LAWRENCEVILLE -- The effort to keep Westminster Choir College at its longtime Princeton location continues with a unique music marathon on Tuesday.

Rider University has proposed moving Westminster, which was founded in 1926, to its main Lawrenceville campus as one way to help close a potential multi-million dollar budget gap.

A coalition of patrons, alumni, friends, students, parents and staff have organized to protest the proposal and made their case before the Princeton Historical Preservation Society to be preserved as a historical site, to remain the "viable and vibrant institution that it is," according to Mickey Lazenby-Gast, a former Rider trustee and Westminster graduate.

The group will bring more attention to their cause with a 24-hour music marathon starting Tuesday at 11 a.m. featuring performances by choir singers and other performers from throughout the New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia areas at the Nassau Presbyterian Church on Nassau Street in Princeton.

"We're not going to be carrying any placards or signs or protesting. We're going to have music, which is what we're all about," Lazenby-Gast said. "It's simply to make a statement that we're making beautiful music, it's important to our souls, our beings and it's important that our campus remain where it is because we live in community at that campus. It's a musical state of our case."

Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown said that the school's Board of Trustees commissioned this study to determine the feasibility of a one-campus model, with the goal of becoming a stronger and more robust institution.

"We continue to evaluate the way we operate and explore all avenues and options to ensure a sustainable future for Rider University as a whole," she said. "To be clear, no final decisions have been made. We appreciate the passion and emotion involved. We thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding as the Board works to make a fact-based decision in the coming months."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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