ASBURY PARK, NJ — Keeping with tradition, Beach Music Studios Annual Holiday Party placed the spotlight on what continues to make it Belmar's very own musical classic: a dazzling showcase of young musical talent.
Marking its 15th year, the event returned to The Stone Pony on December 15 where some 500 people enjoyed an afternoon of rock 'n' roll with songs of the season sprinkled throughout the festivities.
The party kicked off with a set of holiday tunes by Beach Music Studios owner Danny White and his band, along with some “friends.” As anticipation mounted throughout their performance for the arrival of Santa, he finally did emerge through a flurry of "snow" to greet the children crowded around the stage.
In addition to performances by the 8- to 18-year-olds in the Beach Music Rock Band and other BMS students, its newest ensemble — the Beach Music Junior Band — performed live for the first time. And making an appearance for the second straight year was the A Capella Group, which certainly delivered when it came to singing a quartet of Christmas carols.
A highlight of the day was when Belmar Elementary School seventh-grader Kimberly Gonzalez accepted the Beach Music Studios 2020 annual scholarship. The 12-year-old, who has been a BES choir member since third grade, will receive one year of private voice lessons. With Belmar Elementary Superintendent David Hallman by her side up on stage, she was surprised when Santa also handed her a special gift — a ukelele.
Gonzalez said she was excited, yet nervous when she learned that she has been awarded the scholarship. But she is looking forward to honing her vocal skills. "Singing is like a hobby to me," she said. "I like to sing all kinds of music ... whatever appeals to me."
It was also a day to celebrate community in several ways. Hundreds of donations were collected for its annual toy drive, which will benefit Jersey Shore families in need this holiday season.
And Beach Haus Brewery taproom and events manager Steve Tichenor took the stage to announce the launch of a yearlong fundraising effort with the release of a new beer, Tune-up, brewed specially for Beach Music Studios. With every pint purchased on tap, the Belmar-based brewery will donate $1 to benefit the BMS annual scholarship fund, and for every four-pack, it will make a $2 donation.
And just as he has at past BMS holiday parties, 10th Ave Burrito Company owner Brian Katz, served up tacos, compliments of his popular Belmar eatery.
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