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Candidate Statements

Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July Weekend

July 2, 2015

I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. Following is a speech I gave when I was first elected to the Westfield Town Council: It is a real honor and privilege for me to ...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

In Westfield, Car Damaged, Bikes Reported Stolen

July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 1:31 a.m. Officers McCarthy and Martinez arrested Zenasia Bowers, age 20, of Elizabeth subsequent to a motor vehicle stop in the area of Mountain Avenue and Kimball Avenue on an ...

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Columns

In the Schools

Westfield Grad Earns Gold Medal in National Latin Exam

Westfield High School recent graduate Jameson Maher earned a gold medal on the National Latin Exam for four consecutive years, it was announced by the University of Mary Washington, which administers ...

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Lost in Suburbia®

Getting Under My Skin

“What do you think this is?” my husband asked me, pointing to his elbow. “That is your elbow,” I stated matter-of-factly. “No, these red spots,” he ...

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JCC NEWS

Camp Yachad is in Full Swing

Summer 2015 is here, and Camp Yachad is in full swing. We had an exciting first day.  Our brand new zero-entry pool is open and our youngest campers had a great time splashing around in ...

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The Floor Plan

Indoor Comfort, Outdoor Living

It's that time of year. The time when we get to expand our living spaces and spend more time outdoors. When you're looking to decorate an outdoor space, you want to have all the comforts of ...

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ViaNutrition

What is the Difference Between Infrared and Traditional Saunas?

I love, love, love the infrared sauna. It is so peaceful and makes you feel shut off for a half an hour. The benefits of that alone are brilliant. The benefits are far-reaching for your well-being ...

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Experts of H.O.M.E.

Tips for Backyard Entertaining

Summer is in full swing. Is your home ready for entertaining? It’s time to enjoy your home, inside and out. Here are some of our favorite hacks for backyard fun this summer. To chill ...

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Monday with Millicent

Westfield Art Association (WAA) Members Exhibit Artwork at Mulberry House in Westfield

Come View the Exhibit and Stay for Lunch or Dinner Westfield, New Jersey, is buzzing about the first in a series of exhibitions that will be presented by Members of the Westfield Art Association ...

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Personal Fitness: In the Studio

What is Personal Training? First in a 4-Part Series

After the brutal winter we had this year - which was almost immediately followed by mid-summer-esque temperatures - we weren't left with much spring time to gradually shed off our heavy winter ...

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Lindabury Legal Corner

Shareholder and COO of Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Named Chairman of LEGUS Law Advisory Board

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is proud to announce that shareholder William R. Watkins has been named Chairman of the Advisory Board of LEGUS. To read about it, click here.   ...

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Westfield Area Y

Westfield Area Y's Summer Enrichment Class Makes Camouflage Hats for Wild Animal Day

The Westfield Area Y’s Summer Enrichment Class at the Robert & Virginia Bauer Branch located at 422 East Broad Street in Westfield recently made a special project for Wild Animal Day. The ...

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Point View WealthPoints

Take Advantage of the Greek Tragedy

Concerns of a Greece banking failure and an exit from the European Union have dominated the news headlines once again, and have helped take the global financial markets on a roller coaster ride.

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The Academic Coach

The Summer Plan

The 2014-2015 Academic year is done! Now families can take a deep breath, celebrate successes, and enjoy some free time. But there is one last thing to do and we can help. Chyten Millburn ...

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Westfield Symphony Changes Name to Match Expanding Mission

By JACKIE LIEBERMAN

May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM

WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Symphony Orchestra will soon be known as the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, a name change several years in the making as New Jersey’s second-largest professional orchestra has expanded into a regional one. But Westfield music lovers need fear not, according to Music Director Maestro David Wroe.

“We clearly recognize that our home is, and will remain, in Westfield,” said Wroe.

In recent years the WSO has expanded its performances, playing not just in Westfield but around New Jersey and as far away as Carnegie Hall. The expansion is “really in response to the economic tsunami that has hit our industry over the last four or five years,” explained Wroe. Though its freelance musicians come from all over, including New York City, “For 30 years, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra has operated almost exclusively in Westfield.”

The expansion into other parts of the region is critical if the orchestra is to survive, according to Wroe, who told TAP that each year several symphony orchestras and operas suspend their operations or even close completely.

“We have been proactive in designing a response,” said Wroe. The plan underway is two-pronged: Increase the number of performances by traveling to other towns and perform music that attracts a broader audience.

Economically, Wroe explained, it makes more sense to pay musicians to rehearse the same music for several performances, which means traveling out of Westfield to reach more audiences.

For two seasons, the WSO has fused with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey in Morris County, which allowed it to expand into the Morris County market, often recreating the same performance there that audiences enjoyed in Westfield. In other words, “We’ve doubled up nearly all of our concerts,” said Wroe.

Barry Zucker, once president of the New Philharmonic’s board of trustees and now the vice president of the Festival Orchestra’s board of trustees, told TAP, “I’m very excited about my involvement with the Westfield Symphony, primarily because of their plan to continue their quality orchestral offerings in Morris County. I’ve given them my full support to do that by joining their board.”

“We believe that there has to be a consolidation of resources in New Jersey to allow arts organizations to either survive or flourish,” said Wroe. To meet that, the orchestra is continuing to establish partnerships with other organizations whose artistic visions are compatible so that a more efficient business model can be achieved.

Wroe himself has been appointed the music director of Opera at Florham, which resulted in a close relationship between the orchestra and the opera. The two will perform together in the fall.

Despite the new name and regional expansion, “Westfield is going to see no substantial change,” Wroe promised. “This is our home. We will continue to perform at the Presbyterian Church and other venues in the area. Our offices are here. I live here. We have deep roots in Westfield and we are here for good.”

At the same time that the orchestra is expanding its fan base geographically, it has begun performing concerts designed to attract a wider audience wherever it goes.

“There is a celebratory, a festive, an out-of-the-ordinary element to our programing,” said Wroe, which explains the “Festival” part of the new name. “We felt this beautifully describes the essence of what we are. We are not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

While still serving those who love the great composers of the 18th and 19th centuries, “we also try to become more relevant to a younger audience whose tastes are more rooted in contemporary culture,” said Wroe.

Those who attended performances this year may remember dancing to a live swing band, hearing the theme from “Jaws” live at “Night at the Movies,” watching the  1931 film “Dracula” accompanied by live macabre masterworks and taking in Carmen as sung by internationally renowned vocalists. Plans for the 2013 to 2014 season include a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida with guest stars from the Metropolitan Opera, another combination of live music and silver screen and a season finale of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.

“You see a cross-fertilization of cultural genres in our programs,” said Wroe. As a result, he said, “We’ve seen a tripling of our single-ticket sales over the last four years.”

Grant institutions have taken note and are showing their support with both advice and “hard cash” Wroe told TAP.

The orchestra’s next concert will take place on June 1 at the season finale, “New Beginnings.” For more information and for tickets, click here.

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