Nonprofit showcases music of Washington’s era to today’s audience

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MORRISTOWN, NJ — In honor of Constitution Day, Montclair Early Music’s recorder and string ensemble, under the direction of Sandy Meltzer, brought history to life through music with a free performance on Sept. 17. Hosted by Morristown National Historical Park, singers and instrumentalists wowed an audience gathered in the Ford Mansion of the historical park. 

Narrator Milt Horowitz brought the audience along a 45-minute exploration and history of early American tunes. Performances included popular late–18th-century songs composed by William Billings, a relatively unknown composer, and Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. 

“From our perspective it was a hit,” Jude Pfister, Morristown National Historical Park’s chief of cultural resources, remarked after the ensemble concluded its 13-song program. 

A performance of Hopkinson’s “Toast to General Washington,” featuring MEM recorder students Maya Herrera-Shimokawa, Kimaya Sayles and Avi Weber, was a crowd favorite. MEM’s Recorder Challenge program offers free and low-cost music lessons to third and fourth graders. For more information, contact

Photos Courtesy of Stephanie Russo