Arts & Entertainment

Warren Library and SCLSNJ's 10 Branches Celebrate Music This May

Credits: SCLSNJ

WARREN, NJ -  To celebrate all that music has to offer, SCLSNJ is encouraging the community to come together this May for “SCLSNJ: Your Music Spot.” 

Yes, studies have shown that reading stimulates your brain, reduces stress, and improves your memory. But did you know that there are studies that support the claims that listening to music can improve cognitive performance, reduce stress and even help people perform better in high-pressure situations*?  Put them together and these statements lead to one logical conclusion: Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) is the place to be to stimulate your brain, reduce stress, improve your memory, improve your cognitive performance, and help you perform better in high-pressure situations. 
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“People often immediately think of books when they hear the word ‘library,’ so we’re making it our mission this May to get them thinking about music, too,” said Yvonne Selander, SCLSNJ’s collections management supervisor. “With an SCLSNJ library card, you can access NAXOS Music Library and NAXOS Music Library Jazz to stream music for free; you can choose from over 51,000 CDs and numerous books about music, music history, instruments and more to take home from our collection. There are even musical performances at our library branches. We are your music spot.” 

Behind the Curtain: The Conductor & The Orchestra at SCLSNJ Warren Township Library branch
Saturday, May 9, 2-3:15 pm
Appropriate for adults. Since the 17th Century the Conductor has been an integral part of the orchestra, but what do they really do? Clarinetist, composer and music educator, Jessica Davy will introduce the structure of the symphonic orchestra and demystify the concept of the Conductor, showing how they shape the music we love. Learn about role of the conductor and how each conductor - such as Leonard Bernstein, Arturo Toscanini, and Herbert van Karajan - have left their mark in the music world. Try your hand at conducting well-known pieces and then conduct Jessica as she plays the clarinet. For more information, visit:
Evening Stories at SCLSNJ Somerville Library branch
Mondays, May 4, 11 & 18, 6:30-7 pm
Appropriate for children ages 4-6. Topics will include: Classical music highlighting Flight of the Bumblebee with stories about bugs on 5/4; Guitar music, Picasso collage guitars and stories from Spain on 5/11; and Jazz music, bongos and stories about people making music on 5/18. 
For more information about the 5/4 program:
For more information about the 5/11 program:
For more information about the 5/18 program:
M.I.Y. DRUMS at SCLSNJ North Plainfield Memorial Library branch
Tuesday, May 5, 3:30-4:30 pm
Appropriate for children grades K-5. Learn how to make your own drum using items you can find around your house. For more information, visit:

Music Notes Discussion Group at SCLSNJ Peapack & Gladstone Library branch
Wednesday, May 6, 7:30-8:30 pm. 
Appropriate for adults. Meet with other music lovers and aficionados to discuss current music trends and news, recent and future releases, recommendations, and anything and everything else music related. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit:

Tickle the Ivories with Your Toes at SCLSNJ Manville Library branch
Saturday, May 9, 3-4 pm
Appropriate for children grades preschool-5. Create your own song by stepping on a large keyboard. For more information, visit:
Musical Fun with Miss Jamie at SCLSNJ Watchung Library branch
Wednesday, May 13, 10:30-11:15 am
Appropriate for children through 6 years old with a caregiver. In this interactive music program presented by a certified Music Together teacher, grownups and children will discover the joys and benefits of making music - together. For more information, visit:
Heather MacDonald, Harpist at SCLSNJ Bound Brook Memorial Library branch
Saturday, May 16, 2-3 pm
Heather MacDonald has been sharing her love of music and history for more than twenty years. Beginning with piano, her passion for playing, singing, and interest in the unique has culminated an eclectic assortment of instruments, including Irish whistle, Bodhran (Irish drum), Celtic folk harp and mountain dulcimer. Patrons of all ages are invited to listen as Heather plays songs with a story – from gentle Medieval aires to rousing songs of American Freedom. For more information, visit:
History of Motown Music at SCLSNJ Bridgewater Library branch
Monday, May 18, 7-8:30 pm
Learn about Motown artists such as The Miracles, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and many more in an interactive lecture that allows the audience to share their own personal memories. For more information, visit:
Making Chimes at SCLSNJ Hillsborough Library branch
Wednesday, May 20, 4-4:45 pm for children grades 1-4
Thursday, May 21, 6-7:15 pm for tweens and teens grades 5-8
On May 20, children grades 1-4 can create Cool Can Chimes with the members of the Neshanic Garden Club. For more information, visit:
On May 21, tweens and teens grades 5-8 can make a Found Object Windchime. Supplies and tutorial will be provided. Feel free to bring small metal pieces (keys, washers, utensils, etc.) to personalize your project. For more information, visit:
Red Oak Chamber Organization at SCLSNJ Mary Jacobs Memorial Library branch
Thursday, May 21, 7-8:30 pm
All ages are invited to listen as a collection of small chamber ensembles formed by talented students from Montgomery High School perform a broad spectrum of genres, from Brahms to instrumental pop covers, to please a variety of musical tastes. The group wishes to raise awareness of the lack of available music education in many areas. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Mary Jacobs Library. For more information, visit:

Want to read about people behind the music? Morris Balacco, collection management librarian at SCLSNJ, recommends these musician bios:  
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg
Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumors by Zoe Howe
True Love by Jennifer Lopez
Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith by Joe Perry and David Ritz
Words Without Music: A Memoir by Philip Glass
It's a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson and David Ritz
Autobiography by Morrissey 
Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys : A Memoir by Viv Albertine
Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored by John Lydon
Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol
I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax by Scott Ian
More in the mood to listen to some good tunes? Selander gave us a sneak peek into what in-demand new items we can expect to see on SCLSNJ’s shelves this May (and a couple to get excited for in June): 
Now That's What I Call Music! 54 - Various Artists (release date May 4)
The Waterfall - My Morning Jacket (release date May 4)
Wilder Mind - Mumford & Sons (release date May 4)
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + the Machine (release date June 2)
Dale by Pitbull (release date June 2)
Drones - Muse (release date June 9)
Selander also suggests picking up some music that might get you feeling nostalgic (also known as newer releases from old favorites): 
Blow Up the Moon - Blues Traveler
New Glow - Matt and Kim
No Pier Pressure - Brian Wilson (yes, one of The Beach Boys is still recording!)
Second Hand Heart - Dwight Yoakam
Glean - They Might Be Giants (release date April 21)
Kindred - Passion Pit (release date April 21)
Twice Told Tales - 10,000 Maniacs (release date April 28)
Now #1s - Various Artists (release date May 4)
Sol Invictus - Faith No More (release date May 19)
The Purple Album - Whitesnake (release date May 19)
Silverball by Barenaked Ladies (release date June 2)
One Lost Day by Indigo Girls (release date June 2)
As you can see, SCLSNJ has lots of music options to offer. Visit your local SCLSNJ library branch or to find out more. 
About Somerset County Library System of New Jersey
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) partners with you to connect, to explore, to share and to discover. Together we enrich lives, expand knowledge and strengthen communities. SCLSNJ branches can be found in Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Hillsborough, Manville, North Plainfield, Peapack & Gladstone, Rocky Hill at Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, Somerville, Warren Township and Watchung. Additionally, there are two SCLSNJ reading stations in Branchburg and Washington Valley. Visit for further information about library services offered at SCLSNJ.

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