Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Musical Event’ Category

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.


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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.



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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.


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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. 2017.   Click to enlarge.


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



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Choir Festival rehearsal. July 12, 2010. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Click to enlarge.

Choir Festival rehearsal. July 12, 2010. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Click to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net

This is what a Choir Festival rehearsal looks like–this photograph is from July 2010.   The OGCMA Choir Festival is one of the most incredible musical events in America.  Don’t miss it.

It will be a challenge to prepare safely, but everything ought to be fine by the new date of August 30, 2020 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

This will be the 66th Annual Festival.

Below is a sample of the sort of sound you will hear, although this version is by a choir from Germany.

There are no recent professional recordings of the Ocean Grove Choir with orchestra, but if you know of any, please let us know.


ST THOMAS CHOIR LEIPZIG.     “Psalm 42   Op.42”  Mendelssohn

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Harry Eichorn will conduct the Atlantic Wind Ensemble on Saturday, May 25, Memorial Day weekend. 8 pm in the GA. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Re-post from 2013.    Harry Eichhorn will conduct the Atlantic Wind Ensemble on Saturday, May 25, 2013.   Memorial Day weekend. 8 pm in the Great Auditorium.  This will be his 61st summer season.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Harry Eichhorn grew up spending summers in Ocean Grove. His family owned a house here for over 100 years.  As a high school student, he was a lifeguard at South Beach. “The South Beach was less crowded and a better place to meet girls,” said Harry, who is 86 years old and will be entering his 61st season as conductor of the Ocean Grove Summer Band, which appears on Wednesday nights at the Boardwalk Pavilion. There his 65 musicians play everything from Berlin to Beethoven.  The sound of their music bubbles up and out over the beachfront, harmonizing with seagulls,  surf and summer breezes.

Harry has his fans who don’t fail to miss one of these summer concerts and Harry doesn’t disappoint them.  He’s always wearing pressed pants, shirt and tie. He always has a joke or two, and the “boys in the band”  (and ladies too) humor him because there’s something touching and reassuring about traditions and music that have staying power despite time passing by.  The beach, the boardwalk, ocean and even the town of Ocean Grove itself  also echo that theme.

Summer Band musician warming up by the Pavilion. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Summer Band musician warming up by the Pavilion. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

On Saturday, May 25, in the Great Auditorium, Harry Eichhorn will be conducting the Atlantic Wind Ensemble in a free Memorial Day concert.  The Ensemble is smaller than the Summer Band and it performs all year round.   All the musicians are from the “shore area” and many are professionals–including 8 music teachers.  Unlike an orchestra, there are no strings.  Clarinets  and flutes help take the place of violins, and there is only one person per part, although they double up in the trumpets and clarinets.

Harry likes to vary his programs, but there is a certain similarity  to prior concerts.  There are always a few Sousa marches, two major works by a classy composer like Beethoven, and two Broadway medleys, one of which is current.  This year he will be doing “Les Miserables.”  In fact, there is a song in Les Mis which could be Harry’s theme song.  It’s called “Master of the House.”  They will also perform “The Armed Forces Salute,”  “The Spiritual Rhapsody” by Yoder and “Five Spirituals for Piano” featuring first clarinetist Linda Freilick on piano.

The concert will include the Festival Chorus, a group that has about 45 vocalists.

In looking back over the years, Harry recalls growing up in East Orange.  His father was a musician, and Harry received his BA at Montclair State College and his Masters at Rutgers and Trenton State.   He taught  music at Neptune H.S. for a few years and then 36 years at Manasquan High.  Some of the current musicians were his students.  Two of his children play in the group.  Harry’s main instrument was the trumpet, although now he mostly conducts.

Summer Band (undatet---probably 1950's) Harry is on the right, back row. Summer Band (undated—probably 1950’s) Harry is on the right, back row.  Click right for more detail. Courtesy OGCMA

There is only one musician left in the Summer Band who was there in 1953 when Harry started the tradition.  Her name is Cleta Weber White, and she plays the trumpet.  Harry says that when he began, he had a vocalist in his chorus who sang with John Phillip Sousa.   Oh, and speaking of Sousa, of course Harry will conclude with America’s March:  “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”   And as for Sousa, his ghost will probably be having ice cream in Days while tapping his toes to Harry’s beat and listening carefully to that Stars and Stripes piccolo solo penetrating the salty night air.

The Memorial Day free concert begins at 8 p.m. and donations will be accepted.

—Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger

UNITED STATES MARINE BAND:  John Phillip Sousa’s  “Washington Post March.”     (Reminder:  Visit Sousa’s portrait at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove on Pitman Avenue.  Sousa is still hanging around in the Grove.)

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Re-posted from 2012 by popular demand.   At that time,  Father Alphonse Stephenson, conductor, presented a concert in the Great Auditorium honoring Marvin Hamlisch, who scored the music for A Chorus Line.  Hamlisch died in 2012

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Father Alphonse Stephenson  is well known to Ocean Grove audiences.  He and the Orchestra of St. Peter’s By the Sea have appeared many times before in the Great Auditorium.  Father Stephenson worked with Marvin Hamlisch while conducting “A Chorus Line” on Broadway—something Father Stephenson did for nearly 3,000 performances.

Father Alphonse Stephenson

The tribute for Hamlisch  included an “Overture to A Chorus Line.”   The show never actually had an overture. In addition, an unpublished song, called “The One Song,”  written by Mr. Hamlisch, with lyrics by the Bergmans, will be sung by Chris Pinella, with Father Alphonse at the piano.

This concert, sponsored by the OG Camp Meeting Association, was presented on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.

Here, from the original cast album is “One”–from “A Chorus Line.”

—Paul Goldfinger

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Paul Eichlin still making his “carousel music” on the OG side of the North End boards. Some day the area behind him will be filled with stores, condos and a hotel. Paul Goldfinger photo. Oct. 2019. ©

Link to a 2018 post about Paul:

Paul Eichlin Blogfinger post 2018.




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