Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene in Smoke Rise: Photos

Hurricane Irene left us with 11" of rain from late Saturday the 27th to early Sunday the 28th. That's my unofficial tally for the amount of rainfall in Smoke Rise as per my 2 ft deep, 5 ft across Tree Tub. 11 Inches of Rain!!! Wow.

The three of us decided to document the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in Smoke Rise this afternoon. Several of our roads were shut down - including the East Gate Exit Road and Forge Road, so we explored on foot.

Stream below Orchard Road spillway seen from Eastgate Rd
These views had us speechless. Walking along East Gate Exit Road the water spilled over its bank and headed crosscountry to meet up with the stream again several hundred yards down from the main channel. More water was moving outside of the watercourse than in it.

Same as above including view of spillway/waterfall

Forge Pond Road disconnect, approx 25' across
According to bystanders the stream overflowed Forge Road early Sunday morning and undercut the roadbed, tunneling through outside the reinforced concrete pipe.

Driveway off of East Gate Rd

Driveway off of Brookvale Rd

Driveway across the street from house above
To put several of the photos above into perspective, below is a view of the East Gate exit road from above the waterfall bridge located on Orchard Road. You can just see East Gate road in the distance. All of this was under water.

East Gate Exit Road in the distance
from the top of the Orchard Rd Bridge,
at an earlier and calmer  time

Christine took our photos and created a presentation video of the photos we took walking around Smoke Rise. It is 2:37 minutes long with no sound, but gives you a good idea of what we encountered.

[Subscribers, click on this link to view the Hurricane Irene Aftermath in Smoke Rise, Kinnelon NJ on YouTube.]

 How did you weather Hurricane Irene? Do send us your photos with description and location and we'll upload them for all to see!

Added 8/29/11: yesterday's report of road closings and river statuses in North Jersey.
Kinnelon Road is shut down indefinitely at Rickabear #385 because the road collapsed.
Here's a photo of the River going over its banks in Butler.

Added 8/30/11: photo of I287 road collapse just south of exit 44. Hat tip to Steve Woodruff. And, from Patch, photos of the bridge collapse on Kinnelon Road by Rickabear.

& Ted 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Key Lime Tart Recipe From The Smoke Rise Inn

key lime pie ingredients

The Smoke Rise Inn's Chef George Tavolara shares with us a perfect recipe for a gloomy hurricane day: Key Lime Tart.

I first tasted Key Lime (pie) in Key West, Florida, and couldn't believe my taste buds! Ever since, it has been a favorite desert. This recipe looks particularly yummy with the addition of almonds to the tart crust...

Key Lime Tart Crust Ingredients:

1 Cup of Slivered Almonds.
1 Tablespoon of Sugar.
2 Cups of Fresh, Fine Bread Crumbs.
2 Ounces of Melted Butter.

Pulse almonds with sugar in a food processer until they are a fine powder. When finished, add bread crumbs and melted butter and pulse again. Press into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Key Lime Tart Filling Ingredients:

Zest of one Lime
½ Cup of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice.
14 Ounces of Condensed Milk.
3 Egg Yolks.

Blend all ingredients until smooth and fill pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool before enjoying.

Thank you, Chef George! I can't wait to try this recipe.

Readers, what might you pair with this Key Lime Tart Recipe? Let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Key lime pie ingredients on

The Smoke Rise Library

The Smoke Rise LibraryThere's a building in Smoke Rise, across from the Smoke Rise Office and somewhat connected to the Smoke Rise Village Inn that used to be known as the Smoke Rise Library.

I learned about it when Christine Bell mentioned it to me; that's where archives of the Smoke Rise Newsletter now reside [Note: I hope to go back to finish dating all of Cornie Hubner's articles.]

Are you familiar with the Smoke Rise Library?

Imagine how delighted I was to receive this email from Diana Tews, former Smoke Rise Resident, who writes:

"Got a big kick out of reading many of the posts on your blog. I have loads of great memories from Smoke Rise, having lived there as a kid of 5 (in 1965) until I got my first apartment in Manhattan (1985 - but still went home a lot until my folks moved away).

Lots of time spent at the Village Inn - had ballet class there one year, and with 4 kids in our family we were always in on the annual ski and skate swap (selling what you grew out of and buying the new sizes). 

Also went to The Grillhouse (?) attached to the Inn, after hours and hours spent on the tennis courts (the original 4 and the red clay one that got a bubble over it in the winter near the Gulf station).

Charlie Syvarth used to buy cases of the supermarket brand soda and keep them in his fridge in the back of the Gulf station, so for 25 cents you could always cool down.

But the other thing I remember, but can't seem to get any verification from anyone on is, that for at least a few years when I was a kid, the small building the the left when you face the Village Inn was set up as a children's library. Used to ride bikes over there and check out the latest Nancy Drew offerings. I hope I wasn't imagining that!

Anyway, I've enjoyed your blog quite a bit and will continue to drop by now and again. Nice work, thanks! The Smoke Rise Library Building


Diana Tews (alum)

For Diana, I include with her comments these photos I took of the building to the left of the Smoke Rise Inn that was indeed - as she remembered - the Smoke Rise Library.

By the way, I was pretty intrigued with Diana's comments about dance classes at the Inn. She writes further:

"Pretty sure I had ballet there one year, and then at the Community Church after that. A lot of parents and kids from the late 60s early 70s will also remember being sent to Barclay's ballroom dance classes once a week for a stretch, also at the Community Church. As 6th & 7th graders we were still learning the waltz, fox trot, etc., right in the middle of the rock emergence of the day. Crazy. The Barclay's did it throughout the area, Mountain Lakes etc. Fun times in a great place."

Thanks, Diana, for sharing these priceless memories.

Does the Smoke Rise Library or the account of dance classes take you back? Please do share!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OLM: Looking for Founding Parishioners!

Our Lady of the Magnificat OLM: Looking for Founding Parishioners!
Our Lady of the Magnificat Church (OLM) in Kinnelon is getting ready to kick-off its Golden Jubilee year-long celebration of the founding of the parish. Needed: founding parishioners!

From the parish bulletin:

"We are looking for the names of those who joined the new parish of Our Lady of the Magnificat in September 1961-September 1962 and who are still living. Children who were alive then and are still parishioners today would qualify. We would like to designate them as honorary chairpersons of the jubilee year. Please call the rectory with this information. If they are out of town, please give us their address."

Several of you have asked about Our Lady of the Magnificat. Were your families founding parishioners? If so, I'm sure Monsignor Carroll would love to hear from you!

To contact the rectory, call 973-838-6838 or email

Given the upcoming 50 year celebrations, I plan on sharing with you a Cornie Hubner, Didja Know? story titled "Our Lady of the Magnificat" - as soon as I take a few photos of the Chapel.

In the meantime, from the Parish archives, here is the history of Our Lady of the Magnificat Chapel:

"The Chapel of Our Lady of the Magnificat was built in 1954 - a replica of a 13th century English Church. The ancient theme is represented throughout, lacking only flying buttresses to be pure Gothic. The Chapel is approximately 73 feet by 33 feet, built of native stone with walls 16 inches thick, and a pitched, slate roof. The soft color of the interior wood walls of Philippine mahogany and oak furnishings are complemented by the shape of the dark overhead truss, the cathedral ceiling being excellent for acoustics. There is a special feeling upon entering the tight space of the alcove and expanding into a larger arrangement of space where the arched window in seven shades of blue is prominent and draws all attention.

The Chapel was the dream of Henry Wise Miller and his wife, Audrey Frazier Miller. It is built on land which was owned by Robert Morris in 1792 and Benjamin Howell in 1809 (gentlemen renowned in New Jersey history), and purchased by Mr. Miller in 1925. Mr. Miller was born in France, scion of a prominent New Jersey family who ancestors included a Senator, an officer in the East Indian Army who served under the Duke of Wellington and a great grandfather who was President of Harvard. He was married to the writer, Alice Duer Miller (best known for "The White Cliffs of Dover") until her death in 1942. In the process of publishing his autobiography All our lives: Alice Duer Miller he met and married Audrey Frazier Miller. He drew his own architectural plans from memory of the church he had seen in Harescombe, England, and from books. No expense was spared in its construction. The Chapel was named Our Lady of the Magnificat based on his favorite passage from the Gospel of St. Luke.

In 1952, Henry, who was not Catholic, and Audrey Miller bequested the acres to the Diocese of Paterson, for the future formation of parish now known as Our Lady of the Magnificat. Mr. Miller was in failing health during construction of the Chapel and shortly before his death he was affirmed to the Catholic faith. He lived to see the Chapel dedication of July 2, 1954 and died September 15, 1954. His was the first funeral Mass in the Chapel. Mrs. Audrey Frazier Miller died in Arkansas in June of 1976.

The Chapel remains an architectural and cultural landmark in our community of which all citizens in Kinnelon can be justly proud."

What are your memories of Our Lady of the Magnificat? What major celebrations do you remember taking place there? What role has it played in your and your family's lives? Let me know in the comments.

P.S.: If you have photos, send them along. I'll share them on the blog!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cakebread Cellars Dinner at Smoke Rise Inn

Cakebread Cellars Dinner at Smoke Rise Inn The Smoke Rise Inn has planned a memorable wine dinner for Thursday, September 15, 2011.  As Randy Polo describes in a recent newsletter:
Join us at the Inn for an unforgettable evening when the Smoke Rise Village Inn hosts its Cakebread Wine Makers’ Dinner on Thursday September 15th at 6:30 p.m. Executive Chef Tavolara has paired five courses with each of the amazing Cakebread Cellars selections being featured that evening.

In anticipation of the Smoke Rise Inn Cakebread Cellars dinner, Randy writes the following:

Cakebread Cellars

Since the Inn has just set the stage for what will be one of our finest wine dinners yet this year, I wanted to share a brief history of Cakebread Cellars. Many are familiar with the name Cakebread however very few know the story behind the label.

Jack and Dolores Cakebread purchased their now legendary Rutherford estate from family friends in 1972. By the mid-1980s, they had completed construction on one of Napa’s most distinctive wineries, a true architectural and technological achievement. Their sons, Bruce and Dennis Cakebread, have played key roles in the development of the winery, its wines, vineyard and business. Bruce, who was winemaker, is now President and COO. In 2010, he served as Napa Valley Vintners Association President. Dennis is responsible for all sales and marketing and is a past President of the Napa Valley Vintners Association while currently serving on the board of The Wine Institute.

As the Cakebread family reflects upon the many profound changes in the wine industry over the last 33 years, such as innovative farming techniques and new methods of reaching out to consumers, they note that their key values have remained the same. Dedication to making the highest quality wines and a commitment to family has followed a continuum as their first small vineyard has grown into a thriving internationally distributed wine company.

If you are interested in being part of our Cakebread Wine Dinner, taking place on Thursday September 15th please contact Randy Polo at (973) 838-7770 or for details.

Smoke Rise Village Inn Cakebread Cellars Dinner Menu

1st Course
Thai Spiced Melon Gazpacho
Lemon Grass Scented Lump Crab

2nd Course
Cumin Dusted Diver Scallop
Blistered Grape Tomato with Cilantro

3rd Course
Five Spice Duck Confit Stacked on
Crisp Wonton with Gingered Sweet Plum

Cakebread Pinot Noir 2007

4th Course
Pan Roasted, Dry Aged Sliced Strip Steak
Foie Gras Studded Mashed Potato
Blood Orange Demi Glace

Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

5th Course
Callebaut Chocolate - Black Pepper Pot d’ Crème
Maytag Blue Cheese Panna Cotta

Thursday September 15th - 6:30 pm Cakebread Wine Makers’ Dinner

Once again, all the Cakebread wines from the dinner will be available for purchase that evening at the Inn’s cost. Some of these wines are exclusive to restaurants and can’t be purchased in stores or on-line.

Thank you, Randy! You and George have a real treat in store for us!

I came across additional information about Cakebread Cellars that I thought you would be interested in:
Don't forget to make your reservations!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kinnelon's Stonybrook Highlands Neighborhood

Kinnelon's Stonybrook Highlands Neighborhood
At the end of the school year, Emma was invited to her friend's birthday party, which took place in Kinnelon's Stonybrook Highlands at the "community pool." I thought I had misunderstood. After all, Kinnelon is all about community lakes and beaches. Isn't it? Not, as you will discover in Mary Beth Grybowski's story titled "My Neighborhood".

My Neighborhood

Wow, look at the date! It is already August 15, 2011! Where has the time gone?

You might think that I am talking about this Summer passing by too quickly. Well, that is partially true, but for me, today marks the 5 year anniversary of our move to Kinnelon.

Now, you might be wondering where I live. If so, I’ll give some hints and see if you can guess. I don’t live within the 5,000 acres behind a gate, or within the area known as Kinnelon Estates. I have seen many a wild turkey in my yard, but I don’t live within Pheasant Run. In fact, during the last heat wave, there was a mama wild turkey drinking from the water feature in the Koi pond while her little ones looked on. My street and driveway are quite steep, but I don’t live in Round Hill Estates. There is something secluded deep in the woods behind my house, but I don’t live in Hidden Acres. I can take a cool dip nearby during the Summer, but I don’t live within Fayson Lakes or Lake Reality.

OK, can you guess where I live? If so, can you also guess what is hidden in my neighborhood? Since my younger siblings call me ‘the blabbermouth’, I will have to tell you, because I am terrible at keeping a secret. I live in a community called Stonybrook Highlands. Our secret is that we have a swimming pool on a piece of land that is approximately 5 acres. It is a homeowners association, so we each own a little piece of this property and we pay yearly dues on it. There are usually a few openings to the pool each Summer, but you must be recommended by someone in the neighborhood. Stonybrook Highlands is made up of the houses on Highlands Drive, Misty Ridge Circle, Galloway Terrace, Chilhowie Drive and just a few houses on Boonton Avenue.

We have several meetings a year, to discuss the budget and planned activities. We have an Autumn and Spring cleanup at the pool, a Halloween Parade the Sunday afternoon before the festival of ghouls. There is a BBQ and a camp out on the grounds in Summer. But in Winter, the pool area hibernates, much like the local black bears.

Our neighborhood association even has officers. Tom is our President, Ellen is our Secretary, Anne is our Treasurer, Kim is our Social Director, and Tony takes care of running the pool facilities. A few other people deserve a little recognition. John keeps our directory up to date with addresses and phone numbers. Cliff recently stepped up to lend a hand with the taxes for the association.

I hope I don’t get in trouble with the neighbors by telling you our BIG secret. Actually, if our neighborhood had a website or blog, you would have known all about it already.

One final word of warning : Don’t try to sneak into the pool off-hours. One of the officers has a ‘Bird’s Eye View’ of the pool property and he is a very fast runner.

Mary Beth Grybowski

Thank you, Mary Beth!

Did you know about Kinnelon's Stonybrook Highlands neighborhood and its lovely community pool? I bet the campout is great fun and that Halloween Parade is perfectly ghoulish!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Smoke Rise Cook Book - 1962

The Smoke Rise Cook Book - 1962
Are you ever in for a treat, thanks to Herb O. Fisher, Jr.: The Smoke Rise Cookbook from 1962!

Herb wrote me the following message:
Recently, I have seen several recipes show up on blog articles. 
Well, are you aware of, "The Smoke Rise Cook Book"? This goes back to the very early 60s.

Mitzi Yucknat was Nana/my grand mother.

Jan scooped this up from a dusty file cabinet in our garage. I have not seen this in a gazillion years.There are sooooo many names of women that sent in recipes (looks like 96) that I recall my parents mentioning and were charter family members of the infant Smoke Rise. Many of them had young uns' that were friends of mine. There is even one from a fellow named Howard who was the Chef at the Inn, way back then.
There are over 200+ Dips, Salads, Main Dishes, Side dishes, Preserves, breads and cookies, and Desserts.
HOF jr.

The Smoke Rise Cook Book - 1962 - Dedication Page
Thanks, HOF! This is truly amazing!

Here is the introduction from this cookbook:

The Officers and Chairmen of The Women of Smoke Rise will be glad to tell you that we are no ordinary women's club. The needs of our young, exurban community have crated a women's organization vital to everyone who lives in Smoke Rise. It would be a terrible bore for you and for me if I listed our many functions. Just accept my word that we are into everything. We begin with tots at pre-school age and branch out in an all embracing web of services and activities.

Because of thise frenzied work-load, the Scholarship Prize Fund for the Kinnelon High School sounded like pure madness to us, a very new Executive Board and President. Our own budget is balanced by sheer ingenuity and the heroic efforts of our Ways and Means Committee.

The Fund commits The Women of Smoke Rise to about $1,000 a year. Every year one student, graduating from Kinnelon High School and selected by the faculty on scholastic merit alone, will receive approximately $250 a year for the four years of his or her continuing college education.  By 1965 our first prize winning graduate begins his college career at the school of his choice.

This Smoke Rise Cook Book, an enormous project in itself, is the selfless labor of our Community Service Chairman and her Committee and all profits from its sale are dedicated to the Scholarship Prize Fund for the Kinnelon High School.

Irene Meyer
President of The Women of Smoke Rise, 1962-1963

The Smoke Rise Cook Book: Stuffed Cabbage by Mitzi Yucknat

And, here is Mitzi Yucknat's recipe for Stuffed Cabbage:

Scald to soften, one head loose cabbage

Mix thoroughly:
  • 1 lb round beef
  • 1.2 lb ground pork
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • salt + pepper to season
Fill each leaf of cabbage with above. Fasten ends securely so stuffing will not escape during cooking. Place 1/2 can of sauerkraut in the bottom of the kettle. Put stuffed cabbage on top. Cover with the remainder of the kraut. Fill balance of kettle with water. Cook slowly 2.5 hours

Sauce - Brown 1 large chopped onion in 3 T. bacon grease. Add 2 T. flour and 1/2 Tsp. Paprika. Pour over kraut and let come to a boil.

Does The Smoke Rise Cook Book of 1962 bring back memories? Did your family participate? Which were your favorite recipes?

Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Fayson Lakes Song

Fayson Lakes, Kinnelon
Have you heard the Fayson Lakes Song? I learned about it this afternoon at the Ramstein Beer open house when I got to talking with a long time Fayson Lakes resident.

Speaking with him reminded me that I've not yet written about Fayson Lakes, the other major lake community in Kinnelon.

I consider it a treat to drive along Fayson Lakes road and admire the beautiful water vistas and sports activities - especially in winter when we've noticed ice skating and ice fishing [also check out Ice Fishing, NJ Style] galore!

The photo above comes from the Fayson Lakes Association site; unfortunately, none of the menu options work [I was hoping for online sources of history]. This other Fayson Lakes Association site shows you the West Lake and connects to information about the ferocious Fayson Gators!].

Although the best place in Kinnelon for history about Fayson Lakes is L'Ecole Museum, I have a paragraph to share with you about the beginning of the community:

"In 1927 a subdivision map was filed by Frank Fay, Jr. for his planned summer community, Fayson Lakes. he and his son had ridden by horseback over the mountain from Pompton Plains and, struck by the beauty of the hills, had purchased the old Frederick farm and lake from the Kitchell family, with an eye toward development. The first log cabin built was offered to the hero of the day, Colonel Charles A. Lindberg, as a promotional gimmick.  It worked, although the shy aviator had never responded.  People came, attracted by the idea of a summer cabin in the woods with a lake for recreation, but from the start, some commuted all year. The first roads, still called trails, were designed as loop roads for light auto traffic. Garages along Stonybrook Road were maintained for residents' automobiles. When Mr. Fay was elected mayor in 1931, this road was hard-surfaced and its name changed to Fayson Lakes Road."

From Kinnelon: A History by Lucy A. Meyer, page 8, with thanks to Herb O. Fisher, Jr. for sharing with me his copy of the book.

This map from the Fayson Lakes Water Company website gives you a good feel for the several lakes around which the community developed:

Fayson Lakes Water Company Map

And, now, the Fayson Lakes song!

[Subscribers, click here to view the YouTube video of Fayson Lakes Song.]

[I've never been to the Fayson Lakes beach and enjoyed this video of the beach from 2009. Emma was really taken with the tall diving board! It's fun to watch while listening to the Fayson Lakes song.]

What are your stories about Fayson Lakes? Does the Fayson Lakes song capture some of your memories? What about hikes and historic buildings? What about a rope swing for launching into the water?

Let me know in the comments.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sangria Recipe from the Smoke Rise Inn

Sangria Recipe from the Smoke Rise Inn
Ted has used white zinfandel for his Sangria.
Randy Polo from the Smoke Rise Inn forwarded me this recipe for Sangria to share with you.

He writes,

Sangria is a delicious, fruit-based wine "punch" with its traditional heritage well rooted in Spain. Typically Sangria is made with red wine, fresh seasonal fruit and a bit of seltzer water or citrus flavored soda. It is very easy to make, easy to drink and a huge hit at summer parties - even for those who do not necessarily like wine. While Spain is heralded as the creator of Sangria, countries all over the globe have adapted the recipe to make a fruit-filled wine beverage that is refreshing and easy to drink with a wide variety of foods.

One of the great things about Sangria recipes is that you can use a variety of different wines in the recipe mix. It's often wines that have not been finished the day before that find their way into a Sangria recipe, or wines in the “Good Value” isle of the liquor store that make for a perfect Sangria blend.

This Sangria recipe maximizes the fruit content and adds a new twist, using a white wine, instead of the traditional reds. Hold-on to your seats for a “Fruit Punch” like flavor that is perfect for a backyard BBQ this summer.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Smoke Rise Inn Sangria Ingredients:

1 Bottle of your favorite white wine (just as delicious with a good red wine if you so choose)

1 Lemon cut into wedges

1 Orange cut into wedges

1 Lime cut into wedges

1 Peach cut into wedges

1 Cup sliced strawberries

1/2 Cup lemonade or limeade

1/2 Cup Sugar

2 shots of apricot, peach or "berry" flavored brandy

2 Cups ginger ale

1 eight ounce can of diced pineapple pieces with juice (Optional)

Smoke Rise Inn Sangria Preparation:

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sliced peaches, strawberries limeade/lemonade, sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale and ice just before serving.

If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice. However for best results, allow Sangria to sit 12-24 hours prior to consuming.

Thanks, Randy!

Where's your favorite spot for enjoying your glass of Sangria and savoring the sights, sounds and scents of summer? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Save 8/13/11 Saturday for The Ramstein Open House, SR Fresh Hot Sauce

Here is a reminder for this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, Aug 13th. Directions are at the website.

There will be 1 tour and tasting session, at 2 PM only. 

Beers on tap - New Berliner Weiss, New Summer Bock, Imperial Pilsener, and Double Platinum Blonde.

1  and 2 liter growlers will be in stock

And SR Fresh Hot Sauce will be there with the Fresh Cayenne-CherryHabanero Gold, and XXXXTra Hot Habanero Hot Sauce. We will have Cayenne-Fresno in 2 Heat levels, Mild and Wild, and also our new SR Sriracha “Thai Style” Hot Sauces along with our Spicy Aioli in 16 oz jars -- that's Hot and Spicy Mayo for those of you scratching your heads. Come try them! And buy them!

You Hot Sauce people can check out the SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold. Check out the Fresh Hot Sauce Blog as well.

As usual, there will be a tour and explanation of the brewing process by Greg Zaccardi, the owner. [See previous post about Ramstein Beer with videos for a primer.]

See you there!

Ted and Christine and Emma

Monday, August 8, 2011

Shobhan Bantwal, Author "The Full Moon Bride" at Kinnelon Library

Shobhan Bantwal
Save Thursday, August 11, 2011 for the next author event at the Kinnelon Library. This time, with Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride.

Judy Vioreanu from the Kinnelon Public Library shares the following about Thursday's author event:

Shobhan Bantwal, Author “The Full Moon Bride” returns to the Kinnelon Library on August 11 at 7:00pm. She was at our Library in September 2008.

Here is the writeup from Bookmarks:

The Full Moon Bride – What makes a marriage – love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition…

The Full Moon Bride will be published July 26 and will be available for purchase by the author at the Library on August 11 only. 

 Please call the Library at (973)838-1321 to sign up.

Shobhan has a great website: Shobhan Bantwal where you can read about her writing, bio, books and also a spice corner with several recipes [e.g., Pineapple-Rose Punch...]!

Thank you, Judy!

On her website, Shobhan explains how her first four novels came about. You can also read excerpts from all five books.

Have you read any of Shobhan's books? What did  you enjoy most about them? Let me know in the comments.

Don't forget to call the Kinnelon Library to sign up for this author event with Shobhan Bantwal.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meet Ken Stride, CLL Music Appreciation Lecture Series, Kinnelon

I am interviewing today Ken Stride, the coordinator and main presenter for the Kinnelon CLL Music Appreciation Lecture Series that takes place at L’Ecole Museum. Ken teaches 70 plus people per week in 2 separate classes of 10 week semesters, 2 semesters per year, Spring and Fall. I was privileged to sit in on a class in the Spring of this year during which the class was able to hear and see music and video of great cabaret stars Maude Maggart, Barbara Rosene, and Nancy LaMott.

EW: Tell us about yourself – how long have you lived in Kinnelon and what do you like most about Kinnelon?

KS: Ed, first let me thank you and Christine for creating and publishing The Smoke Rise and Kinnelon Blog, a very important source of information about our community. I also very much appreciate your coming to the last session of the CLL music course in the Spring semester. Your interest in our Music Appreciation course is most gratifying.

I have lived in Smoke Rise for exactly thirty years, having bought a house as an investment in August,1981 with the intention of keeping it for a few years, and then selling it for a profit. But, as you would certainly know, once having lived in Smoke Rise and in the greater Kinnelon Boro it becomes very difficult to leave. Here, we enjoy all the benefits of nature - the forests, the lake, the amazing animals, and all of that well within an hour of mid-town Manhattan. As the Gershwin song says, "Who could ask for anything more?" So, the investment became my primary home, and now that I am retired from a long career with IBM Corporation, I am determined to always live here.  What a privilege it is!

EW: How long have you been teaching CLL courses, and how did you get involved in CLL, and teaching?

KS: I retired from my business career nine years ago. I always knew that one day I would have the time for an opportunity to more fully pursue cultural interests, and that time had finally come.

CLL Music Appreciation Lecture SeriesI registered for the Center for Lifelong Learning course in Music Appreciation, led by Ranier DeIntinis, a world class New York Philharmonic Orchestra musician for 43 years, and simultaneously a teacher at Juilliard for 40 of those years. He also was a resident of Kinnelon. I was fortunate to have attended Dinny's Classical Music Appreciation classes on Monday mornings at L'ecole for six years, and during that time he and I became friends.

My knowledge vastly expanded and understanding grew beyond my expectations. Dinny taught his much in-demand classes for 12 years, right up to his final weeks when his health battle came to an end. Soon afterwards Ron Leavesley, President of CLL, asked me to consider resuming the music course. My initial response was that I was not a musician, so it was doubtful that anyone would come to the class. Ron can be very persuasive, so I agreed to lead one semester in honor of Dinny. In respect, we paused for six months and then announced the resumption of the course.

I was astounded by the response. More people registered to attend than the physical space could accommodate, and I had the feeling that I might have agreed to do something that would entail more than a one semester commitment. That was three years ago, and the registration lists have grown to the point where, this last semester, we had to expand to two sessions each week to accommodate the crowds, and even then we were forced to inform 14 of the 94 people who signed up that we were limited to a maximum of 80 and could not accept them into the class. Who would have guessed it?

EW: You have an incredible knowledge of many different types of music and musicians – how did this come to pass?

KS: While growing up in the '50s, my brother and I studied the piano and became interested in all musical genres; symphonic, operatic, standards under the heading of "The Great American Songbook", jazz, rhythm and blues, country, and of course - rock 'n' roll. We found them all to be fascinating for unique reasons. They each had a quality that was compelling, and we enthusiastically delved into all of them.

Music has the capacity to communicate to the listener in ways even more profound than the spoken word can. At its highest level, composers can create and artists can perform in ways that can reach into the very soul of an audience of one, or unite an audience of ten thousand. It can amplify and inspire, and transcend even the best of our aspirations. It can overcome adversity and replace it with hope and optimism. Music in all of its forms, when embraced, becomes quite literally the soundtrack of our lives.

I caught on to this very early, but it is never too late for anyone to come on board and share in this amazing art form. That's what the Center of Lifelong Learning is all about. It provides an opportunity to enrich the intellectual and cultural experience of anyone who seeks to expand horizons and grasp some of the best of what life has to offer. I always begin each semester by telling the class that I regard music as a gift from God, and I believe that is absolutely true. It enhances the life that we are created to live, and it provides its own reward. The greater the effort made to explore, the greater will be the understanding, and the greater will be the reward.

EW: What is your personal favorite amongst the genres you talk about?

KS: Over the years, every one of the genres has occupied first place in my hierarchy of favorites. Although the focus changes from time to time, and one type of music may replace another in my personal "first place", the appreciation for earlier favorites never really diminishes; they simply take a side step for a while. I would challenge anyone to listen intently to Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", "Brandenburg Concerto No. 5", "Air on the G String", or "Sheep May Safely Graze", and not find their spirits lifted beyond all expectation by the sheer power and beauty of that genius' creativity.

I would defy any listener to focus on Wagner's powerful "Overture to Tannhauser" and "Overture to Lohengrin", or the incredible passion of "Tristan and Isolde", and not be astounded by the emotional impact that this music can instill. I would confidently ask anyone to even attempt to listen to any of Beethoven's nine symphonies, or only the second movements of Mozart's symphonies and not be profoundly moved; it can't be done. (Editor: I hope you enjoy the (sometimes quirky) links to the pieces above.)

CLL Music Appreciation at l'Ecole, KinnelonI would question the foresight of anyone who neglected to bring at least two handkerchiefs when hearing Luciano Pavarotti performing Puccini's "Nessun Dorma", or Maria Callas performing Puccini's "Vissi d'Arte". One need only listen to these two arias to feel the immense power of this art form. During the first three semesters that I have been leading the CLL music appreciation course, I focused on the greatest classical composers and the greatest performing artists who brought that immortal music into the twentieth century.

But, music does not have to be "classical" to be classic. For the past two semesters, I focused on bringing to the class the composers and performing superstars of the genre that has become known as "The Great American Songbook". Composers and lyricists - Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, the Gershwin's, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer; Superstars - Sinatra, Garland, Minnelli, Streisand, Bennett, and also some who are not household names, but whose incredible talents have kept the music playing - fresh and exciting as when the songs were first written - Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short, Andrea Marcovicci, Maude Maggart, Nancy LaMott, Hilary Kole, Barbara Rosene, and the newest of them all - the wonderful Jennifer Sheehan. There is a special place in my heart for "The Great American Songbook", perhaps because I learned to play those songs on the piano when I was young, and more likely because I know some of the best artists performing those songs today. (Editor: Go to YouTube and search on the names above and see what you get -- I can't do all of the work for you!)

EW: I know you often go into the city to experience live performances – where have you been recently and where are you planning to go in the fall?

KS: Six years ago, I was fortunate to have met my good friend, Robert L. Daniels, longtime revered critic for Variety - the "Showbiz Bible". Sharing an enthusiasm for music, Bob has since invited me to accompany him at the best venues in town to see performers who are at the pinnacle, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many of those incredible talents.

My favorite venues in New York City are the legendary cabarets - the Mecca of them all - the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel where Andrea Marcovicci has held court for two months every Fall for the past twenty three years, and her protégée Maude Maggart who mesmerizes audiences whenever she appears; the Cafe Carlyle at the famous Carlyle Hotel where the late Bobby Short reigned for three decades; Feinstein's at the Regency Hotel where the Kinnelon's own Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for her star turn on Broadway in the title role of"Gypsy") appeared in June to a packed house populated by many Kinnelon-ites who came out to see our own superstar in performance at an intimate cabaret setting; and Birdland and Iridium, the world famous jazz clubs where Hilary Kole and Barbara Rosene dazzle audiences with fantastic renditions of the best of "The Great American Songbook", transporting their appreciative fans back to an era that seems to have been in many ways, a lot more fun. Of course, there are the annual "Cabaret Convention" nights produced by Donald Smith, "the Emperor of Cabaret" at Lincoln Center; and the special performances at Town Hall, City Center and Carnegie Hall.

I always want to offer to the CLL class, something that they may not yet be aware of. Here's one of them: One need not travel into the city to see outstanding performances in one of the "Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World" Shanghai Jazz Club and restaurant in Madison, NJ, only forty minutes from Kinnelon, offers some of the best jazz stars performing today. The fabulous Nicki Parrott, Australian beauty and superbly artistic jazz singer and bassist interprets "The Great American Songbook" in ways that would melt the heart and lift the spirits. When she is not appearing at Iridium in the city, or on the concert stage, this world class artist occasionally graces the stage at Shanghai Jazz, always a event not to be missed. The legendary jazz guitarists John Pizzarelli and his father Bucky draw capacity crowds whenever they appear at Shanghai.

Ken Stride, KinnelonSo, whether in the classiest NYC cabarets where the elite meet and eat and are treated, to the jazziest clubs in the city and in Madison "where the music is hot and all that jazz...", music is alive and thriving and its all within an hour of where we live.

EW: This Fall Semester, from the catalog description, appears to be the first of a 2 part series on the History of Jazz – what will be the 2nd semester and how do the 2 semesters fit together? And what do you hope to bring to the audience in terms of music experience?

KS: Yes, the Fall Semester will be the first of two consecutive semesters on Jazz. This genre is so important and so vast that to present it in even two semesters will be a stretch, but we are confident that we can do justice to the subject. There are actually more than thirty distinctive subsets of Jazz that fall under that all inclusive general title. And it is considered to be the greatest American contribution to the world of music; our country's musical gift to the world. Many years ago, Leonard Bernstein was asked to define what we mean by "classical" music. He said that some people call it "serious" music, being under the mistaken impression that the term "serious" distinguishes it from other musical genres. He said that Jazz is just as serious as classical music. 

The distinction is that classical compositions are intended to be performed precisely as the composers wrote them, whereas Jazz compositions are created in a basic methodical framework following all of the rules and reflected in the notes manuscript, but the music is fleshed out, actually additionally composed during the performance. It is composed improvisationally by the artist, and as such is never played exactly the same way by different performers, and not even the same way twice by the same performer. That is what makes this musical genre so exciting. It is spontaneous, and therefore unpredictable. The audience hears and sees composing on a real time basis, as it happens.

During the Fall semester, we will bring the class from the origins of Jazz in New Orleans in the late nineteenth century, through the 1930's, which by then had enthralled the western world, and had gone as far as to define an entire epoch -"The Jazz Age". On alternate weeks, we will present first - historical progression of this music, and second - video performances of the giants who brought Jazz to thrilled audiences for decades. Then, in the Spring 2012 semester, we will carry the progression right through the present day. And we will continue to intersperse outstanding performances during the ten week term.

The course is entitled, "All That Jazz", and that is exactly what this is going to be. It is our intent that those who attend the classes will come away with an enhanced level of knowledge of this greatly important, the only exclusively American, musical genre, and their level of appreciation whenever they hear it played in the future will be much more finely honed.

EW: I know that this course you offer is one of two, the other being Week in Review, courses that are consistently sold out and wait-listed, even though there are 2 classes a week – how is it that this course generated so much interest? What do your students tell you?

KS: The audience response to the CLL Music Appreciation course has been tremendously gratifying and encouraging. We present the subjects in a way that brings to the class information and insight drawn from an enormous amount of material, and we present it in a comprehensive and always entertaining way. After all, we can do several days of research and writing of lectures, and gathering, reviewing and deciding upon video and audio material to be used in each class, but that is all in the background, and the audience should not have to be concerned about any of the time and effort that goes into the program. They are there for the end result, and either it works or it doesn't. So far, it appears that we are striking the right chords, judging by the evaluation sheets that the class members provide after each semester. It is the subject that is the attraction. It is a universal art form. There is something in it for everyone. The more that the audience will be able to bring to the listening experience as a result of having attended our classes, the more will be their rewards. It is something that they will carry with them always. I know that is why they come, and it is why we conduct these classes.

EW: Is there anything you’d like to add?

KS: Yes; a few very important acknowledgments. There are eight dedicated CLL members who join me in presenting these subjects to the classes each semester. Bob and Lori Frank, Lydia Schmidt, Stan Lehrer, Myrna Weisselberg, Lois Wolfer, Jim Ritter, and Muriel Braunstein all bring their enthusiasm, love of learning, skills at presenting, and dedication as instructors to making these courses possible.

The CLL office team, headed by the President - Ron Leavesley, and Carol Sventy who works so tirelessly and effectively with Ron and each of the coordinators, are the primary forces behind the scenes without which CLL as we know it, would not exist.

And also special thanks to the Kinnelon Historical Commission which generously makes available L'ecole, the building on Keil Avenue where we present our classes in an environment that is uniquely inviting.

Kinnelon's CLL Volunteers

So, many people are involved in bringing the CLL Music Appreciation Class together. We are all grateful for the opportunity to do so. And most importantly - our sincere thanks to our class members, our audiences, without whose continued strong interest and enthusiasm, we would not do any of it.

EW: Thank you, Ken!

Please note that registration for the Fall semester of CLL courses, including Ken's All That Jazz series begins within days. Those of you interested in this particular course should register soon, since the course fills early and cannot be expanded due to lack of physical space.

Take a look at the main Fall 2011 CLL Course Registration page here.

And the course descriptions page including that for All That Jazz page here.

Happy Listening,


Photo Credit: Ken Stride

Friday, August 5, 2011

Kinnelon Library Survey - Please Participate!

Please, will you participate in a Kinnelon Library Survey?

As Barbara Owens, Director of the Kinnelon Public Library, explains:

The Kinnelon Public Library needs your input as we plan for the future.  We are in the process of writing a strategic plan for the next three years and have created an online survey.  Please take a few minutes to take the survey.  Your input is much appreciated.  Thank you.

I urge you to take the survey.

Ask your friends and neighbors to fill it out, too. Bring it up in conversation.

The more who fill it out, the better the Kinnelon Public Library will be able to plan for the future and deliver services that you value. It's important to know what role the Kinnelon Library plays in your life. Note that you may receive several different requests to fill the survey - we're trying hard to make sure that everyone gets a chance to fill it out!

I'll be involved in analyzing the data and look forward to your responses.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Oh, and, pay attention to the last question, in case you want to be involved in planning for the future of our wonderful library!


Subscribers, if you can't see the survey form that I have embedded in this post, please click on this link to view the Kinnelon Library Survey form directly.

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