With the holiday season now in full swing, a number of Hudson County organizations are celebrating the season, but with a decidedly-post hurricane Sandy commitment. In recent weeks several community groups have chosen to tie their regular end-of-the-year parties and festivities into fundraising activities for hurricane relief efforts.
The historic Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre is the latest to follow suit. This weekend, the volunteer-run theater will host its annual holiday concert, which this year will benefit Jersey City Sandy Recovery. As in the past, the concert will be preceded by a day-long visit by Santa in the theater’s lobby and will be followed by holiday-themed movie screening.
A portion of the concert and movie ticket price will be donated to Jersey City Sandy Recovery, the volunteer-led residents’ group that formed downtown just days after Superstorm Sandy struck. For the past month, the group has helped residents remove waterlogged items from their homes, resolve hurricane-related landlord-tenant issues, and apply for government assistance. The group’s founders now have plans to make Jersey City Recovery a permanent nonprofit that will focus on emergency preparedness throughout Jersey City.
‘This will be a really old fashioned holiday pageant.’ – Colin Egan
“Every organization that’s been helping in the aftermath of the storm has been great,” said Colin Egan, director of the Friends of the Loew’s Jersey Theatre. “But Jersey City Sandy Recovery is an all-volunteer organization. We’re a volunteer organization, too. So we have a unique perspective and admiration for what they did ad hoc, in the middle of the disaster. There’s still an awful lot that has to be done yet [in the way of recovery in Jersey City] and we’ve been talking about trying to help in some way. It occurred to us that we already had this concert show in the pipeline, so it was fairly easy for us to turn this into a benefit for the group.”
The holiday concert will take place at the Landmark Loew’s Theatre, 54 Journal Square, on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. After the concert, at 7:45 p.m., there will be a screening of the movie “Elf.” Earlier in the day, from noon until 3 p.m., members of the community can stop by for visits and photos with Santa in the theater lobby.
Patrons will need to purchase tickets for holiday concert and movie. Visits with Santa are free, although there is a nominal fee for photos with St. Nick.
Bells, dreidels, and joy
The concert, now in its third year, will include performances by classical vocalist Teresa Blunda, organist Bernie Anderson, and longtime community favorite Howard Richman, a Jersey City resident and show tune crooner. The choir from St. Dominic’s Academy will also participate in the concert.
“This will be a really old fashioned holiday pageant,” said Egan. “They’ll sing everything from ‘Joy to the World’ to ‘Bells of New York City.’ We have Christmas songs and there will even be a sing-along performance of [‘I Have a Little Dreidel.’] We’ve done that for three years and it always gets first a laugh and then a big cheer because people aren’t expecting it.”
Indeed, the entire second half of the holiday concert is performed as a sing-along between the audience and the pros onstage. Such concerts were once a mainstay of programming at the Loew’s when the theater was in its heyday, said Egan.
Tickets for the concert and film screening are $10 for adults and $7 for children and seniors. (About $3 out of each adult ticket sold will be donated to Jersey City Sandy Recovery.) Patrons who which to attend the concert only can pay a reduced ticket price of $5.
“This concert is an affordable price,” noted Egan. “So we think it gives everyone the opportunity to come together, enjoy the show, and celebrate our community’s resilience and be part of helping a very worthy group.”
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.