PRINCETON — Piano players and vocalists performing opera, jazz, pop and more came together on Tuesday to start a 24-hour-music marathon against moving Westminster Choir College out of Princeton.

"It's going very well. We've had some really wonderful singers so far. It's been pretty exciting," Mickey Lazenby-Gast, of the Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College, said of the awareness event at the Nassau Presbyterian Church that started at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

"Our students who are coming over to sing or to perform have classes so they can't be here all the time. It's an in-and-out revolving door kind of thing," said Lazenby. The performers include students, staff, alumni and members of the community.

The Coalition is trying to keep the 439-student school that has been in Princeton since 1934 at its Walnut Lane location. Rider has proposed selling the property and moving the school to its main Lawrenceville campus as one way to reduce the school's deficit. No final decisions have been made.

"Today’s musical marathon showcases what’s best and most unique about Westminster Choir College," Rider spokesman Kristine Brown said. "As we’ve said before, we respect and appreciate everything that students, alumni and others are doing. Please know that we are listening and have heard everyone's concerns. We continue to ask the entire Rider community for their patience and understanding as the Board of Trustees works to make a fact-based decision in the coming months."

No money was being collected at the event and no protest signs displayed.

Over the last 90 years, Westminster Choir College choirs have performed with premier orchestras and conductors, welcoming the likes of Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Brown said "the Board will continue to evaluate the way we operate and explore all avenues and options to ensure a sustainable future for Rider University as a whole."

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

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