Tickets still available for Hudson River PAC annual gala
Tickets still remain for The Hudson River Performing Arts Center’s (HRPAC) annual benefit concert and dinner on Saturday, May 11 at the Chart House Restaurant in Weehawken. This year the event will feature award-winning Broadway stars Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. They have been featured in many Broadway and off-Broadway shows including “Next to Normal,” “Passion,” “Candide,” “Spamalot,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Man of La Mancha,” “The Full Monty,” and many more. Marin and Jason recently appeared, together with legendary performers Chita Rivera and Joel Grey, in a Live From Lincoln Center nationally televised broadcast dedicated to the music of “Kander and Ebb.”
To purchase tickets and get more information, please visit www.hrpac.org or call (201) 430-6881. HRPAC’s programs are funded in part by The Hudson Reporter.
Eight High Tech students qualify to enter 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program
Director of High Tech High School Dr. Joseph Giammarella announced that eight High Tech juniors have met the qualifications to enter the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program this year.
High Tech is a countywide public high school.
The designation is based on PSAT scores and other factors. With a Selection Index score of 203 or above, each of these students—Harrison residents Mark Ma and Toshi Piazza; Sam Jacobs of Hoboken; Jersey City resident Jenny Doyle; Maximilian Ashkenazi, Dina-Simran Chotrani, and Eileen Gao of Secaucus; and Weehawken resident Kyra Baker—ranked among the 50,000 highest-scoring participants of some 1.5 million program entrants.
Semifinalists, representing the top scorers in each state, will be the only students who will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for about 8,300 National Merit Scholarships offered in 2014.
Union City record producer George Mena dead at 55
Musician, songwriter and record producer George Mena, who for many years owned and operated the MK Records studio in Union City, died last week. He was 55.
Throughout his extensive career, Mena toured with several prominent artists, playing bass for Musique, Billy Paul, Grace Jones, The Tramps, and Donna Summer. As a producer, he worked with Beyonce and Jay-Z, Shakira, Barbara Tucker, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Destiny’s Child, Omarion and Wyclef Jean.
“Working with these artists has been a learning experience and helped prepare me for where I am today,” Mena once said. “I thank God for being given that opportunity.”
Union City Commissioner of Public Affairs Lucio Fernandez, who is also a successful recording artist and actor, remembered Mena fondly.
“[He was] one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. We will miss him dearly,” he said.
Folk legend, Woodstock performer, and Jersey City resident Richie Havens dies at 72
Legendary folk singer Richie Havens died Monday of a heart attack in his Jersey City home. According to news reports, he was 72.
A native of Brooklyn, Havens became a staple live performer at various New York clubs in the early 1960s, releasing his debut album, Mixed Bag, in 1967.
But it was his memorable two-hour opening set at the original 1969 Woodstock Festival for which Havens is best remembered. According to several news accounts, Havens had been slated to take the stage as the festival’s fifth act, but was bumped up in the performance lineup after scheduled opening act Sweetwater got stuck in traffic. When other bands were similarly delayed, Havens just continued playing.
The 11-song set included “Handsome Johnny,” “Minstrel from Gault,” and “Hey Jude,” among other tunes. But it was Havens’ Woodstock encore – a blending of his original protest song “Freedom” and the black spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” – that would become one of the most enduring signature moments of the three-day music festival. A recorded version of the song was used most recently in the Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained.”
The eldest of nine children, Havens sang gospel and doo-wop as a teenager in Bed-Stuy before finding his voice as a folk performer, according to the New York Times.
After Woodstock, Havens went on to record dozens of albums, and became known for his rearranged renditions of covers of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” and Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train,” in addition to his own original work. His last album, Nobody Left to Crown, was released in 2008.
Several news outlets reported that Havens had kidney surgery in 2010 and retired due to health problems last year.
A resident of the Jersey City Heights, Havens was often seen walking about in the community, though he shunned media attention in his later years.