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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...5/26/16

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 05/27/2016
"Artists, musicians and preservationists agreed that the best use of this community gathering place was a mid-sized arts venue." 
Set on a precarious curve on Scotch Road in Ewing, NJ and often the subject of debate is the First Presbyterian Church.  Over the years, the Structure and its adjacent burial ground have been the target of developers, those who feel the land can be put to better use or those who have felt that the structure's positioning along the infamous curve is a hazard to both motor vehicles and pedestrians alike. Multiple attempts to remove the church due to structural deficiencies which carried a $2.5 million price tag were met with resistance, court dates, rulings and frustrations. The dwindling congregation did not seem to have the funds or the fight within to repair the historical house of worship which has stood in various forms at this location. 
Enter Preservation New Jersey, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit group which is dedicated to promoting historic preservation and advocacy as a "Sustainable strategy to protect and enhance the vitality and heritage of New Jersey's richly diverse communities;" through their efforts the centuries old landmark was saved from sure destruction. 
Dating to 1709, the church started as a congregation gathering under several tall oak trees on the property. Eventually building a log cabin, then a wooden structure, a brick building and finally the current stone building which was erected two years post Civil War. "Yes, this building is nearly 150 years old," said Preservation NJ board member Bob Kull as he discussed the building's history and current usage as an arts and music venue. "My wife Helen is the historian, she knows far more about the specific history of the church than I but part of the process, once Preservation New Jersey got the lease for this, we got a grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation to do a study on adaptive use; how could the building be used in addition to a worship space? It is still used and by our lease required to be available for and is still sometimes used for that on the average of once a month." 
So with an eye on the sanctity of the building and a study underway, the group took their case to the people with a pair of open meetings in the community. "We had two public meetings led by Michael Newell and his architectural firm over at the Ewing Senior and Community Center and he provided ideas of different ways that the space can be configured, different uses it can have and all the people said, "We want it to be an art center," said Kull."It's been used that way in the past over its entire history and this is a great thing that we can have; it's the perfect size. You've got places like the college that are a thousand seats or whatever and way to expensive, you have places like bars that only have 40 or 50 seats; we'll hold 220 and with the balcony and some flexible seating we'll hold over 300 here." 
Renovations to the aging facility included paint, flooring, repair of structural issues, removal and realignment of plumbing, restoration of the doors and some of the original pews; leaving stained glass windows from 1967 and original front windows in tact, they kept the integrity of the venue from its floor to ceiling. "We are still a work in progress, we have three main projects that we are trying to raise funds for by the events that we have; the first is lighting. We have lights and we've been testing different configurations and types of lights with the idea that we can use those and get some down lighting; we have some memorial donations that are for the lighting of the building and that will improve the stage lighting. Our second priority is to restore the basement so that it can be more fully used as useful space, as a green room and our third project is that, in the cemetery, outside behind the building; that area had been stalls for horses so there's no graves there. So we had conversations with the Presbyterian and he's given a conceptual approval for us to extend the driveway out from one of the cemetery roads out towards the building and if we do some studies like ground penetrating radar to make sure that there are no graves in there, we can bring a little driveway along that side of the building to provide off street unloading of service vehicles, hearses, limousines; we figure it will cost approximately $40,000 to complete, so we've got a lot of work ahead of us." 
With the pieces beginning to fall into place and a name change to "The 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing," Kull reached out to a friend in the business and had no trouble filling up the schedule which has a well balanced line up of jazz, contemporary and folk/roots music along with classical, plays, children's programs and more. "We had a test run on the first Saturday in December and then we had our first concert on Super Bowl Sunday. We do all kinds of genres; we got started because I was given an e-mail list from a person who books bands for their place; so I reached out to about two dozen bands and 20 of them responded and they're all booked or will eventually be booked here. Once the word got out it spread like wild fire among the artists and musicians and everyone who has been here or performed here has said this is a "Spectacular place" and in just three months we are gradually building our audiences so hopefully the word will continue to spread." 
Depending on the event, the shows have varied start times. Friday's show featuring Jersey Shore favorites The May Darlings will start at 8 p.m., others at 7 p.m. and still others at 3 p.m. Each show has a ticket cost of $20 for adults with certain group and student discounts available. To find out more information about The 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing and/or Preservation New Jersey; please go to where you'll find a complete schedule of events, how to become a member or make a donation. 
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

This week's event listings

Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Ottmar
Fri. 8 p.m. Living The Dream
Sat. 8 p.m. Larry D
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Simply Piano" feat. Carla Gaiser
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. Centralia, We...Our War, Enigma Machine, Mesmeria, The Stone Eye. All ages, $10
Sat. 5 p.m. Love Underwater, Los Campeones, (TBA). All ages, $10
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Lee Hogans Trumpet Quartet. $10 (cover charge)
Cedar Gardens
661 Route 33, Hamilton
Fri. 8 p.m. "Old Skool Memorial Day Weekend & Gemini Birthday Bash" Hosted by Comedian Carl Jenkins feat. Amazin' Grace & GLB, Black Frost Band, This Friday Band, "Spoken Word" by Angela. $30/$35 
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
Dempster's Pub
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
(609) 261-0500
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. DJ DNIAL
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Chris
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Soul Kitchen
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Keli Vale Jazz (9 p.m.) Tommy Griggz
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Michael Leggerie (9 p.m.) Kevin Toft & The All Stars
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton(3 p.m.) DickGratton
Wed. 8 p.m. Joe Robinson
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Sat. 8 p.m. Honey Spot Blvd.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows age 21+
Halo Pub
4617 Nottingham Way, Hamilton
(609) 586-1811
Sat. 7 p.m. Roundabout
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, PA. 
(215) 862-9897
Thus. 10 p.m. "College Beat The Clock Night" DJ Dance Party
Fri. 8:30 p.m. The Relatives
Sat. (2 p.m.) Rock and Ride for the Cure  (8:30 p.m.) Jump 
Sun. 6 p.m. JB Kline Blues Band
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Live, Local, Unplugged" Hosted by Pat Foran
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. JP3
Fri. 6 p.m. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Ensemble
Sun. 2 p.m."Jazzy Sundays" feat. Alex Otey
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Rd., Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. "Flamenco Night" w/ Victor Tarassov
Sat. 6 p.m. Ryan Zimmerman
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. Papa Delux
Sat. 10 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie
All shows 21+
Jake's Pub
869 Bustleton Pike, Richboro, PA
(215) 322-6787
Tues. 5 p.m. Bill Shannon
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Nobi Poohsea
Fri. 9 p.m. John Beacher & Friends
Sat. (3 p.m.) Anthony Sacchetti (9 p.m.) Collin J Rocker & Old Lady
Sun. (3 p.m.) Miss Pumpkin Presents: "A Drag Show Benefit" (9 p.m.) Copper Fields 
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Tim
Tues. 9 p.m. aggrEschen
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road, New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Fri. 7 p.m. Country Line Dancing
Wed. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Rd Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ Codie
Sat. 9 p.m. "Saturday Night Dance Party" w/ DJ RV and DJ OXX
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Thurs. 9 p.m. Bahscumbug, Idiot Boy, Sick Shit, Shit Fit, Nacht. $6
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase
O'Connor's American Bar & Grille
1383 Monmouth Road, Easthampton Mt. Holly
(609) 261-1555
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Gypsy Mother
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street, Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Sat. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. No Way Out
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 8 p.m. Strange Brew Crew
Sat. 8 p.m. Raven Rock Rounder
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. 80's Undercover
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Check website for upcoming events
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 10 p.m. "College Night" w/ Sweet Vita Band. Doors at 9 p.m. Ages 21+, $5 (with college ID)
Fri. (4:30 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (8:30 p.m.) "Stevie Wonder/Earth Wind & Fire Tribute" w/ The Earth, Wonder, Fire
Sat. 10 p.m. Euro Presents: "The Memorial Weekend Affair" w/ DJ. $25, $35 (VIP)
Sun. 10 p.m. "BDay Jump Off Klash Of The Zodiac Signs" w/ DJ Bark da Ripper. (Dress to impress affair)
1867 Sanctuary at Ewing
101 Scotch Road, Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Fri. 8 p.m. The May Darlings. All ages, $20 / $5 (Student ID)
Sat. 3 p.m. "Children's Music" Tot Tunes
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Vince Sasso Band
Sat. 9 p.m. Out Of The Red
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street, Fiedlsboro
(609) 291-9110
Sat. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. (TBA)
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Rainbow Fresh
Sat. 10 p.m. Barr Barians
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Nottingham Tavern
9 Mercer Street, Hamilton Square
(609) 587-6623
Mon. 12:30 p.m. "A Memorial Day Jam" feat. The Dawgs
The Record Collector 
358 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Fri. 8 p.m. Jonathan Byrd Band / One Punch Mickey. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $12 (advance)
Sat. 8 p.m. Christine Ohlman & The Rebel Montez. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $20 (advance) Live Radio Broadcast on
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 9 p.m. ArHouse
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
Sat. 9 p.m. AM Heroes
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. The Williamsboy
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Fri. 4 p.m. First Friday 
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Fri. 10 p.m. Freekbass. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Apache Trails ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign-ups at 6:30 p.m.)
Tues. 9 p.m. Live Band Karaoke
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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