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An Evening of Poetry, Jazz and “Harp”Beats with Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise, Robert Pinsky, Digba Ogunbiyi Quartet and Gregory Schwartz

Tickets on sale May 13

Join us for an evening of an evening of Poetry, Jazz and “Harp”Beats featuring – Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise’s hip-hop poetry with bluesy beats supported by the harp, New Jersey native and former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s “PoemJazz” with a reading and performance of poems in concert with a variety of jazz improvisations. Also featured on the evening’s bill are the Digba Ogunbiyi Quartet playing original compositions that are deeply rooted in Ogunbiyi’s Nigeria roots, yet highly informed by his years of studying Jazz; and an opening set by Gregory Schwartz, former recipient of the Poet Laureate of Asbury Park award.

Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise
Since the 2018 release of “Higher Grounds,” their first album, Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise have brought their unique blend of hip-hop, soul and classical traditions to various communities. Releasing their highly anticipated second album “Ké m yōōnədé” (2021), Kuf and Christine’s music explores themes of unity, spirituality and the infinite possibility of creating a better world. They fuse hip-hop poetry with bluesy beats supported by the harp. And, you can dance to it. They recently have been featured on NPR Music and WHYY.  Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise offer motivational creative arts workshops and performances at various settings such as hospitals, schools and community centers. Their mission is to use the power of music, personal experience and empathetic relation to help individuals grow to meet their fullest potential.

Robert Pinsky
New Jersey native Robert Pinsky (United States Poet Laureate 1997-2000) has devised a collaborative program which showcases his two great passions: poetry and jazz. Pinsky presents the human voice — the reading and performance of poems – in concert with a variety of jazz improvisations. In PoemJazz, Pinsky’s rich and textured voice takes on a role like that of a horn or wind instrument in conversation with melody and rhythm, creating an exchange between the sounds of poetry and of music. “In jazz, as in poetry,” says Robert Pinsky, “there is always that play between what’s regular and what’s wild. That has always appealed to me.”  Robert Pinsky has performed with Grammy-winning pianist Laurance Hobgood and other celebrated jazz musicians, including Vijay Iyer, Ben Allison, Bobby Bradford, and Stan Strickland.

Digba Ogunbiyi Quartet
The Digba Ogunbiyi quartet is a musical group that consists of Drummer Chris Paredes, Bassist Bill Moring, Alto saxophonist Jalin Shiver and pianist Digba Ogunbiyi. The quartet which is led by Digba Ogunbiyi started while he was a student at the New Jersey City University. As a pianist from Nigeria, he is obsessed with exploring sounds that are informed by his childhood experiences in Lagos. This is evident in his 2020 debut album “Ade’digba” which has been described as a “sound of hope for the African jazz community. ”With his quartet, Digba stretches the boundaries of genre often playing original compositions that are deeply rooted in his roots yet highly informed by his years of studying Jazz.

Gregory Schwartz
Gregory Schwartz, a former recipient of the Poet Laureate of Asbury Park award (2007), has been a resident poet at the MC Skate & Surf Break contest and the 2010 Bamboozle Festival. He has also been featured on the front page of the Asbury Park Press (2002, 2009, 2012), appeared in Steve Forbert’s music video “Sandy” and is a writer for Asbury Park Vibes.

Roger McGuinn

As a co-founder of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn is firmly established as an indisputable industry icon. From his signature 12-string Rickenbacker sound, to his instantly recognizable vocals on hits like Turn, Turn, Turn, Eight Miles High and Mr. Tambourine Man, Roger McGuinn didn’t just make music; he made history.

Roger McGuinn was already a veteran of the New York and Los Angeles music scenes when he co-founded the group that would become the Byrds with Gene Clark and David Crosby in 1964. Prior to forming the Byrds, Roger toured and performed with the Limeliters, Chad Mitchell Trio and Bobby Darin as a guitarist and banjo player. He was also the musical director on Judy Collins #3. In 1973, the legendary Byrds disbanded and Roger McGuinn went on to make five solo albums with Columbia Records, and continued to tour.

In 1995 Roger McGuinn began The Folk Den Project. He records and uploads a traditional Folk song to his website as an effort to preserve traditional songs. Each month a different song is added to the site accompanied with lyrics and chords for free download.

Today, Roger McGuinn offers shows that are as mesmerizing and magical as ever. He delivers the gift of an evening with a master that is as intimate as it is spellbinding. He’ll take you along a journey of story and song, populated by the “old friends” you expect to hear, as well as new acquaintances from the folk music that Roger so passionately embraces. This Grammy Award-winning artist tours the world delighting audiences with the songs and stories from his long and continually productive musical career.

Robert Klein

Robert Klein is a pioneer in modern stand-up comedy who has inspired heavyweights like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. For more than forty years, he has entertained audiences, and he continues to have an acclaimed career in comedy, on Broadway, on television, and in film. Born in the Bronx, he was a member of the famed “Second City” theatrical troupe in Chicago. Robert has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards for “Best Comedy Album of the Year” for his albums “Child of the Fifties” and “Mind Over Matter.”

In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on Home Box Office. He has gone on to do nine one-man shows for HBO and received his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music and Lyrics in 2001 for Robert Klein: “Child in His 50’s.”

His most recent special for HBO, “Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced”  earned him a second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Currently, he can be seen on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where he is a show favorite, and on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Opening Act: Max Adolf ’22 & Jenaé Louis-Jacques ’23

My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy!

Prior to purchasing tickets please review our COVID-19 Safety Measures and Policies.

Starring the author and Broadway star of the show, Steve Solomon. This show has now become one of the longest running one-man comedies in history! The show just celebrated its four thousandth performance.

In My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy! – using dialects, accents and sound effect, Steve brings to the stage dozens of wild characters we all relate to; all brought to life by Steve’s comedy magic. His four shows have had audiences in three countries guffawing since 2003. Almost one million people have seen his shows. The audience follows along on this wonderfully funny journey about growing up, mixed marriages, ex-wives, dogs, cats, dieting, and dozens of other side-splitting situations we can all relate to.

You don’t have to be Italian or Jewish to love Steve Solomon — all you need to know is what it’s like to leave a family dinner with heartburn and a headache. Prepare to laugh until you cry as Steve brings to life over twenty wacky characters in a show that’s one part lasagna, one part kreplach and two parts Prozac.


Prior to purchasing tickets please review our COVID-19 Safety Measures and Policies.

Michael Feinstein has built a  dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five GRAMMY® Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas from Concord Records. The CD features Grammy Award -winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole). Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook,” the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” written and directed by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry aired in 2014.  For his nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels,” Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded. Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

For more information, please visit

Sam Cusumano

Join us for a virtual Arts-Engineering talk/performance/workshop with Sam Cusumano. Cusumano is an Engineer for the Arts living in Philadelphia working with students, artists, musicians, and curators to create educational interactive electronic devices and installations. As part of his creative practice, he has connected plants and fungi with synthesizers to make music. Biodata Sonification is the process of representing invisible changes in plants to create music. By detecting microcurrent fluctuations across the surface of a plant’s leaf, these changes are used to generate MIDI notes which can be played through a synthesizer or computer to create sound. In this virtual presentation Sam Cusumano will explain methods used to tap into the secret life of plants, showing how to translate data for making music, and discuss the implications of interpreting biodata. Audio examples of Biodata Sonification will be performed live using analog synthesizers, digital audio workstations, and synth apps along with a Snake Plant, large Monstera, and various Cacti.

When you register you will be provided the meeting link to join the conversation.

Free and open to the public, but registration is required.

This event is being recorded for educational and archival purposes and it may be posted on our website. By participating in this presentation, you give permission for Monmouth University to record the presentation for University purposes. You understand that your name, likeness, voice and statements may be recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, a recording of this presentation will later be available upon request, and you can contact Amanda Stojanov, Assistant Professor of Digital Media ( with any questions you may have regarding the presentation.

Atlantics Virtual Panel Discussion

Join us for a World Cinema Series zoom discussion illuminating the theme “Living on the Edge: Displacement, Identity, and Resilience” by analyzing the message and impact of the 2019 film, Atlantics.

Atlantics (French: Atlantique) is a internationally co-produced supernatural romantic drama film directed by Mati Diop, in her feature directorial debut. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Diop made history when the film premiered at Cannes, becoming the first Black woman to direct a film featured in competition at the festival.

The film is centered around a young woman, Ada, and her partner, Souleiman, struggling in the face of employment, class, migration, crime, family struggles, and ghosts. Working mostly with unknown actors, Diop focused in the film on issues such as the refugee crisis, remorse, loss, grief, class struggle, and taking responsibility (or not) of one’s actions. The Atlantic Ocean is used in many ways throughout the film, including as a symbol and engine for change, growth, life, and death.

The discussion of the film will be led by Dr. Julius Adekunle, Professor in the department of History and Anthropology and Dr. Lisa Vetere, Associate Professor in the department of English.

The film is available for streaming on Netflix.

When you register you will be provided the meeting link to join the conversation.

Free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Sin Nombre – Virtual Panel Discussion

Join us for a World Cinema Series zoom discussion illuminating the theme “Living on the Edge: Displacement, Identity, and Resilience” by analyzing the message and impact of the 2009 film, Sin Nombre.

Sin nombre (English: “Nameless”) is a Mexican-American adventure thriller film written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, about a Honduran girl trying to immigrate to the United States, and a boy caught up in the violence of gang life.

The discussion of the film will be led by Dr. Manuel Chavez, Lecturer and Director of Philosophy program; Dr. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature; and Chilean-American writer, playwright, actor, theater director and editor Gustavo Gac-Artigas.

The film is available for streaming on a number of platforms including Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, or iTunes (for rent or purchase).

When you register you will be provided the meeting link to join the conversation.

This event is part of Hispanic American Heritage Month

Special Edition Tuesday Night Record Club: Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising

During this special Thursday-night edition of Tuesday Night Record Club, host Ken Womack and guest Bob Santelli, GRAMMY Museum Founding Executive Director, and Monmouth ’73, mark the twentieth-anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that inspired one of Bruce’s most moving albums.

When you register you will be provided the ZOOM meeting link to join the conversation. Click here for more information on how to use zoom


Monmouth University Music & Arts Festival 2021

Entering its 2nd year on the virtual stage, this year’s Monmouth University Music & Arts Festival will feature members of the Garden State Philharmonic performing music from Civil War era Marches through Ragtime, Dixieland, and Jazz featuring music by composers George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, C.W. Handy, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. The festival will also highlight selections and solos from The Monmouth University Chamber Choir, a performance by the Blue Hawk House Band and a special reading by former United States Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Tretheway. The festival will premiere at 7:00 PM on July 1st and be available to view through July 31st. To receive the streaming link for the festival you will need to register.

The Monmouth University Music & Arts Festival is designed to provide Monmouth County communities and beyond, along with the students, faculty, and staff at Monmouth University, with the opportunity to enjoy a top-flight music and arts event each summer.

In 2022, we are looking forward to presenting a robust program of offerings as the festival will host its inaugural in-person event. Our university is the year-round home for working musicians and artists, not to mention scores of students honing their talents as instrumental and theatrical performers, visual artists, and arts administrators. With the Music and Arts Festival becoming a yearly tradition, we hope to attract nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians and other fine artists to our campus. Not only will they supplement our students’ arts education, they will be on site each summer to provide visitors with opportunities to experience premiere concerts and exhibitions right here on the Shore.


The Garden State Philharmonic – Brass Quintet and Percussion

Strike up the Band  – George Gershwin, arr. Holcombe

Signal March
  – G.W.E. Friederich

The Entertainer
– Scott Joplin arr. Arthur Frackenpohl

High Society –
Cole Porter,  arr. Luther Henderson

Beale Street Blues – C.W Handy, arr. Luther Henderson

Sweet Georgia Brown – Ben Bernie & Maceo Pinkard,  arr. Luther Henderson

It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing – Duke Ellington, arr. David Kosmyna

Sousa Stars and Stripes –  John Philip Sousa – Holcombe

The Monmouth University Chamber Choir

Steal Away – American Spiritual, arr. Gwyneth Walker

A Gershwin Jazz Trio – Words and music by Ira and George Gershwin, arr. Jay Althouse

  1. “Nice Work if you Can Get it.”
  2. “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
  3. “I Got Rhythm.”

Seasons of Love – Words and music Jonathan Larson, arr. Steve Zegree
Soloists:  Brynn Coy, Jordan Dilone, Tyler Oden, Kailey Rouse, David Wilderotter

Vocal Solos by Members of the Monmouth University Chamber and Concert Choirs

Shenandoah – American Folk Song, arr. Jay Althouse
Brynn Coy – soprano

Desperado – Eagles –
Samantha Jordan, mezzo soprano

She Used to Be Mine – from the Broadway musical “Waitress,” Sarah Barellies
Rachel Wilson, soprano

Wayfaring Stranger – American Spiritual, arr. Nick Garrett
Nick Garrett, guitar and voice

Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
Jenae Louis-Jacques, mezzo soprano

Run Away with Me – Words and music Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk
David Wilderotter, baritone

Cry Me a River – Arthur Hamilton
Georgette Abinader, mezzo soprano

Who I’d Be – from “Shrek the Musical,” Words and music David Lindsay- Abaire and Jeanine Tesori

Mitchell Hendricks, baritone, Mia Heim, mezzo soprano Jordan Dilone, tenor

Summertime – from the Opera “Porgy and Bess,” George Gershwin
Jenae Louis-Jacques, mezzo soprano

Somewhere Over a Rainbow – Words and music by Edgar Harburg and Harold Arlen, arr. Murray Cutter.
Kristen Wilczewski, soprano

Blue Hawk House Band
Cover version of “Freedom,” composed by John Lomax, Jonny Coffer, Alan Lomax, Frank Tirado, Dean McIntosh, Kendrick Lamar, Carla Marie & Beyoncé

Performance Groups:

Garden State Philharmonic – Brass Quintet and Percussion:
Diane Wittry – Music Director and Conductor
Michael Baker (Trumpet 1), Olivia Pidi (Trumpet 2), Karl Kramer-Johansen (Horn), Roger Verdi (Trombone), Wes Krygsman (Tuba), Gregory Landes (Percussion), Michael Avagliano (Score Reader)
For more information on the program and performers click here

Monmouth University Chamber Choir:
Dr. David Tripold, director,
Maggie Tripold, accompanist
Georgette Abinader; Kendall Brighton; Brynn Coy; Jordan Dilone; Mia Heim; Mitchell Hendricks; Arina Martin; Erin McGinniss; Tyler Oden; Lindsay Ploskonka; Delaney Rivera; Kailey Rouse; Nicholas Sewell; David Wilderotter; Rachel Wilson

Blue Hawk House Band
George Wurzbach, Director

Mani Kissling (vocals), Mark Rodriguez (Guitars/Keyboards,) Dee DiMeola (Drums), Max Adolf (Guitar), Michael Rabbits (Rap) Dillon Schindler (Keyboards) Sara Wojciehowski (Bass/producer), B. J. Biedebach (engineer)