Hospital? Not Yet##M:[more]##

The Township has received several calls regarding the construction of a new office building at 902 Carnegie Center. There is apparently a misunderstanding that this project is in some way associated with or related to the potential relocation of the University Medical Center at Princeton. This is untrue and it should be noted that the hospital Board has not made any decision to relocate to West Windsor or any other neighboring municipality in the region.

The property being cleared for 902 Carnegie extends from Carnegie Center Boulevard to the Marriott Residence Inn. There is some additional access work that is being done near the Marriott and a detention basin on the north side of Carnegie Center Boulevard is being enlarged. This development will provide a number of pedestrian improvements including a linkage from the office space to the restaurants and the MarketFair.

If a request is made by Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) to relocate the facility to the Township, all residents will have every opportunity to express their opinions and participate in the public process associated with such relocation. Any decision to relocate would require a Master Plan revision and a Zoning change.

Christopher R. Marion

Business Administrator,

West Windsor

South in Scotland:

Ringing Success

While I found Preeti Bhattacharji’s article with her wonderfully personal viewpoint on High School South’s recent tour of Scotland enjoyable (The News, April 29), there was much which needs to be reported about this trip that was understandably not covered by her article. As a classical music producer and recording engineer, I participated in this tour in order to record the concerts for a CD that we hope will be released by the end of May. I am a veteran of over 20 foreign tours by United States choral and orchestral ensembles, high school, collegiate and professional. This tour was without question one of the best in my experience, from planning to completion.

The tour was made somewhat more complex by the need to use amplification for those pieces which involved both choir and orchestra in order that the choir be heard above the 90-piece orchestra. It is a credit to the organizers of the tour, Directors Janice Chapin (Choir) and Jean Mauro (Orchestra) that they held a pre-tour concert for the parents during which it became obvious such a system would be needed overseas. Connections made over years of United Kingdom recording projects allowed the tour to have such a PA system delivered to the first concert venue in Glasgow and travel with us for the remainder of the tour. It this level of advanced planning that I find typical of outstanding schools such as West Windsor’s, with the results I will briefly comment on below.

This was a huge undertaking in scope and repertoire (the CD will need to be a two-CD set to contain the music). Scotland and England have had many high school groups tour their countries, especially during Easter break, when there was also a high school band festival in Edinburgh. Concert organizers are used to hearing that a group is “good.” But the definition of that word took on new significance when the minute rehearsals began, as organizers stopped what they were doing (setting up rooms), sat down, and listened in wide-eyed amazement as the High School South ensembles went through their repertoire, stopped, corrected, and sharpened their performances.

From comments made to me after rehearsals and concerts alike by organizers and attendees, “good” has now been redefined as perhaps mediocre, and “outstanding” is the mark which High School South has set for all others who follow to emulate. Don’t take my word for this: the South website contains the orchestra performance of the Theme from the Magnificent Seven, as performed at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, which you may listen to and make your own judgment about the musicianship.

I will only add that David Todd, the head of the charity sponsoring the Greyfriars concert, said to me afterwards that he has sponsored concerts by the BBC orchestra in the past, and the High School South orchestra matched that level of musicianship during parts of the concert. His letter to the choirs and orchestras received a week ago, while not citing that particular comment, is full of phrases that speak to the unique nature of what he (and others) heard, and his amazement at the quality of these students as both musicians and representatives of their school, state, and country. Not the normal thanks one receives after such a tour.

We in Mercer County (and contiguous counties) are spoiled by our area’s school talents, and sometimes, I believe, take them for granted. But let me be clear about this: in all of my tour experiences, I have never witnessed such a smooth, well-planned, incident-free tour by a high school group, start to finish.

What a credit to the parents and the schools of these students — and to the teachers who accompanied them as chaperones, another outstanding group that needs a nod. There were issues on this trip, handled quickly and decisively by the chaperones. The students helped one another many, many times with both financial needs when money was lost or not understood (it’s easy to spend British pounds like dollars, forgetting that each of them is worth $2.)

It was wonderful to have senior and tenor Eric Wisser from High School North sing with the South Choir, accompanying his parents who served as nurse and physician for the trip, a crucial need of any well-planned trip. The Wissers’ daughter is a member of the South choir. The choirs and a cappella groups were magnificent, amazing audiences from Glasgow to Edinburgh with their vocal prowess. The orchestra, as I have said, surpassed anything in the experience of anyone who heard them (and afterwards, as I have played cuts from the tour, blind, without attribution, to professionals in the business and they cannot even think of high school when listening).

Orchestra Director Jean Mauro scored the beginning of the Magnificent Seven because it was not part of the published score she received, but was in the movie’s sound track. She also arranged the entire last piece, a 12-minute sing-along medley of Scottish songs, to the absolute delight of audiences who clapped and sang boisterously under the direction of Choir Director Janice Chapin.

I am not exaggerating when I say that there were tears in the eyes of some audience members at Greyfriars. I could see them since I was embedded in the cello section next to a column where the only double quad power outlet existed in the Kirk, necessary for my recording equipment and the sound system.

Seldom in my experience have I been more proud of a group of high school students and their accomplishments, but the fact that it was two ensembles, both performing at a level far beyond their years was unique. The Princeton High School Choir’s performance Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at a Kostrama Cathedral in Russia in 1997 where liturgical singing had not been heard since 1920, reducing an entire congregation to tears, is perhaps my only other comparative moment.

This High School South Choir is every bit as good as that, and recording both was and is a privilege and honor.

Lest you think that this year was a “one-off,” you should know that South’s freshman Chorale and Strings competed this past month (their tour for the year) at the Azalea Festival in Williamsburg, Virginia, and both groups took Gold (the highest prize rating) and were named Grand Champions of the Festival, which means the South freshman ensembles beat all of the ensembles competing at the Festival, including full four-year high school concert choirs and orchestras!

It was, I am told, a total High School South awards ceremony. I’m not surprised. Regional administrators, the Board of Education, and the citizens of West Windsor-Plainsboro can and should take public pride in your student’s accomplishments both academically and artistically alike in every school in the system. As an outsider who has the extreme pleasure of working with these students, albeit in only one category, I never ceased to be amazed, and never hold back in “singing” their praises, as I’ve done here. Congratulations, and thanks.

John C. Baker

President and Founder,

Affetto Recordings LLC,

John C. Baker Recordings LLC

Sarnoff

Open House

I want to thank you for publicizing our recent evening looking and listening back on RCA’s electronic music synthesizer, and the Saturday open house with the remarkable Kip Rosser and his theremin. Over 130 people — engineers, musicians, and the general public — turned out to see and hear the music of the 1955 device that could play “any sound you could imagine,” and learn about RCA’s business motive, technological approach, and compositions. In the latter case, the estimable Pulitzer Prize winner Milton Babbitt put the device’s sounds in a warm and thoughtful perspective, based on his own experiences using the synthesizer, which set the standard for later, more familiar models.

Another 100 people of all ages appeared to have their radios repaired, learn about and hear the only hands-off musical instrument, and see the exhibits that document David Sarnoff’s remarkable career and the stream of electronic technologies that he championed through RCA and its Princeton laboratories. We hope you and your readers will attend our next open house on Saturday, July 16, and our contribution to “Celebrate New Jersey” month (http://www.aboutnewjersey.com/CelebrateNJ/index.php). On June 15 at 7:30pm in Sarnoff Corporation’s Auditorium, I will give an illustrated talk on “Five Princeton Technologies That Changed the World.” The state and our part of it have much to be proud of and build on for an evermore technological future.

Alexander B. Magoun, Ph.D.

Executive Director,

David Sarnoff Library

Community Help For Autism:

On behalf of the Eden Family of Services, and the individuals with autism whom Eden serves, I want to extend heartfelt thanks for the generosity of our community. April was National Autism Awareness month and on April 17 Eden held its second annual Eden Family 5K Race and one-mile Fun Run and raised a record breaking $45,"000 in proceeds.

A special thanks to Jerry Fennelly, who served once again as race director and provided support in numerous ways; our primary corporate sponsors, NAI Fennelly and the Doral Forrestal Conference Center & Spa; our gold sponsors Sanofi-Aventis and SES Americom; the 20 additional companies who provided major sponsorship support; and the many individuals and businesses that contributed goods and services to our event.

We are deeply grateful to the dedicated Eden Family 5K steering committee that helped plan and organize this outstanding event; the many volunteers, without whom, this event would not be possible; and to the nearly 600 walkers and runners who participated in the race. The funds raised from the race will help Eden continue its mission of providing community-based lifespan services to children and adults with autism and their families.

Thomas P. McCool, Ed.D.

President & CEO,

The Eden Institute

Stroller Strides

We just wanted to send you a big “Thank You” for the wonderful article about Stroller Strides that ran in the April 29 issue of the WWP News. We’re anticipating a wonderfully popular grand opening this Friday as a result. We truly appreciate the support that you’ve given us.

Jennifer Cheng and Joann Messina

Managing Moms,

J and J Family Fitness L.L.C.

Thanks For

Arts Coverage

Thank you so much for publishing the photo and news item regarding the upcoming concerts of my daughters, Emiko and Marisa (The News, April 1). The conductor is very thankful and Marisa is certainly thrilled. Thank you for your paper’s continuing and unwavering support of all local talent.

Mark H. Edwards

West Windsor