Basie receives OceanFirst Foundation grant, announces new details on children’s opera camp


(RED BANK) The nonprofit Count Basie Theatre announced this week the receipt of a generous grant from the OceanFirst Foundation.

“It is so meaningful to have OceanFirst Foundation continue its support of the Count Basie Theatre,” said the Basie’s Maria Sorensen, Vice President of Development. “OceanFirst has a longstanding commitment to the arts in our community, and their grants this year will support our school bus-in program, as well as our Performing Arts Academy’s children’s opera camp.”

The camp, the Basie Academy’s first-ever opera offering, is a two-week intensive headed by Eli Villanueva, the renowned director of the Los Angeles Opera. Under Villanueva’s tutelage, students will learn the history behind Brundibár and Friedl, two dramatic presentations set in Germany’s Theredienstadt concentration camp during World War II. Students will also take a day trip to New York’s The Museum of Jewish Heritage and meet Holocaust survivors as part of the program.

Students will also offer public performances Brundibár and Friedl: Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8pm at the Count Basie Theatre, and on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2pm at the Jay And Linda Grunin Center For The Arts. Tickets are on sale now by clicking through or visiting the venue box offices. All tickets are priced at $20.

“While putting together a children’s work of great historical significance,” Villanueva says, “we will explore and master ways to be a more engaging, more powerful and musical stage performer – all in a focused yet fun environment.”

In addition to funds provided by OceanFirst, the summer opera camp and performances of Brundibár and Friedl is made possible by an endowment funded by the Charles Lafitte Foundation, which chose the Basie’s education program as the recipient of its annual Charity Golf Classic in 2015.

Brundibar teaches the importance of tolerance, overcoming tyranny and our duty to question authority,” says Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “The Basie is thrilled to be working with The Jay and Linda Grunin Center to bring such an important and inspiring children’s opera to the Jersey Shore.”