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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jun 08, 2020

Local Businesses and People Bringing Joy to Monmouth County Residents

By Claudia M. Greenhut

James Maddock

What do a former Rockette, restaurant owner, winery and musician have in common? They’re all bringing joy to Monmouth County residents – well, virtual joy that is.

Here are a few of the things that have brought me some solace and joy during this unprecedented time of uncertainty. I hope they can do the same for you.


Streaming Concert by Musician James Maddock

For musician James Maddock, “No gigs means no income. Some musicians have day jobs or side gigs. Many do not, so it’s a very uncertain time, especially as no one knows when this will end. Without a tried and tested vaccine, I wonder if we will ever do gigs the old way again. I miss the camaraderie, I miss my band mates, and I miss seeing the fans and friends.”

Maddock streamed his first concert on May 3 through Facebook Live. Fans were encouraged to support the artist with a donation via Paypal or Venmo.

“I love seeing the comments and seeing people reconnect,” Maddock said of his first streaming concert. “There’s a community of people who love music, and to see their faces and comments to each other is lovely.”

Maddock’s music has brought me joy for more than a decade. These virtual shows have given fans like me a way to get their live music fix and support musicians when traditional concerts aren’t on the horizon any time soon.

You can check out Maddock’s latest album “If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” on iTunes. You can also sign up for his next streaming concert by signing up for an alert on


Pilates Blast at Home

For Dani Rubin, owner of Pilates Blast in Red Bank, closing her business was daunting. Like other small business owners, she worried about the livelihood of her studio and the well-being of her clients.

Prior to owning blast, Rubin was a NYC Rockette for more than 10 years. On a mission to maintain her fitness level, she discovered she could achieve this through Pilates. When quarantine began, Rubin said she felt an overwhelming need to connect with the community, many of whom she considers family.

“I see these people more than I see most of my friends,” she said. “They are like family to me.”

Responding to several requests to keep classes going somehow, Rubin launched her first virtual Pilates course via Instagram on March 17, with 300 participants. Over the past few months, 53 virtual classes have taken place.

“One of my long-time supporters, who hasn’t been able to see her grandchildren, says these classes have given her a sense of connection and have kept her focused and balanced during this stressful time.” Phone calls like this, Rubin said, have given her “the confidence and drive to forge forward and keep figuring it out. If it were affecting even one person positively, it was worth it.”

While plans for in-person classes are in the works for life after COVID, Rubin promises virtual Pilates is here to stay. She has found that the flexibility it offers her clients is something they enjoy.

Virtual Pilates Blast classes

These classes have been my one constant in a sea of change and have helped me manage my wellness routine from home.


Virtual Seder

City Winery has also found success with streaming events. Its first streaming event, “The Downtown Seder” featured more than 20 artists, thinkers and entertainers who celebrated with an “an ancient dinner party that transcends religion and provokes new thinking in a world hungry for order.” Currently, it has more than 30,000 views on YouTube. The winery also held a Mother’s Day streaming concert, where 25 artists, including Joan Osborne, the Indigo Girls and Roseanne Cash, performed a two-hour concert. All the proceeds went to the United Nations Foundation for Sexual Assault. For future streaming shows by City Winery, visit


Rogers and Hammerstein – and Wine Sales

To adapt his business to the changing times, restauranteur and wine critic Vic Rallo started holding weekly wine stand sales outside his Rumson eatery, Undici. As a loyal patron, I have been receiving his regular emails, where he sends personal notes about how he and his family are coping during this time. In one of his recent emails, he recalled a trip to New York where he saw a Playbill Billboard in Times Square with the following Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics:


When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm

There’s a golden sky

And a sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Through your dreams

Be tossed and blown

Walk on walk on

With hope in your heart

And you will never walk alone


This email and these lyrics gave me reassurance that day that we aren’t alone in all of this and that there will be an end to the storm, someday. And, until the end of this storm, try to get (and give) some virtual joy.