows from time-worn hymns and gospel tunes while punctuating them with lively and modern hooks and tempos.

It is a great privilege for the audience last night that this piece was performed in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove, and the OG Camp Meeting Association deserves high praise for their willingness to sponsor such an original commission, in association with the Summit Music Festival in Summit, New Jersey.  And to present this production at no cost is remarkable indeed.

The presentation included the 120 voice OG Choir, the MidAtlantic Brass Ensemble with percussion, Gordon Turk on the Hope-Jones Organ, and soloists including Monica Ziglar (soprano) Katherine Pracht (Mezzo-Soprano,) Justin Beck (Baritone Soloist) and Ronald Naldi  (Tenor Soloist.)

Jason Tramm conducting.

They were all marvelous, and JoAnnn Lamolino (trumpet soloist in Part 4) was so good with her rendition of “Were You There” performed with Gordon Turk that she received an expansive round of applause–well worth the acclaim.

After the concert, I bumped into soloists Ronald Naldi and Justin Beck walking briskly outside, on the dark tent side of the Auditorium.  Beck was already in shorts, while Naldi had loosened his tie.  They were chatting amiably and smiling as they downed some well-earned soft drinks.

As they breezed by I  told them that their concert was terrific, but their smiles and pace indicated that they knew the event was a success—and so it was.

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

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Small town America---Ocean Grove, New Jersey 2013. Independence Day and proud of it. Click left to enlarge Blogfinger photo ©

Small town America—Ocean Grove, New Jersey 2013. Independence Day and proud of it. Click left to enlarge Blogfinger photo ©

Paul Goldfinger photographs:  Blogfinger.net

Click on the music and then click on any one photo and then follow the arrows.   All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©.  Reproduce with permission only.

These are scenes from the famous Ocean Grove Independence Day Parade sponsored by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. The Grand Marshalls were the Calvary Chapel organization honored for their selfless volunteer effort in town after the super-storm Sandy hit on October 29, 2012.

THE BEATLES:

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PAUL ANKA BRINGS VEGAS TO THE GREAT AUDITORIUM.  SUMMER 2011.  Blogfinger reports:

 

 

Paul Anka in the Great Auditorium. Photo by Tracey James, Blogfinger staff.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  Blogfinger.net

 

Shelley Belusar, who books the acts for the CMA, was amazed when Paul Anka’s crew arrived at the GA on Saturday morning.  He brought a synchronized production  team that included sound, lighting and staging personnel.  They set up a massive backdrop of drapes that turned out to be dazzling light reflectors.  They placed small platforms around the auditorium for Anka to stand on as he moved through the room, and they prepared a multimedia presentation that recreated Vegas.

When Anka came on stage, he was surrounded by a 12 piece orchestra. The allocation of musicians was a bit peculiar: 2 trombones, 1 sax, 3 trumpets, synthesizer  and a bongo player—in addition to the mandatory piano, bass, drum and guitar.  But they were a superb stage band with a big brassy sound.  The show was a model of professionalism, showmanship and glitz.  The program included a wide array of musical styles, performed with great zest and skill; it was a satisfying show in terms of musicianship.  Among the best songs were Mack the Knife, For Once in my Life, Jump, She’s a Lady, It Doesn’t Matter Any More, and many other famous hits.

We tend to think of Paul Anka as a rock and roll kid whose friends included performers like Buddy Holly and Annette Funicello, but those years passed and Anka became a show business great whose mentor was Frank Sinatra and whose friends included the big stars of that  Copacabana, Las Vegas, New York-New York and Hollywood era.  Over the last half century, in addition to performing,  he wrote music for many stars besides himself, including the theme song for the Tonight Show.

Last night,  Paul, dressed in a dark three piece suit, shirt and tie, was a dynamo for 1 1/2 hours of pure energetic entertainment. He is tan, trim and fit, and his voice is still magnificent. You couldn’t avoid imagining Frank Sinatra on stage, because Paul Anka is built like Frank, sounds like him and even has mannerisms like “old blue eyes.”

A remarkable element to Anka’s  performance is his enthusiasm. He seemed to be having a wonderful time as he went out into the audience and interacted with the crowd in a way that had a few thousand people standing, shouting, whistling and even running up and down the aisles.

 

Paul Anka works the large crowd in the GA.   Photo by Tracey James

 

The show was less about his famous hits (“Diana, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, etc.”) than it was about music from his entire career. He paid tribute to Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Van Halen and Sammy Davis, Jr.

A giant screen came down several times to show photos of himself as a chubby kid and then a teen-age heart-throb. He showed a movie performance of Sammy Davis singing an Anka song, “Let Me Try Again,” and then, in a brilliant staging maneuver, the band and Anka seamlessly joined in that performance from fifty years ago . It was thrilling.

Here’s Paul Anka with a song from his album “Live in Las Vegas.”  He sang “For Once in My Life” last night in the GA.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Congratulations to Shelley and the CMA for bringing this exciting show to the GA.  It should be noted that Paul Anka, like Tony Bennett, remarked on the uniqueness of the Great Auditorium.  Performers love the structure, the crowd and the acoustics. Parking gets tight on such a Saturday night, but the concerts tend to be only about 2 hours long.

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

Street musician.  Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. September 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Re-posted 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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Choir Festival in the Great Auditorium. By Paul Goldfinger. © To order metallic coated professionally made prints, contact Blogfinger@verizon.net. Choir Festival in the Great Auditorium. By Paul Goldfinger. ©  Undated.

 

We have learned from a CMA official that the events mentioned above will return this season “as they were before the pandemic.”

We don’t know if that means no distancing, masks, etc, but there will still be some constraints coming from Trenton this summer.

However, this is good news assuming it is all done according to Health Dept. guidelines.

 

THE FIREBIRDS:

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The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NewJersey. by Paul Goldfinger. 2012

The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. by Paul Goldfinger. 2013

You know, coming to a show in the GA this summer would be a lovely way to spend an evening. You bring your favorite person, take a walk by the ocean and then have a casual stroll through the Pathway gardens. You catch a breath of moonlight and then you enter this remarkable building to enjoy the music.

THE INKSPOTS:

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