December 31, 2012 marks the 21st year for First Night in Morris County, New Jersey’s biggest and brightest New Year’s Eve non-alcoholic celebration of the arts – with nearly 300 artists, 80 events in 24 venues – representing dance, drama, music, visual arts and children’s events.

For all 21 years, the Arts Council of the Morris Area has served as First Night’s artistic programmer, researching and securing topflight performers who routinely attract 5,000-10,000 people from throughout the state and beyond. This year’s program features nearly 70% new artists (or artists returning after several years), many of whom have played the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, and similarly top venues. In one night, you can hear 5-time Grammy nominee and roots/bluegrass wonder, Cia Cherryholmes, with Stetson Adkisson direct from Nashville or check out our star-studded jazz lineup which includes trumpeter Warren Vaché, Boardwalk Empire clarinetist Dan Levinson, Rio Clemente, Grover Kemble as well as guitar “gods” – the legendary Bucky Pizzarelli, a special guest with the fabulous Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo.

Rock the house with The British Invasion Tribute who opened for Ringo Starr, played with Eric Clapton and offer the best of American and British classic 60s rock.

World cultures intrigue you? You can hear tabla and sitar music of North India (The Kolkota Duo), music, dance (and costumes) of Russia (Barynya) and the unique combination of tap dancing with West African dance and drumming (Féraba). Burn up the floors with Colombia’s steamy Salsaoco, savor the passionate klezmer music of the David Glukh’s virtuosic ensemble or channel Bob Marley’s Caribbean vibe with Random Test Reggae.

Love classical music? Catch Laryssa Krupa’s Nova Chamber Ensemble, Harmonium Choral Society, the New Philharmonic of NJ chamber orchestra, or the talented young pianists, Ana Gligvashvili and James Rosenblum.

Prefer your classical music with a twist? The Sweet Plantain Quartet blends Beethoven, Bach, blues, Latin, jazz and rap, while marimba player Greg Giannascoli’s blinding virtuosity astounds and prizewinning WindSync charms with its simultaneous acting/playing Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf. L-R: The Kolkata Duo (N. Indian tabla and sitar); Jazz guitar wizards, Vinny Raniolo and Frank Vignola; Jazz trumpet legend, Warren Vaché; The David Glukh International Ensemble (Fusion and Klezmer); The Sweet Plantain Quartet (Classical,rap, Latin, blues and jazz); and WindSync.

Theatre more your thing? Watch renowned master of mime, Yass Hakoshima, or hear Titanic survivors’ touching stories (with the Travelling Literary Theatre). Laugh with comedian Moody McCarthy, enjoy Felicity Jones (Me Pluribus Unum), as she campaigns to become Queen of America, or let comic hypnotist Marshal Manlove coach you in speaking Martian.

A reptile show, a comic folk singer, a champion drum and bugle corps, the Battle of the Bands, the organist from Yankee Stadium, a flea circus, magicians, illusionists, early American music and old-time bluegrass will round out the offerings. Mix in 2 visual arts exhibits and 2 sets of fireworks and you have an unbeatable way to herald 2013!

One inexpensive admission (before Dec. 26: $20/ticket; 4 pack for $70) covers all events at First Night. Every venue is indoors and a free shuttle will take you to all locations.

For more information, the latest program updates, to volunteer or to purchase tickets, visit the First Night Morris County website at or call 973- 455-0708.