New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

Recap: 2012 Winter Solstice Show at The Saint

By Gary wien


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Every year I'm simply amazed at the amount of talented musicians in the Asbury Park area. Events like Cook Smith's Annual Winter Solstice Show help bring otherwise overlooked artists to the forefront. On Wednesday, December 19, the annual event returned with over 30 different artists performing holiday tunes in a rapidly moving show at the Saint in Asbury Park. While some of the artists were well known veterans of the local scene, many were artists just starting out or open mic regulars getting the rare opportunity for a true stage performance.

The Annual Solstice Show always features a great blend mix of traditional chestnuts, Christmas rarities, and the occasional original. It's one of those wonderful holiday traditions that could only happen in a music scene as special as Asbury Park. And, of course, in the spirit of the season all proceeds went to benefit the Atonement Lutheran Church Food Bank. Great music for a great cause; it doesn't get any better than that.

"Is there a drink discount, I'm playing tonight," was overheard by a musician at the bar. "Everyone here is playing tonight," was the reply. At one point Cook could be heard saying from the stage, "we've got like 37 guitars up here... It's like the 38 Special Christmas Special."

The Annual Winter Solstice show is kind of like a smaller version of the Asbury Music Awards in the way that wherever you turn you bump into a musician. More than a hundred people attended the show, which featured a house band consisting of Matt Wade on Keys, Danny Coleman on drums, Fred Doward on bass, and Jim Sickles on Percussion. Classic Christmas videos like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer played behind the stage as artist after artist came on to perform their favorite holiday tune. While Cook was running around all night, keeping the performances moving as close to schedule as possible, Brenda Wirth and Diana Kloza were busy ensuring that there was enough food for everyone. As is usually the case, Brenda spent several hours cooking for the show and put in enough overtime to deserve her own Asbury Music Award.

Performers included names like Michael Brett, The Wag, Matt Kay, Sibling Rivalry, Moon Motel, C.M. Smith, Jenny Woods, Peter Prasa, Laura Crisci, and Bobby Strange.

Highlights of the night for me included the incredibly talented and beautiful trio of Jerzy Jung, Cat London, and Deirdre Forrest on "Winter Song". Having all three share vocals for one number is simply amazing. Lo Kloza's powerful pipes alongside Matt Wade's almost Schroeder-like keyboard made "O Holy Night" something special as well. Mitch Stevens and Sondra Huth did a great version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and Don Lee absolutely killed with his solo take on "You're A Mean One Mister Grinch". Chuck Lambert brought out sharp guitar and sax solos for "Merry Christmas Baby", while Cook took lead vocals for the modern classic, "Fairytale of NYC". But, for me, nothing can top those first few moments when I realize I'm hearing the opening chords to John Lennon's "(Happy Xmas) War Is Over". That's my all-time favorite Christmas tune and always puts me into the right frame of mind for the season. No matter what your favorite holiday tunes are, you're bound to hear a few of them each year during this show.

If you're looking for a great way to pass the time just before the holidays, this is the place to be. Thanks again goes out to Scott Stamper and the Saint for allowing shows like this to exist in town.



Photo of Cook Smith, courtesy of Bob Yellen.



NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.
Idle Wave To Hold Record Release Party At Asbury Park Brewery
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Pop-punks Idle Wave will celebrate the release of their self-titled EP on Saturday, December 1st at Asbury Park Brewery.  The record release show also includes performances by Skyeline, Roderick, and Pollyanna.


"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.