Asbury Park Music Foundation and Lakehouse Music Academy Partner to Deliver the “Big Give” at the “Big Gig” at the Wonder Bar, June 22-24

  Lakehouse Music and the Asbury Park Music Foundation continue to bring new and exciting events into the town. As has happened in the past, the two companies are teaming up again to offer something new and original to those music fans and town aficionados in the city by the sea.

  Asbury Park Music Foundation (APMF) has been invited to participate in Lakehouse Music Academy’s “Big Gig” event to raise funds for the Music Saved My Life youth music education programs. The three-day event — running June 22, 23, and 24 at the Wonder Bar — will include raffles for new instruments, 50/50 raffles, and sales of the much-desired Music Saved Asbury Park t-shirts, with proceeds going directly towards providing music education opportunities for Asbury Park students. The goal at this Big Gig is to continue fundraising efforts, while increasing visibility to the foundation programs and the students impacted by these programs.

  The Big Gig is the end-of-semester live performance event that features all Lakehouse Music Academy students showcasing the songs they’ve learned in front of a supportive crowd of family and friends. Over 65 bands of all ages will perform on the stage of the Wonder Bar, including dozens of youths who are recipients of scholarships funded through APMF. Admission is free and open to the public, offering an opportunity to experience emerging artists crafting their skills.

  “This is a huge opportunity for music-lovers to give back and provide under-served youth in our city with music education and life-changing skills,” said Jim Lenskold, Board Chair of the Asbury Park Music Foundation. “These kids are the next generation of the Asbury Park music scene who are writing, recording and performing music while building relationships and skills that will last a lifetime.”

  “There is no admission fee for the Big Gig throughout the entire weekend,” says Jon Leidersdorff, owner of Lakehouse Music Academy. “People have appreciated this policy and have asked if there is some way that they can support the community. The answer is simple, 100 percent of the donations to the multiple fundraisers throughout the weekend go directly to APMF and their efforts to support the youth in Asbury Park.”

  More information about the Big Gig, The Asbury Park Music Foundation, and the Music Saved My Life programs can be found at the following websites:, and



The Strand Theater-Lakewood, New Jersey – Crowdrise Event Now

  The famous theater architect, Thomas Lamb, was commissioned in the early 1900s by the Ferber Amusement Company to design a theater in Lakewood, NJ. The vision for the theater was not only to provide an aesthetically appealing venue, but also one that would encourage Broadway producers to utilize it as a tryout theater before moving their shows to Broadway.

  In 1922, The Strand opened in a time when Lakewood was a favorite playground for the rich and famous, including big names such as President Grover Cleveland and John D. Rockefeller. Architecturally, The Strand has excellent sight lines, with no obstructing pillars or uprights. The acoustics are notably active since it was built at a time when performers relied mainly on their voices. Today, the venue is known as one of the best acoustical theaters in the nation and is a top live entertainment venue.

  The first event at The Strand was a film that featured Mae Murray, then a sensuous siren of the silent screen, in the epic movie, Peacock Alley. Five acts of vaudeville followed this picture. Within a week of its opening, the venue fulfilled its original intended purpose when it presented a pre-Broadway run of The Devine Crook, starring Florence Reed. Reed, a leading star of the times, was then held in the same esteem as her more famous contemporary, Ethel Barrymore.

  The Strand continued with the highly favorite combination of vaudeville and films interspersed with pre-performance bookings of Broadway shows. Among the luminaries of musical concerts, radio, and television who had appeared at the theater as virtual unknowns were Ray Bolger, Milton Berle, Ruby Keeler, and a comedy team listed as Burns and Allen and billed as A Dumb-Belle and a Smart Guy.

  When sound came to the movie industry, the talkies hit the theater and the variety acts faded away. The Strand became a motion picture theater exclusively except for the occasional appearances by Hollywood starlets promoting World War II bonds. Later, as suburban movie complexes generated, and as competition from television increased, and costs soared, the venue was struggling to find a niche. At one point in the 1970s The Strand catered to adult movies for a time.

  As The Strand edged perilously close to extinction, a coalition of individuals, business interests, and government officials recognized the opportunity to preserve such an architectural treasure as a means to provide comedy shows and musicals in New Jersey. In 1981, the venue was conveyed to the Ocean County Center for the Arts. In March of the same year, the theater was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and in May 1982 it was signed into the National Register of Historic Places. The Strand was reopened with a gala performance by Pearl Bailey in 1984.

  In 1992, the theater received a $2.5 million grant to complete the interior restoration, and the theater was gloriously restored. The Strand has been undergoing several years of renovations with the support of Ocean County, the Township of Lakewood, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and many other businesses, organizations, and individuals. Recent renovations include a new reception gallery, box office, and facade.

  In March 1999, the Lakewood Development Corporation acquired the theater. In June 2000, Strand Ventures, Inc. hired a new management team who were committed to the task of restoring the theater back to its rightful place as the cultural hub of Ocean County. Realizing the overwhelming benefits of being a presentation organization, The Strand now produces its events and presents shows that reflect the cultural, ethnic, and intergenerational tastes of an ever-growing population. Today, the theater offers holiday concerts, musical concerts, plays, dinner shows, senior activities, and The Strand School of the Arts.

  And right now, The Strand is participating in the Ocean First Banks annual Crowdrise challenge for donations that are necessary to run a venue of this size. Last year, donations kept the theater humming and they once again ask for help to keep it moving. A venue that is this historic and complicated relies on patron donations to keep the lights on and the stage and equipment in working condition. Tag on the astronomic costs of theater upkeep and hospitality and you end up with a figure that can only be chipped down by patron donations. I’ve seen some outstanding shows at The Strand, and the staff and atmosphere are well worth the small asking for admittance. This theater is a local jewel that continues to shine brightly in the New Jersey music scene and its vital that we assist with keeping its doors wide open.

  For 96 years, The Strand has served as that home away from home, that place where you can escape the realities of the world and submerge yourself in the beauty of the arts. To continue to be this haven, they need your help in keeping those lights burning bright! Please support The Strand as they seek to promote the arts in our community! Any donation is needed, welcomed, and appreciated.

  For more information on helping the cause, head over to and donate whatever you can afford. To find out more about what The Strand has to offer, purchase tickets for any of our upcoming shows, or find out more about The Strand School of the Arts, call us today at 732-367-7789, or go to their website at