By Evie Task ~
Music Saved Asbury Park. It’s true—and you’ve probably seen the slogan on t-shirts, hats, and other merchandise, but did you know that these items (and others) are sold to benefit the Asbury Park Music Foundation in support of the organization’s youth music education programs?
As the official holiday shopping season kicks off, APMF offers a variety of items that make great gifts and stocking stuffers (or shh…even a little something for yourself). In addition to a selection of shirts for kids and adults and special treats for your pets, some new items have been added, including campfire mugs and ornaments.
Want to learn more about the history of the music scene in AP? There’s a paperback for the readers and historians on your list!
APMF will be at the Asbury Fresh ‘Makers’ Market this Saturday from 11-3 and again on Dec. 12th and Dec. 19th if you’d like to shop in person (with a mask on, of course), or you can purchase items on the
APMF website: https://AsburyParkMusicLives.org/shop from the comfort of home.
The history of Asbury Park’s music scene is a storied one, going back to the days when musicians filled the resort town’s enormous hotels. Many bands, when traveling between NYC and Philadelphia, would also stop off in the area for scheduled performances as well as jam sessions with their fellow musicians here at the Shore.
APMF was founded in 2011, following Asbury Park’s selection as the first host city for the Smithsonian Institute’s traveling musical heritage exhibit, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.” In a 4-week period, more than 14,000 visitors enjoyed the exhibit, including 48 class trips from area elementary and secondary schools. This event marked the launch of a yearlong celebration of Asbury Park’s musical heritage—all at a time when the City was NOT the hot spot that it is today.
A group of dedicated volunteers recognized that the celebration kicked off by the Smithsonian needed to continue for years to come; thus, the Asbury Park Music Foundation was created. Its original mission was to preserve, exhibit and promote the City of Asbury Park’s rich musical heritage – past, present and future – and to contribute to the City’s revitalization by securing Asbury Park as a musical destination. Thanks to a gift from Bruce Springsteen, in 2012, APMF was awarded a 3-year, $100,000 grant given by the Monmouth County Arts Council to support local music in Asbury Park. With this grant and the support of local businesses, the Foundation was able to open an exhibit and performance space on Cookman Avenue, named Where Music Lives.
In 2013, APMF launched a Youth Initiative Program, and in 2015, the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival https://apmff.org was created in partnership with the Asbury Park Press. The Festival continues to serve as one of the Foundation’s primary sources of annual funding.
In 2016, regularly scheduled live music returned to the west side of Asbury Park with the summer Music Mondays series at Springwood Park. The series continues, featuring young bands, local, and nationally known musicians, and draws throngs of residents from all over the city.
Today, the challenges faced by APMF continue as the majority of APMF programs for underserved youth in Asbury Park have temporarily moved online. In a year when after-school programs have been canceled due to the pandemic, APMF music education and virtual programming continues with the commitment and dedication of volunteers, staff, and community partners. The goal is to remain a stable force in the lives of kids who are now out of their normal routines and dealing with additional socio-economic issues such as food insecurity and parents or guardians who have lost employment due to the pandemic.
Believe it or not, the sales of those t-shirts and other merchandise really do help.
So shop for a great cause this holiday season https://AsburyParkMusicLives.org/shop and share the message that Music Saved Asbury Park!