Trenton Makes Music: New project highlights city's musical history

EWING, N.J. (WPVI) -- You may know the saying: Trenton Makes, the World Takes.

Now, a new project is highlighting the music that Trenton makes.

Singer Sara Dash was born in Trenton and traveled the world as part of the group LaBelle, singing her heart out on that 70s megahit "Lady Marmalade."

She's back home now, returning to her roots and recording a theme song for a new website called

"I have a dream to let people know that in spite of what is going on in the city, there's some good things that have come out of Trenton, New Jersey," said Sarah Dash, singer.

The Trenton Makes Music website started at the College of New Jersey in Ewing where students are documenting Trenton's long history of classical, jazz, R&B, rock and roll, punk rock and beyond.

"It was a place where people like Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey and Jean Amora or Kool & The Gang would stop on the way between Philadelphia and New York," said Trenton Makes Music Director Kim Pearson. "Adam Blackstone, who's Justin Timberlake's music director, is from Trenton."

With memories fading, and so many stories to tell, people involved in the project are eager to archive Trenton's musical past and keep it alive.

"I thought it would be a great way to learn more about music in Trenton cause who knew there was such a rich history and diverse history of music?" said Jillian Festa, student.

Venues like City Gardens are abandoned now, but through oral histories, recordings, pictures and podcasts, creators hope to emphasize the positive about Trenton.

"There's been a lot of socioeconomic troubles in Trenton, and we are trying to turn that story on its head and talk about the rich, musical legacy here in the city," said Teresa Nakra, TCNJ Associate Professor.

And hope that will be a platform to encourage conversation across neighborhoods, genres and even generations.
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