By Matthew Sockol
FREEHOLD – Downtown Freehold, the nonprofit organization that promotes Freehold Borough’s downtown district and presents concerts, shows and other activities, is continuing to present events during April and May.
On May 7 from noon to 6 p.m., Downtown Freehold will host the first County Seat Jazz and Blues Street Fest. The event will take place on West Main Street.
The street fest will be headlined by the Chuck and Coo Band. Also performing will be Stringbean Blues, the Jerry Topinka Quartet, Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, Rogues on the Run, the Chuck Lambert Band and the Shady Street Show Band.
In addition to music, the event will feature food trucks and vendors, according to Downtown Freehold representatives.
“DowntownFreehold.com is excited to kick off our season with this great event and we look forward to welcoming residents from throughout Monmouth County to shop, dine, discover and explore all that Freehold Borough has to offer,” said Jeffrey Friedman, Downtown Freehold’s business advocate. “Two stages, six hours of jazz and blues, food trucks, vendors and more, Downtown Freehold will be the place to be.”
At the Freehold Art Gallery, 7A W. Main St. (above CVS pharmacy), an exhibit titled “From Freehold to Asbury” will feature photographs of New Jersey musicians with connections to Freehold Borough native Bruce Springsteen. The exhibit opened on April 1 and will run until May 12.
The photographs were taken by Jackie Alfano, the widow of Bob Alfano, who played in bands with Springsteen in the mid to late 1960s.
According to Friedman, Jackie Alfano’s photography highlights the influence of the Freehold Borough music scene in the growth of the Asbury Park music scene.
Her work features previously unseen photographs of James Deely of James Deely and the Valiants, the late John Luraschi a Springsteen band known as Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, original E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez, Bob Alfano, Asbury musician Al Schnitzer and others.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. The gallery is open from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, from 6:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“It has been a pleasure working with Jackie on this exhibit,” Friedman said. “Her photographs capture the space, time and emotion of the musicians she captured.”
“Knowing Jackie through a love of music, I went with her to a prior show she had done and was amazed at how many people she had photographed,” said Dru-Anne Palaima, Downtown Freehold’s events and marketing coordinator.
“After seeing her work I asked her to do an exhibit in Freehold. She agreed and said it was important to her to represent her husband and other local musicians who played together in their early years and have the show where the music began,” Palaima said.
An artist reception will be held for Alfano on April 23. The reception will run from 2-4 p.m.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 33 Throckmorton St., will host a performance of the Akropolis Reed Quintet as part of the Downtown Concert Series at 7:30 p.m. May 13. Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for individuals age 18 and younger.
Center Playhouse, 35 South St., will host a production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Nile” on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from April 21 to May 21. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances will begin at 2 p.m.
Admission for “Murder on the Nile” is $25 for adults and $23 for students and individuals age 60 and older. Tickets may be purchased online at centerplayers.tix.com or by phone at 732-462-9093.
“In Downtown Freehold there is always something going on,” Friedman said. “We are fortunate to have great local partners like Center Players of Freehold and the Downtown Concert Series at St. Peter’s, who also provide high quality programming.”