Tuesday, September 3, 2019


August was a busy month for the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, as they traveled around the Garden State to age related venues, bringing cheer to their constituents.

Lovely Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, was the featured performer in the Showcases.

On August 19th, QUEEN Debra was invited to attend the annual "Taste of the Quarter" food expo, sponsored by the United Way, at the Tropicana.

Chefs from all the restaurants at the Tropicana were on hand that evening, and they cooked their signature recipes, as hundreds of people looked on. QUEEN Debra was the Celebrity Chef, who was in charge of handing out the delicious desserts to the crowd.

Other NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB sisters were on hand to enjoy the evening: Leah Whelan/MSNJSA'11, Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and
Rebecca Orsatti/MSNJSA'10.

QUEEN Debra and Terry also were interviewed on WOND 1400 Radio that evening, at which time they promoted next year's MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT, and encouraged women over 60 to become contestants.

Meanwhile, Denise Ely, who came in first Runner Up in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019, was also in the news last month.

photo, courtesy Scott Wingerter
In August, Denise was invited to Red Bank City Hall, where she received a Proclamation of Achievement from Mayor Pasquale Menna and the City Council, for her title of 1st Runner Up. She felt especially thankful and blest, because it turned out that she was the first senior woman who has had a liver transplant to participate in the Pageant.  She spoke about her experience and encouraged the women who were present, to consider becoming contestants.  Scott Wingerter, online news Editor for TAP into Red Bank, interviewed Denise that evening.  On Audust 22nd, he published an in depth online article about Denise's extraordinary life.

Kudos to these 2 ladies for their tireless efforts to promote the positive aspects on aging.  They are great role models who represent the "age of elegance" beautifully.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


The June events of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB were reported in earlier posts.  With the exception of the 3rd quarterly meeting in July, the ladies took a well earned hiatus that month.  All, that is, except except for Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, and Denise Ely, first Runner Up. 

Besides parades, QUEEN Debra was a featued guest at the Renault Winery.  Donned in her crown and banner she danced the night away to the tunes spun by DJ Jerry Blavit.  During a break, he invited Debra to speak to the crowd about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT.

An article, about Denise Ely, which included photos, appeared in the New Jersey Journal on July 31st, written by Deidre Flanagan Ward.

In the article titled, "First Runner Up Is A Win/Win For Liver Transplant Recipient", she wrote that Denise set a precedent for being the first transplant to participate in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT.  A longtime volunteer for the NJ Sharing Network, Denise was thrilled to win 1st Runner up in this year's Pageant.  Ward's article also appeared on the NJ Journal's Facebook page.

The month of August brought the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB back onto the scene again.

On August 2nd, the Womens Club at Four Seasons in Lakewood invited the NJCC to entertain at their breakfast.  They opened the show with the "Motown" medley.  

Songstress Nancy Bassett shined brightly that morning, with a lively rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In".

Bartley Healthcare in Jackson, came next on August 7th.  QUEEN Debra got everyone rockin' and rollin' in their chairs, while Denise Mechan, NJCC Showcase Director, encouraged one resident to sing into the microphone.

Kudos to Joan Kaplan, a great "sister" and songstress, and member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakewood, who got the ladies invited to the Womens Club High Tea, on Saturday, August 10th.

Next, came Crestwood Manor in Whiting on August 12th.  Before beginning the program, NJCC Showcase Director Denise Mechan requested a moment of silence, in memory of deceased "sister" and resident Gloria Segal.

Renee Tompkins charmed the audience with a great rendition of "Our Love is Here To Stay".  She went down into the audience of 100 residents and encouraged them to sing along.

The final NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcase for the month, was Friday, August 16th, at the Terrace, Seacrest Village, in Little Egg Harbor.  The residents enjoyed the show, while sipping on mimosas, red wine, beer and h'ordeuves.  At the show's ending, they all seemed so relaxed and happy. Was it the entertainment or the libations?

Meanwhile, back to other August events of QUEEN Debra and other NJCC members.

To start off, Carolyn Slade Harden, MSNJSA & MSSSA 2017, attended the MS TEXAS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019, and was invited to perform.  She and 4 other National QUEENS sang the popular tune, "Sisters".  Unfortunately, they are not in the photo.

On August 2nd, QUEEN Debra and Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA'10, attended a production of "The Little Mermaid", in Margate, which was directed by Suzie Neustadter, MSNJSA'18.  Not included in the picture is another "sister", Dale Browndorf, 3rd Runner Up in this year's Pageant, who assisted backstage.

Ever wondered what an official Proclamation looks like?  This one came from the New Jersey General  Assembly, and was mailed to QUEEN Debra earlier this month.  The motion was sponsored by New Jersey State Assemblyman Ryan Peters, Republican, from District 8.  Each paragraph begins with "Whereas", etc., and ends with "Therefore", etc., is printed on parchment paper and encased in a stiff black border, which allows it to stand upright on its own.

There are more NJCC SHOWCASES still to come as the schedule remains full until the end of 2019. Here's wishing good health to the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, as they continue to spread their own brand of cheer to all they meet.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


The radio airways will come alive once again on Sunday morning, when the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB'S newest "sister" , will share her amazing story of how her life was saved by a miraculous gift. Denise Ely will be the guest of Shelli Sonstein, whose show airs on Q104.3 i Heart New York Radio, or on Sonstein Sessions podcast on the i Heart Radio app.  The show airs at 6:55 AM, and Denise's previously taped interview will begin at approximately 7:15 AM.

Denise shared her story onstage on June 5th, when she participated in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019, at Harrah's, where she came in 1st Runner Up in the competition.  She managed to explain in a 35 second Philosophy of Life speech, the importance of organ transplants to those who are dying of need.  She sang the song "I will Survive", for her Talent presentation, because the lyrics pertained to how she dealt with the disastrous diagnosis of a failing liver.  

Not only was she was saved by a liver transplant, but at age 52, she turned her life around and left Wall Street, went back to college and got a degree in nursing.   Since then, she has become an avid advocate for the need for organ transplant awareness, and has appeared on many TV and radio programs.

 pictures, courtesy Denise Ely
Denise and host Shelli Sonstein in the pretaped interview earlier this month.  In the interview, Denise mentioned her participation in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019.

Here is a better view of host Shelli Sonstein.  Another guest on her show was Eliss Glennon.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB claims 2 beautiful ladies as spokeswomen for the New Jersey Organ Sharing Network, Terry Meade, New Jersey State Executive Pageant Director, on behalf of her husband and our dear friend Mark, and Denise Ely on behalf of herself.  Thank you for the work that you do.


When the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB met on Thursday for their 3rd quarterly meeting at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge, little did they know of the afternoon's daunting agenda that awaited them.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, everyone enjoyed a lunch of sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit and cut melons and beverages, while the chatter of lively conversations filled the room.  Since the members come from all over the State, the chance to talk face to face with each other far exceeded talking by phone or texting.  In the background, the "Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebration" medley could be heard on the boombox, a subtle reminder of what the Grande Dames Chorus will be singing at next year's Pageant.

As noontime approached, President Carole tapped the gavel, and called the meeting to order, and announced that there was a very full agenda for the afternoon.  Secretary Leah read the minutes of the last meeting, Treasurer Becky gave her report, and then the Committee Reports followed.   All in all, the information was disseminated to the members in a clear, precise and need to know manner.

New Business came next and the first item was the update of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Constitution and By-Laws.  Each member received their copy, and it was read and aloud.   A short discussion followed regarding the need to update the by-laws in order to meet changing times and the CLUB'S current needs.  The membership approved the changes by a unanimous vote.

The second item was the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Code of Ethics.  President Carole explained to the members that it is standard practice for most clubs and organizations to have one, but the NJCC did not.  So, the Board appointed a committee to develop such a document.  Each member received 2 copies.  The item was read aloud, and a short discussion followed.   One copy was theirs to keep, and the other was signed, dated and returned to the board.  It was accepted by a unanimous vote by the membership.  Both documents will be mailed to the members who were not at the meeting.

QUEEN Debra spoke and gave thanks to all those who have been supportive of her.  She gave a gift to each Cameo sister to take home.  The Board presented her with gifts as well.

Terry Meades, New Jersey State Executive Pageant Director, showing smiles of approval, after QUEEN Debra received one of her gifts, an envelope with a check from NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Board.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB also honored the QUEENS COURT.  On your left is: Dale Browndorf/3rd RU; Donna King/2nd RU; QUEEN Debra; and Denise Ely/1st RU.

The QUEENS COURT gift was their special (and delicious) cake.  The filling had chocolate pudding.  YUM!

The CLUB also remembers and celebrates it members' birthdays.  These ladies birthdays fall during the summer months.  From your left are: Maria Crowell/September; Donna King/July; Nancy Bassett/July; Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA'08/July; Sherri McGhie, MSNJSA'15/August; Denise Mechan, NJCC Showcase Coordinator/July; Wenonah Brooks/July; Denise Ely/September; and Terry Meade/NJ State Pageant Executive Director/July.  What an impressive array of ageless beauties!   Diane Beebe/MSNJSA'14, who was on vacation, read this article, and informed this writer that her birthday is in September.

Their birthday cake was equally yummy and delicious.  The filling inside of this one was vanilla custard.  Jo Ann Gordon also brought her homemade desserts.

President Carole had a hard time adjourning the meeting because everyone busy eating cake.  Nonetheless, amid the talking and laughing, someone yelled "aye" and another seconded it!   Kudos to all who made the day memorable.

Friday, July 5, 2019


This summer has been sizzling on many fronts so far, particularly for Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, who has begun her year-long journey of appearances at different age related venues in The Garden State.  Despite their physical limitations, she got people up and moving at assisted living facilities last month.

At Brandywine Senior Living in Pennington, QUEEN DEBRA arrived in gym attire and performed her athletic routine.  Afterwards, she changed into a stunning blue gown, and gave some helpful hints on nutrition, and the importance of keeping healthy.

July began with 2 exciting events for this energetic senior QUEEN.  On Monday evening July 2nd, Dr. Debra met with the members of the Medford Township Town Council.

all photos, courtesy Terry Meade
  QUEEN Debra was  honored with a Proclamation of Achievement, which was presented to her by Mayor Charles Watson.  

QUEEN Debra gave a short but eloquent speech, thanking everyone who made this honor possible, explained what holding the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA meant to her, and about the value of all Senior Americans to our society.

For those who are curious, did you ever wonder what was written in these "proclamations?" Don't know if you can read it exactly, but each line begins with a "Whereas", written in red, on parchment paper, stamped with a gold seal with the town's emblem, and mounted in a folder. 

After the meeting, there were opportunities for a photo op with those in attendance.  Medford Township Chief of Police, Richard Meder wished Dr. Debra well and was happy to pose for the paparazzi.

Some "sisters" from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, were also on hand to support QUEEN Debra.  From your left to right are:  Leah Whelan/MSNJSA'11; Terry Meade/MSNJSA Executive State Pageant Director; QUEEN Debra/MSNJSA'19; Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA'10; Carol Lelli/President NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB; and Denise Mechan/NJCC SHOWCASE Coordinator.

Family and friends were also in attendance to celebrate Dr. Debra's recognition.  This group included: her children, grandchildren, siblings, a mother-in-law and friends.

In the meantime, QUEEN Debra also received letters of recognition and congratulations from Governor Phil Murphy and Cory Booker, US Senator from New Jersey.

QUEEN Debra participated in the Smithville 4th of July Parade yesterday.  Although it was hot, "mother nature" provided a picture perfect day for the annual event in Galloway Township.

all photos courtesy family of QUEEN Debra
The QUEEN on the parade route and in action as she shows her sparkling shoe!  She is chaperoned by Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA'10.

Many Veteran groups marched and Debra posed in several pictures.  This one was with the Marine Corps Veterans.

Many high school bands were on hand also, who provided lively tunes as they marched.  Dr. Debra found one such group warming up in the parking lot, the Absecam High School Band, from Galloway Township.

The Knights of Columbus were happy to oblige QUEEN Debra as they awaited their turn to enter the parade route.

All sorts of groups were there, including these bikers.
QUEEN Debra literally left no one out.  While waiting for the parade to start, she went into the building where the temporary medical emergency facility was set up, and said hello to the staff.  She found a nurse colleague, who was more than happy to smile for the camera.  The little girl forgot her troubles for a second and did the same.

QUEEN Debra has just begun her reign, and from the looks of things, she seems to be enjoying every moment of it.  Kudos to a job well done so far!

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Our four envoys promoted the positive aspects on aging very well.  Dr. Thelma Witherspoon  attended this year's Pageant and was very impressed at what she saw, and  she made her views known on this morning's show.   Kudos to all!

The Age of Elegance was the subject of an interview on the show, "In The Community", hosted by Dr. Thelma Witherspoon.  The broadcast aired at 9:00  AM this morning on WEHA radio 88.7 FM and 100.3 FM in Atlantic City.  She and 4 invited guests spent a lively hour talking about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT  and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

On hand for the discussion were: Terry Meade, Executive State Pageant Director, Rebecca Orsatti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2010, and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Treasurer; Denise Mechan, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcase Director; and Donna King, 2019 Contestant and 2nd Runner Up.  The ladies explained most eloquently and clearly every facet of the 2 organizations, and  Donna King shared her experiences as a contestant.  During the show Thelma asked Becky to entertain the listening audience, and she gave a sample of "Don't Rain on My Parade".

For those who missed it, the interview was also streamed live, and can be viewed anytime by clicking this website: www.wehavegospel.com.  Once on their homepage, click on the f icon, which will take you to their Facebook page, and then click on the video thumbnail.

The ladies were great examples of life after 60, that a Pageant exists especially for them, and they encouraged women in the listening audience to get "out of the rocking chair and onto the runway".

To learn more about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT,  please visit their website: www.newjerseyseniorameria.org, and www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.blogspot.com.

Thursday, June 20, 2019


The fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB were out in full regalia to volunteer for a worthwhile cause, and combined their talents with the Applaud Our Kids Foundation to help raise money for their scholarship program.  The evening show was held at the Laurita Winery in New Egypt, on Thursday, June 14th.  The two groups gave a two hour show of great music from Broadway, movies, and the classics.  Each performer was unique in their own vocal style and song delivery, and the audience appreciation ranged from generous applause to standing ovations.

Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, rocked the house with her dance routine.  Although she is not in this photo, the results of her routine are highly visible.  She went out into the audience and encouraged everyone to dance.  Many from six to ninety plus, came up to the stage to clap, bump and grind, showing off their own individual styles.

The GRANDE DAMES CHORUS is a benefit that is open to the members of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO, who like to sing.  It was formed in 2008, and is under the direction of Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07.  They opened the second half of the show with, "With Love, From Motown",  a 3 song medley which included: Baby Love, Where Did Our Love Go?, and Stop! In the Name of Love.   

The finale of the evening was when the 2 groups teamed together and performed "Broadway Blockbusters", a 5 song medley which included: "One", from A Chorus Line; theme song from Beauty and the Beast, "Tradition", from Fiddler on the Roof'; "Sun and Moon", from Miss Saigon; and "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables.

As the medley ended, both groups joined hands together, and proudly received a standing ovation for their stirring performance.

Much hugging, kissing and handshaking occured after the show, followed by a photo op by parents and well wishers.  It was a night to remember, a great way to bridge the generational gap, and to be of service to such talented children.