Monmouth County Library Headquarters

MANALAPAN –  Variety may be the spice of life but it is also describes the May calendar of events the Monmouth County Library is offering through virtual presentations open to all who have access to internet and register in advance for each individual program.

     A tribute to  “Other Jewish Songwriters”  as well as featuring Al Jolson favorites  will be the virtual lecture-in-song presented by pianist narrator Fred Miller on Sunday, May 2 at 2 p.m.

   Miller, who is also a singer, pays tribute to Jolson, but also lesser known but outstanding and prolific Jewish songwriters and personalities  Arthur Schwartz, Burton Lane and Sammy Fain. He will tell, in music and word, about the lives and careers of the artists, as well as the significance of their music.


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     More music will be offered via the internet on Sunday, May 9 at 2 p.m. when the New Jersey Symphonic Youth Orchestra presents a concert as a Mother’s Day gift of classical music by dedicated elementary and high school students in the renowned orchestra.

   Gardening, cooking with herbs and reading food labels will be subjects of three different presentations, beginning with the Master Gardener Virtual Hotline on Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Diane Larson, a Monmouth County Horticulturist with the Rutgers Master Gardeners,  will answer all questions on horticulture and gardens e-mailed to [email protected] by noon May 5.  Tuesday, May 11, at 10:30 a.m. the Family and Community Health Sciences Department Educator Sharese Porter, PhD., will present a program on the benefits of cooking with herbs for better tasting, more flavorful and lower sodium dining enjoyment. Dr. Porter will present a program on reading all the information on food labels at a second session on Tuesday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m.  The speaker is also program coordinator supervisor for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington and Monmouth counties.

    Local, national, Chinatown and Middle Ages history will each be the subjects of other programs slated for various times during May.

    A pictorial and in-depth journey inside Chinatown in San Francisco will be featured Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m. when photographer Dick Evans and author Kathy Chin Leong will commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage month through history, culture, tourism and traditions  of this beloved community. The program will be moderated by Gregory Yeh, RPh. Pharmacist and attorney . Participants in this presentation are encouraged to pour cups of jasmine tea, cut a slice of mooncake and enjoy this one hour presentation of what San Francisoco ‘s Chinatown celebrates and enjoys.

   Historian Nicholas Wood, resource interpretive specialist, Historic Resources, for the Twin Lights state historic site, will explore the history of lighthouses with emphasis on the Navesink Highlands unique Twin Lights in Highlands, once the brightest beacon on the East Coast. That program will be Wednesday, May 12 at 10:30 a.m.

   The following week, Jennifer W. Reiss will present an in depth story about Gouverneur Morris, known as the Forgotten Founding Father, in a special presentation on Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. Moderated by the library’s own Donna Mansfield, the program will highlight facts little known about this outspoken critic of slavery among the founding fathers, the right to practice religion, and how he negotiated his active life in spite of multiple physical impairments. The program is available through a grant secured by the library featuring Dr. Reiss, a doctoral candidate in history who holds her master’s degree from Cambridge, and a juris doctorate degree from Harvard University.

  The following morning, Wednesday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. Dr. Michael Norris will present Party Hearty in the Middle Ages, a virtual presentation of art history during the Middle Ages as part of the Armchair Art Tours.  Through art and archaeology, Dr. Norris will show medieval foods and how they were prepared, as well as rules and ceremonies for medieval feasts. Works on display during the presentation are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cloisters Museum.

 Gary Saretzky, long recognized as the outstanding archivist for Monmouth County, recently retired, will present the photographs of Gustavus Pach, a 19th century photographer and part of the famed Pach Brothers of Long Branch, Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m., the final program  in this May series of historic specialties presented by the library.

 The brothers were prominent in the photography world of the 19th century and had studios in northeastern United States. Saretsky’s program will depict Pach’s photographs in Long Branch when he began operating with a mobile wagon in 1866, leading to a gallery there the following year.

   With a change of pace, the library will feature Appraiser Michael Ivankovich on Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m. who will give appraisals and information on antiques, collectibles and personal treasures submitted for discussion beginning May 3. Because of time constraints, only the first 30 confirmed registrants will be able to each have an item appraised. Ivankovich has been involved in collectibles and antiques for more than four decades and is a frequent lecturer and author. He is host of the radio show, “What’s it Worth?”

    More each information on each of the programs is available on the Monmouth County Library website at Visiting the Upcoming Events column will provide information on times and deadlines for registering for each of the programs and information on when information will be e-mailed detailing how to access each program.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...