The Commonwealth Club Open House is coming up on Thursday, September 5th. Doors open at 6pm and we encourage all members to not only attend this end of summer reunion, but to bring a friend who might be interested in joining our esteemed organization. We are really pushing to grow the membership this year, and the number of bowling teams as well, so look around your circle of friends and see who might make a nice addition to our unique social situation. Free food, free drink, fantastic company, so come on down!
The Club, inspired by the unwavering vision of Gimi Guistina, held a rare summer party this August, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. Three live bands alternated energetic sets, there was, as always, an abundance of self-catered gourmet food, as well as some deadly custom cocktails for the occasion. Almost 200 revelers came out for the latter day celebration of peace, love and understanding.
The commonwealth Club continued its dominance of the Montclair July 4th Parade with yet another first place prize for our hippy school bus float, created as an homage to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Kudos to the designers, builders and parade participants!
Summer Bowling had another remarkable run as the hit series of the season in this, it’s third year. The brainchild of Bert Vecchiarelli, the concept has been enthusiastically embraced every summer and this year was no exception.
Thanks to a growing number of talented kitchen jockeys, the Commonwealth Club is fast becoming known for our mouthwatering culinary-based events. In October, we held our 3rd annual BBQ Fest, which, again, was a tremendous success. January saw the return of our perennial favorite, The Italian Sunday Dinner (formerly, the Pasta Dinner), always a family favorite. The Super Bowl Party featured an extensive artesian taco bar with all of the fixin’s as well as Vinnie Tarney’s incredible ribs and the best queso I’ve had in a long, long while, courtesy of Doug Apicella. Cajun Night, is coming up on April 6th, and promises to be, as always, a feast for the senses, featuring jambalaya, and a mouthwatering myriad of Big Easy favorites. Upcoming on May 4th, will be the inaugural Lobster and Clam Bake, so stay tuned for details as they become available. We will cap off the year with our self-catered grilled steak extravaganza for the Annual Club Dinner. Bon Appetit!
The 2019 Karl Gabriel Scholarships were awarded to Montclair High seniors, Kelsey Kaelin-Panico and Willie Matthews. Kelsey will be attending Seton Hall University and Willie is headed to the University of Kansas.
The Club is initiating a new Community Action Initiative in an effort to get our members to be more actively involved in our communities. We have started to see results, holding our first event on Halloween, where member and professional photographer, Michael Stahl, held his traditional Costume Portrait Gallery at the Club. In exchange for a bag of groceries, children in costume get to have their portrait taken and the proceeds went to Toni’s Kitchen and Human Needs Food Pantry. The response was so great that each charity received over forty bags of groceries.
Just before thanksgiving, several members helped paint the kitchen at Toni’s, when a contractor bailed at the last minute. We held two benefits at the Club on the first weekend in March; on Friday, we continued our long history with the Montclair Ambulance Unit by hosting their Annual Benefit, which was a rousing success. On Sunday, we partnered with Melissa DiMarco to hold a follow up benefit for the Walnut Street Fire tenants, who were displaced after a fire destroyed their boarding home in November. This, too, was a big success, with live bands, raffles, silent auction and a great turnout. Look for more opportunities to get involved as we roll out this program over the next couple of months.
Located in the heart of Upper Montclair, the club is a great place for parties and events. Whether your invitations are going out to 25 — or 250 — consider the Commonwealth Club and its turn-of-the-century charm. After the most extensive renovations in its 115-year history, including a new air conditioning system, the club remains one of the best gathering options in the area. Come see for yourself.