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Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of a Westfield Board of Education Meeting on March 17

March 19, 2015

2015-2016 BUDGET PRESENTATION Technology Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, led the discussion regarding how technology affects our classrooms and ult...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

In Westfield, Vehicle Reported Stolen, Drug Arrest

March 25, 2015

Mar 24, 2015 5:38 p.m. A resident in the 0-100 block of Gallowae reports an identity theft by unknown actor(s). Actor(s) fraudulently filed a tax return using the victim’s social secur...

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Columns

The Innovative Classroom

A Week in the Life of PARCC

During the month of March, Westfield High School, along with schools in 13 other states, participated in one of the most controversial educational moves to date — the implementation of of ...

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ViaNutrition

Getting Your Body in Balance for Optimum Fitness Results

What is going on? You eat pretty well, you exercise and still nothing is changing. Does this sound vaguely familiar? Well, the body is a complex machine, and the right balance of energy is neces...

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Westfield Area Y

Become a Westfield Area Y Lifeguard

The Westfield Area Y is providing teens ages 16+ and adults the opportunity to become a leader by participating in a lifeguard training program.  The Y’s comprehensive, education-cent...

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The Academic Coach

Strong Finish

All long distance runners know that a marathon doesn’t really start until the 20 mile mark. That’s the point at which the race gets really tough and many competitors “hit a wal...

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Ince Landscape Construction & Management

Did Winter Burn Compromise Your Trees and Shrubs?

Oh, winter!  It has been a long, cold winter this season, but spring is here and I am sure you are seeing the affects winter had on your trees and shrubs. As prepared as our landscape i...

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Experts of H.O.M.E.

Make your Home Spring-Ready

Here are some tips to get your home ready for Spring as we start to thaw: As the snow and ice finally melt, check along the foundations for any cracks or signs of damage. Small crac...

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In the Schools

Westfield Teacher Returns from National Ed-Tech Conference with New Instructional Strategies

Jeanine Gottko, K-5 Master Technology Teacher in the Westfield Public Schools, was among more than 9,000 educators, administrators and technologists from all 50 states and more than 40 countries...

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Employment Law

Super Lawyers Magazine Chooses Fred Shahrooz-Scampato

The firm is proud to announce that Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, Esquire, has been chosen for a second year in a row, to receive the distinguished honor of Employment Litigation: Plaintiff by Super La...

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BH Sports Training/BrawlHouse: The Water Cooler

Mobility Clinic for CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit Westfield and FLO Fitness are excited to announce a special mobility clinic on April 19th from 9:00 am to 10:30 am.  Chris Flores will spend 90 minutes going through his R.D.A. Pro...

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Weltman Home Services

Want Under The Kitchen Counter Lighting?

Call 888 WELTMAN to set up your appointment today!

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Talking About Grief

Talking about Death and Dying at Local Conversation Cafe - Sponsored by Summit Medical Group, My Gift of Grace and Atlantic Health System

Ever considered a dinner conversation about end of life but haven't been able to have it? Ever consider that this conversation could actually be fun and interesting? Then consider joining Im...

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Monday with Millicent

Let's Go Out to Eat: Water and Wine

Water & Wine in Watchung will celebrate its eleventh year of service during the month of  August, 2015. Along with La Griglia in Kenilworth, these restaurants are the pride and joy of p...

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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.