Ocean Grove, N.J. and Ocean Grove, Victoria, Australia, do not have the same name by accident. Both were founded as Methodist camp meeting cities in the 1800s.
Saxophonist Eddie Manion, a longtime pillar of the Jersey shore music scene, will be featured in fund-raising concerts for the Jersey-based Light of Day organization – which raises money for the fight against Parkinson’s Disease — in the Australian city, July 22-23. To honor the occasion, he and filmmaker Ryan Celli have released a short film, “Hello, Ocean Grove, Victoria, From Ocean Grove, NJ” (viewable below).
It features a medley of “Amazing Grace” and Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come,” performed by Manion, on the Ocean Grove, N.J. beach, and by Manion and other musicians — including Joe Grushecky, whose band The Houserockers Manion currently plays in — at the Monmouth County town’s St. Paul’s UMC Church, in April. Also included are messages from Light of Day founder Bob Benjamin and other Light of Day board members and local dignitaries.
“Hello, Ocean Grove!,” St. Paul’s parishioners call out in unison, at the start of the film.
Manion will also be making an appearance in an Australian church as part of his trip.
Before performing at the Ocean Grove church in April, he told attendees:
I would like to capture our spirit and God’s spirit here today on film today while playing “Amazing Grace” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and take this video with me to Ocean Grove, Victoria, along with letters and proclamations from St Paul’s Church, officials from Ocean Grove and Neptune Township and the people of Ocean Grove, N.J. Once in Ocean Grove, Victoria, I’d like to repeat this at my show for LOD Australia and bring back a similar video of a performance with letters from the people of Ocean Grove, Victoria, for you all to see.
It is my hope that this video and message of goodwill will begin a long exchange between the two sister cities. The possibilities are endless.
Manion was inspired to record “Amazing Grace” for his 2015 solo album Nightlife after the racially motivated mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015.
“I was thinking about how much grace the family members had in response to what happened,” he told NJArts.net when the album was released. “It was really their faith that got them through that. The grace of their faith.”
For information about Nightlife, visit eddiemanion.com.
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