31 March 2010

Accomplished Musicians Concert Sunday, April 11

The following press release appeared on the Hillsborough Township web site.

3rd Annual Accomplished Musician Concert - April 11, 2010
Release Date: April 01, 2010

The Hillsborough Cultural & Arts Commission in partnership with the Hillsborough Board of Education are proud to announce that the 3rd Annual Accomplished Musician Concert will be held at the Hillsborough High School Auditorium at 3p.m. on Sunday, April 11, 2010.

The concert will include performances by the student winners of the Accomplished Musician Award, the Hillsborough High School Saxophone Quartet, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra String Quartet.

This event is open to everyone; tickets are available at the door for $5 Adult, $3 Students/Seniors.

“The mission of the Cultural Arts Commission is to stimulate art, and the appreciation of art, within our community. I am very pleased this year to be able to present not only our Accomplished Musicians, but also the Hillsborough High School Saxophone Quartet, and a very special appearance by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra String Quartet. Anyone interested in great music should plan on attending this event on April 11," stated Greg Gillette, Chairman of the Hillsborough Cultural Arts Commission.

"It's wonderful to see the incredible talent and dedication of our music students, and to be able to honor their hard work by showcasing them in this concert," stated Peggy Cioce, Hillsborough’s District Supervisor of Fine & Performing Arts.

The winners of the 3rd Annual Accomplished Musician Award, who will perform at the concert, are as follows:

Joyce Lu, Catherine Ji, Lauren Tran, Justin Havel
Auten Road Intermediate School

Justin Tran
Hillsborough Middle School

Simon Wang, William Mellott, Max Lee, Jonathan Gibbons

Hillsborough High School

The winners, chosen from the many talented students who auditioned this winter, will also receive a trophy and a cash prize.

30 March 2010

Rotary Club Easter Egg Hunt

The Rotary Club of Hillsborough is holding their annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at Pheasant's Landing.

Click on the image to view and print the flier.

26 March 2010

Gillette for BoE 2010

The following letter appeared in the Hillsborough Beacon on March 25.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today to announce my candidacy for reelection to the Hillsborough Township Board of Education, and to ask for your vote on April 20.

I came to you three years ago with a pledge to improve Hillsborough schools in the areas of education, administration, and finance, and to serve as your voice on the Board. Even as we have achieved many successes in these areas – rising test scores, a new superintendent and central office administrators, and stabilization of taxes – there are many new challenges ahead.

The recent loss of $6 million in current and expected state aid is a potentially devastating blow to our community – students, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers alike. As chairman of the Board Finance Committee these past three years, there is no one that understands the issues involved better than I. The fiscal policies I have promoted since 2007 – refinancing of existing debt, not taking on more debt, and using our 2008-2009 state aid windfall for non-recurring capital projects and tax relief – will help us weather this storm while other districts founder.

Through all of the triumphs and challenges, past, present, and future, I can assure you there is no one on the Board more committed to the ongoing success of our school district. I was humbled that you chose me three years ago as your representative, and pledge to renew my commitment going forward. You are in my thoughts with every question I raise and every vote I cast. I ask you now to remember me when you cast your vote on April 20.

To learn more about me please visit http://gilletteforboe.blogspot.com/.

24 March 2010

Simpler Math

Here's the scoop. I've been dealing with a $109 million math problem for months now, and it just got a lot worse - $5.16 million worse.

If you want an idea of how crazy it's been, you need look no further than the Hillsborough Blog itself.

All through the last two school budget seasons - roughly November through March for the finance committee, I was perfectly able to keep up my blog posts here with no problem.

This year is a completely different story, as you can see by adding up the meager number of posts I have made since November of 2009.

November 2009 - 5
December 2009 - 15
January 2009 - 10
February 2009 - 10
March 2009 - 6

Total 46

Now that's the kind of math I had almost forgotten existed!

17 March 2010

Still Saintly After All These Years

Poor Saint Valentine. He drew the shortest month (February), and the wimpiest theme (romantic love?). Not only that, but there are at least TWO early Christian martyrs named Valentine being honored on February 14 - and a slew of others on different days. The guy(s) gets no respect - we don't even use the word "saint" any more when we hand over the candy and flowers.

And then there's Patrick. There's only one of him, and he gets his holiday during one of the longest months. And he's associated with revelry and snakes. How cool is that!

But the most curious thing about Ireland's patron saint is that even after 1500 years he retains the full majesty of his title. No one is walking around on March 17 wishing each other "Happy Patrick's Day".

Hey, must be the luck of the Irish!


Next up: Can someone tell me why Jersey is the only state that has lost it's "New"? If you're a Jersey Girl from the Jersey Shore, please enlighten me. And if you're from York or Hampshire, or even Mexico, you can chime in too!

16 March 2010

Girls This Year?

Duke Farms has their Eagle Cam up and running again - just in time for the 2010 Census!

Online TV Shows by Ustream

Three chicks were hatched in 2009 - but all were males. Maybe the girls will even things up this year!

13 March 2010

You CAN Take it With You, Sadly

A newly proposed bill would require state, county and municipal employees to live in New Jersey. New employees would have four months to comply, while current employees would have to move to the state within two and a half years.

This is a bad bill for a couple of reasons. First, in a free market, people should be allowed to live where they choose. If you want them to live here, make "here" a desirable place to live. Second, it seems obvious that most of New Jersey's public employees are probably New Jersey natives who were forced to move away because they simply could no longer afford to live here. Now we are proposing to punish them again by forcing them to move back?

The real problem is not public employees who live on the other side of the river. After all, while they are working here they are actively participating in our economy - eating, shopping, gassing up the car, paying the bridge and highway tolls, etc. If legislators want to do something about negative impacts to our economy, they should look at state retirees, who take their pensions and move to Florida, or North Carolina. These folks no longer contribute to our economy at all. And this loss is in no way reciprocal as I don't think you will find many, if any, public employees from Florida, or any other state, who retire to New Jersey.

Maybe a brand new pension system should tie at least a small portion of the payout to residency - perhaps in the form of a property tax rebate to state retirees who retire here. Move away, and you lose that little piece. What do you think?

10 March 2010

Anna Case, Audio Co-Conspirator

Did you ever leave a concert and hear someone say, "you know, it didn't sound at all like the record"? Maybe you've had the same thought yourself - or the flip side, "Hey, that was just like the CD". These notions are nothing new. Heck, one of the reasons the Beatles quit touring in 1966 was they could no longer reproduce their increasingly complex recordings on stage.

We owe the idea that live performances and recordings should resemble each other to New Jersey's two most important musical and recording pioneers, Thomas Edison, and Anna Case. And here's the kicker - they set out to prove that an Edison record was as good as a live performance, but partly because of the contrivances this "proof" entailed, they wound up forever changing audiences' expectations of what live music should sound like.

Trade journal Talking Machine World, December 1914

It was in 1914 that Metropolitan Opera soprano and Edison recording artist Anna Case, a native of South Branch, walked into a music shop while on a concert tour in Iowa, and began to sing along with one of her own records. When she briefly paused, shop patrons were astounded that the still spinning record sounded just like the live Anna - they couldn't tell the two apart!

Full page Edsion ad from 1918 featuring Anna Case.
Full page Edison ad from 1918 featuring Anna Case.

Edison had spent years perfecting his Diamond Disc Phonograph. The ten-inch diameter 1/4 inch thick record spinning at 80 rpm was the most technologically advanced music reproduction system of the time. But even Edison did not initially hit on the idea that his invention could be marketed as a music "re-creator", instead of merely another "talking machine".

Full page Edison ad from 1917 featuring Anna Case.

After conferring with Miss Case, Edison set up a music shop near his factory complex in Orange, where people were invited to come and hear his recording artists sing along with their records. These recitals with phonograph accompaniment were soon dubbed "tone tests", and Edison Diamond Discs were now hailed by the famed inventor as "re-creations".

Of course, Anna Case, Edison's favorite singer, was front and center at many tone tests and in an extensive ad campaign that lasted for the better part of the next decade. Ads that regularly featured the soprano standing next to a phonograph asked readers to come into a store and hear for themselves - and then bring the re-created Anna Case home with them. In-store and window displays featured a life-sized cut-out of Anna next to the machine.

Program for the March 10, 1920, Anna Case Tone Test concert

The most famous tone-test took place on March 10, 1920, at Carnegie Hall. Over 2500 people watched and listened as Anna Case sang with the phonograph. Then the lights suddenly went out, but the singing continued. When the lights came back on, all were astounded to see that Anna had left the stage and the Edison Diamond Disc phonograph was carrying on without her!

Two-page ad, June 1920

The problem with this incredible story of invention and marketing is that it was mostly a lie. Yes, Edison's invention was probably the best of its time. And yes, it could reproduce voices very well - just not THAT well.

The program from March 10, 1920

Anna Case finally came clean 50 years after the Carnegie Hall show, admitting that she, and the other singers that took part in the tone tests, actually trained their voices to sound like the machine! Not only that, but even at a large venue like Carnegie Hall, the voice of an operatic soprano would certainly overwhelm the modest sound coming from the phonograph - so while the record played full volume, Anna had to turn hers down a bit.

Illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, who witnessed the Carnegie Hall tone test, sketches Anna Case after the show.
Illustrator James Montgomery Flagg,
who witnessed the Carnegie Hall tone test,
sketches Anna Case after the show.
And that's how Central New Jersey's musical pioneers set out to prove a recording was as good as a live performance by making the live performance only as good as the recording. A successful marketing experiment that has confounded musicians and listeners for almost a century!

Through the magic of YouTube, we can listen to a disc which Anna Case sang along with at the March 10. 1920 Carnegie Hall concert. Enjoy!

05 March 2010

Senior Housing?

There are no minimum age requirements at the Beazer Homes development off Mountainview Road in Hillsborough. Indeed, most of the "residents" are newborns. There is no maximum age either, which is a good thing since one inhabitant is well over 100!

Through the wavy glass from the 19th to the 21st century.

If you haven't guessed, I'm not talking about humans, but rather the houses themselves.

Before renovation

As a condition of approval for this new subdivision, the Hillsborough Planning Board required Beazer Homes to preserve the historic Gabriel House located on the property. They did more than preserve it. Working in conjunction with the Hillsborough Historic Preservation Commission, the builder beautifully restored the home.

The 19th century Gabriel House located at 22 Rouser Way.

All of the original charm of the house remains and is perfectly complemented by the new, modern, kitchen and master bedroom.

Up close at the Gabriel House.

One interesting aspect of the project is that, unlike many restorations of this type, the Gabriel House does not sit apart from the neighboring houses. Set just a bit further from the street than surrounding homes, it is fully incorporated into the development - right between 20 and 24 Rouser Way.

Historic Preservation Commission Chairman George Redington (left) and Commission Member Tim Johnson (right) join Jodie McCool of Beazer Homes and Hillsborough Committeeman Anthony Ferrera for a tour of the nearly completed Gabriel House last month.

So how will this historic home get along with its newly minted neighbors? We'll find out when the house comes up for sale later this year.