When you’re putting together the listings for over a 100 holiday concerts you’re bound to make a few mistakes. We made at least one in last week’s “Sounds of the Season” issue. Keen-eyed reader Robin Reside, manager of human resources at Villeroy & Boch, has informed us that the Clay Aiken concert at the State Theater in New Brunswick (he’s the American Idol superstar) touted on the cover as a December 5 event is actually taking place on December 6. “But it’s right on the inside,” she said.
That was good news, we agreed, because the erroneous date printed was before — not after — the correct date. Nobody should miss a Clay Aiken concert.
Reside concurs. Her schedule has her attending Aiken’s December 13 concert in Morristown, when she hopes she will be one of the fans selected to come onstage to read aloud a holiday memory that the star will use to introduce a song. (His website invites submissions, fans will be notified a week before the concert date).
A few days later, driving north on Route 1, we saw a red Saturn with the plate CLAYAKN — and, thinking it might be a sign from the America Idol god — we had to know, was it Reside’s?
No, she says, but she is checking E-mail every day to see if her story is chosen. “I wrote about my grandfather, who died on Christmas Eve when I was four. I made a funny comment when my grandmother told me: ‘You mean he got to see Jesus on his birthday?’”
As of press time, there are still limited tickets available for the Thursday, December 6, Clay Aiken concert at the State. 732-246-7469.
Stan Kephart, RIP
Sadly, the November 30 cover of U.S. 1 — the one with the “Sounds of the Season” headline floating on a photo of the American Boychoir — marks the end of an era here at U.S. 1.
Artist Stan Kephart, who designed his first cover for U.S. 1 back in the late 1980s when we were still working out of Richard K. Rein’s house on Park Place and who was responsible for nearly every one of our covers since then, died on Sunday, December 2.
In addition to his work on our covers, Kephart also designed the logo that graces the beginning and end of our Preview section along with the designs of our annual Business Directory and wall calendar. The weekly covers, we suspect, were probably the greatest challenges. Some weeks we could offer Stan an array of dazzling photos to illustrate a story, sometimes we had nothing more than a staid head shot. Sometimes we did not even have a single cover story, but rather a collection of several stories, with a vague idea of a theme to tie them all together, and a plea: “Stan, can you come up with something?”
Kephart, ever the professional, would take it all in stride and come up with something — almost always within three or four hours or less of getting the assignment. Just two weeks ago, on November 21, we were pleasantly surprised to see Stan’s design for our cover story on Wellgen, a biotech company. The design featured a color headshot of the CEO among a field of vintage patent medicine labels.
In addition to his newspaper work, Stan was a fine artist with many gallery shows to his credit. He was also active as a volunteer prison chaplain and as a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, on Bayard Lane, Princeton, where he served in various capacities, most recently as First Reader. A photograph he took of the window of the Christian Science Reading Room on Nassau Street ended up as the July photo in our 2004 calendar.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Julia Kephart; daughter Jean Louise Kephart Cipriani, son-in-law Frank Cipriani, and their four children of South Toms River; and his sister Phyllis Kephart of Titusville and Somers Point; and many associates and friends. A memorial service will be Saturday, December 29 — details to be announced.