A Trip to Albert Music Hall



Last night I visited Albert Music Hall in Waretown for the first time. I found the atmosphere informal, civil, and the music performances very good as I did the occasional bits of humor.

It was a real Pinelands experience, from the drive through the woods along route 539 from Allentown, New Jersey to route 72 to route 532 to the hall, which was a bit inconpicuous, as were other buildings such as a school, standing back from the road on the outskirts of Waretown. The sign that indicated that travelers had passed Albert music hall by 300 and some feet is necessary as it is noticable, as I had to turn around. I suspected I was close, as the Albert Music Hall's website indicated that is was 1/4 mile above route 9 on route 532.

I arrived when the doors opened at 6:30, an hour before showtime, and bought some refreshments. As I suspected, the food was not quite what I would normally call dinner, but I eat too much anyway. The hotdog (the only non dessert item) was very good as was the coffee and the lemon marangue pie. The entrance fee, at $4.00 a head was very reasonable as were the cost of refreshments. I left at intermission, as I wasn't up to begin an hour to hour and 1/2 drive back home at 11:30 p.m.

There was a variety of accoustial music, mostly songs with some instrimentals -- county, old time, bluegrass, and blues. Old folks songs as well as a unique version of a couple of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan songs were performed. In the Bob Dylan song, the singer emulated Dylan's accent well. The rhythm guitars as well as the occasional bass fiddle, who accompanied more than one group, kept the beat well without sounding monotonous. The occasional bango was quite lively, upbeat. During the slower numbers, the bass fiddle player plucked the fiddle as smootly as if he were using a bow.

I found the people that night seemed somewhat reserved but I found were quite friendly after I sat down for awhile at the "eating" table. One gentleman there proudly showed me the signs he had made. Another, who had worked come to the hall after working a long day, had some American Indian ancestry. He lived in a house that someone in the family had built more than 100 years ago.

On the walls in the outside the concert hall were memorabilia about Albert Hall and the general area.

Albert Music Hall seemed to be a place were the real, native Pinelands culture is preserved. From the opening with the National Anthem, song by county/folk singers, I could see that Albert Music Hall reflected a piece of the real Americana.