Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB MOURNS THE DEATH OF A PAST QUEEN

 

Hearts were heavy with sadness when the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB learned of the sudden passing of Rebecca Orsatti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2010, on Tuesday, October 7th.  To make matters worse, it was also announced that funeral services would be private, due to the global pandemic and public health concerns.  Services were held today at Holy Cross Cemetary, and Johanne Santori, Chairman/Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC. announced that she was the only one outside the family allowed to attend.  A celebration of Becky's life and legacy are on hold for the present, and plans by the family are forthcoming.

             file photos, courtesy either Sherri McGhie and/or Terry Meade

During the past week there were many Facebook notifications, in remembrance of Becky, by her "sisters"  in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, who recalled the good times they shared with her over the years. It all began in the year 2010.  Although she lost her beloved husband Arnold that year, Becky Bobbins Orsatti found the courage to compete in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2010, and won the title.

 

 
Born and raised in Atlantic City, Becky knew from an early age that she was destined to sing and perform.  Over the years, she realized her dream of a professional singing career, and appeared in New York City, Las Vegas, and California, to name a few.  At home in Atlantic City, she became a familiar performer in night clubs, and casinos, and at  MISS AMERICA PAGEANTS.
 
The NEW JERSEY ALL-STAR DANCERS, is a lively group that performs a variety of dance styles from tap to jazz, and  Becky was a founding member of the group.  One year, they did a western routine at a MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT. 
 
Becky sang alto with the GRANDE DAMES CHORUS, a group that also performs at MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANTS,
 
and with the QUEENS CHOIR, that performs at MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANTS.
 

Membership in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is by invitation only.   In order to join, a woman must have been a contestant in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT.  As the winner in 2010, QUEEN Becky accepted the invitation.  She served as Treasurer for more than 8 years.  The last Christmas party in 2019, was great fun, and Becky was such a fun loving person to be with.
 
Special friends sat together at the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019 Ruby Ball, when they were not on the dance floor.  Becky and buddies, Johanne Santori/'06, Jo Ann Gordon/'08 and Josephine Araniti/'07 smiled for a photo op.  The ladies celebrated the health of Johanne and her victory over a serious illness. 
 
These girlz just want to have fun!  Becky and the girls rocked the night away.  She was glamorous and always brought life to the party.
 
Becky will be remembered as one who had a true impact on those around her.  Her smile let you know that she was there to support you when you needed her.  She was kind and loving to those she cared for, and the first one to protect her friends from gossip.  This past year, you spoke often about your wish to be with your beloved husband Arnie.  God granted your wish. Your time has come, and now, you can finally be happy and rest in peace!

Monday, September 21, 2020

MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019 REALIZES HER PLATFORM AGAIN IN 2020

 

The main goal of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, a non profit 501c3 organization, is for its Queens and members to be of service to the community.  Whereas the PAGEANT occurs once a year, and is for the purpose of crowning a new QUEEN, the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is the service wing, and has ongoing activities for its members all year long.

 

Each year, the Queen gets to realize her specific platform and its implementation during the year of her reign. Last year, Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, found a worthy organization to participate in and to volunteer for, the WOUNDED WARRIOR WEEK project.  Due to the coronavirus, the 2020 PAGEANT was canceled.  Debra was chosen to continue to represent the State of New Jersey during 2020.  She graciously agreed and continues to honor and to serve in matters concerning the PAGEANT organization.

The project started 9 years ago, by members of the American Legion Post #469, located in Longport, New Jersey.  Their goal is to give an all expenses paid one week vacation to an injured soldier and their  family in the City of Longport.  Each year, they work with the military to find a worthy wounded soldier from around the country to honor.  They encourage other groups to donate gifts as well.

The 9th annual Wounded Warrior Week 2020 began on Tuesday, September 15th and ends on the 22nd.  This year's recipient was SFC Richard Stayskal, who is a former member of the US Marine Corps and Green Beret. He and his wife and 2 daughters arrived last week from Florida, and the family has been enjoying the many activities planned for them, which included dinners at area restaurants, and special military-like ceremonies and receptions.

Stayskal served from 2001 to 2006, and was seriously wounded in Iraq.  After he recovered, he held numerous positions during his career.  He received both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his meritorious service.  Stayskal's health issues intensified in 2019, when he received a terminal diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.  He entered the Moffit Cancer in Florida, where he is undergoing immunotherapy.

The kickoff began last Tuesday, with a parade that started at the Ventnor shopping center, then proceeded through downtown Margate, and ended in Longport.  Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman provided opening remarks amid a crowd of avid supporters.

 A brigade of supporters in the parade included: the American Legion Riders of Somers Point, who led the parade, Atlantic City Police Motorcycle Unit, Firefighters and Police from Ventnor, Margate and Longport, and the Boy Scouts/Troop 386 from Egg Harbor Township, to name a few.

   

The Stayskal family sat atop the back of the American Legion's stretch limousine, waving to the cheering crowd that line the streets.  Children and adults showed their support by wearing red, white and blue and held miniature flags and homemade posters, thanking Stayskal for his service.  At the end of the parade, another ceremony was held in Longport at the bayfront park, located behind Borough Hall.  Mayor Nicolas Russo welcomed the family, and explained the origin and meaning of Wounded Warrior Week to the crowd.  Afterwards, he invited the groups wishing to give gifts to come forward with their presentations.  At that time, QUEEN Debra presented the family with a gift on behalf of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, which included a photo frame and a gift certificate.

Johanne Santori, Chairman/Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA INC., and MSNJSA'06, accompanied QUEEN Debra.  Onlookers noticed their sashes and Debra's crown and asked them questions.  The 2 QUEENS happily obliged them and spoke about the PAGEANT!  

Tomorrow ends the week-long celebration of this exemplary wounded warrior, SFC Richard Stayskal, who will return to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida for continued immunotherapy treatment.  With God's help, hopefully, he will win this last battle.

Monday, July 27, 2020

COVID-19 REMEMBERED IN MUSIC BY FAMOUS AMERICAN COMPOSER


Much has been written about the pandemic of 1917-1918, and its trail of worldwide devastation.  In  the same manner, many stories about the current COVID-19 pandemic will be written about it when it ends.  But how has this silent enemy become the subject of interest to music and musicians?

The world has been in lock down due to the corona virus since March, and people have been encouraged to self quarantine and avoid gathering in crowds.  Musical performances of every genre have been forced to close down.  Singing in large groups were stopped, and singers were branded as super spreaders of the corona virus. 

World renowned composer and choral conductor, Eric Whitacre was stunned by the news as he saw the musical world come to a grinding halt on a global scale.  The very thing he loved so much - gathering people in a room to sing was suddenly such a dangerous thing. 

Last March, Eric Whitacre thought it was time to do something positive amid the global pandemic and bring singers together.  Within several days, he composed the words and music to "Sing Gently". A song written for 4 part chorus, represents his dream of a world without borders, where everyone is good and kind to each other. 

At the present time, performers have started to use the digital world as the only way of continuing to work.  Eric is no stranger to this medium.  In 2009, he created the Virtual Choir, which is an experiment in social media and digital technology.  He and his producers and staff wanted to make it very easy and accessible to singers all over the world to join.  He made announcements of his projects over social medias like Spotify, I Tunes, Facebook, and You Tube, etc.  He made videos of himself conducting each voice part, and posted them.  The singer would upload his/her part,  make a video and send it. Each one of the videos is then syncronised and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir.

"Sing Gently", is the Virtual Choir 6 video performance, which was released on July 19, 2020 on ww.youtube.com. It is a beautiful song, with beautiful music and lyrics sounding a note of hope in this unsettling time we are living in.  The words are:
                                                            May we sing together always
                                                            May our voice be soft
                                                            May our song be be music for others
                                                            And may it keep others aloft.
                                                            Sing gently always, Sing gently as one
                                                            May we stand together always
                                                            May our voice be strong
                                                            May we hear the singing,
                                                            And may we always sing along.

The number of participants in Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir has grown over the years.  This year, Virtual Choir 6 included 17,572 members, who come from 129 countries!  The technicians managed to included everyone in the video which lasted 3 minutes 22 seconds.  At first glance, the photo above looks like ceramic tile.  Actually, it as an attempt to get everyone in one photo.

Denise Mechan, Director of Communications for Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcase Coordinator, has participated in several Virtual Choir performances over the years.  Her children watched the video and managed to find her singing among the thousands of performers.  Imagine that!

On the lighter side, Whitacre posted another video on You Tube entitled: "Virtual Choir 6 - Foils & Follies", which includes outakes of the mistakes and comments the singers made while making their videos.  It is amusing and funny to watch.

It is highly recommended to watch/listen to Eric Whitacre's newest choral piece "Sing Gently".  It is elegant, emotional and beautiful, with a message so relevant all over the world today, and especially in the United States.  Its deep meaning seeks to bring people together, during this dark time, if only for a moment, and bring joy to it.

FYI:  Go to the website: www.youtube.com/ericwhitacre

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

TERRY MEADE, RECOGNIZED BY JERSEY'S BEST MAGAZINE


When Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and Chairperson of Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC needed a Director of Pageants, she searched for Jersey's best, and so it came to pass that she appointed Terry Meade.

 

Over the years, Terry's boundless energy and tireless efforts have been recognized by Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, for creating and directing  magnificent Pageants at Harrah's in Atlantic City.

She does, however, share this same energy and passion for another organization, the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK.  Mark, her husband suffered a serious heart attack, and for many months, he laid in a hospital bed, waiting for a heart transplant.  Luckily his story ended happily, because the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK found a matching donor.


Today, Terry and Mark, live each day, giving thanks to their anonymous donor, who upon dying, gave Mark the gift of life.  They have become one of many spokespersons for the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, and have been involved in many activities that promote the awareness of how organ and tissue transplants can save lives.  Together, they have become warriors for such a worthy cause.

Jersey's Best magazine, wrote an article about the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, entitled, "The Gift Of A Lifetime," which is featured presently in their summer edition, and can be read on line at: www.jerseysbest.com.

 cover, courtesy Terry Meade
Terry was pleased to have been selected by the magazine to be on the cover, and recognized as one of "Jersey's Best."  The article acknowledges the many individuals who have donated lifesaving organs in 2019, yet, the need still falls short of the demand. 

The NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, had planned to celebrate their 30th Anniversary, by staging the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games later this month in New Jersey at the Meadowlands Entertainment Complex.  However, due to COVID-19, the 6 day event has been rescheduled to July 16 - 21, 2021.  The mission of the Transplant Games is "to allow people to come together to demonstrate the amazing gift of life, the miracle of transplantation, and the need for more organs."

Sunday, June 21, 2020

MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT/SUMMER 2020 UPDATE


Sadly, the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2020 had to be cancelled earlier this month, as well as the ongoing activities of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The time honored Pageant which dates back to the 1970's, has given hundreds of ladies 60 and over, a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a crown and State title, just as their younger counterparts, and the chance go further to compete for a national title as well.  For many ladies, participation in this Pageant has been a life altering experience, that has changed the way they view themselves, and how they plan to live out the rest of their lives.  This year, the dreaded COVID-19 virus has robbed many of this chance.

During these hard times, 2 ladies have emerged, who have tried to keep the ladies together.  As they were highlighted in the April issue, Norma McGhie/MSNJSA'95, and daughter Sherri/MSNJSA'15 deserve continued mention.

 photos, courtesy Sherri McGhie
Norma continues to write poetry on themes which cover current events.  One poem, in particular, she adapted new words to a popular World War II song, "When the Lights Go On Again", sung by English songstress, Vera Lyn in 1942.  The song was also recorded in America by bandleader/singer, Vaughn Monroe.  Renditions by both artists can be heard on www.youtube.com.  By permission of the author, the following are Norma's lyrics:
WHEN DAYS ARE BRIGHT AGAIN

When days are bright again all over the world,
When good health returns again all over the world,
When Quarantines and Distancing will no longer exist,
We'll shake hands again, and maybe kiss.

When days are bright again all over the world,
And life is normal again all over the world,
We'll cherish life's little things and our hearts will sing.
When days are bright again all over the world!

When everything's right again all over the world,
And our hearts are light again all over the world,
We'll congregate, celebrate and thank God in Heav'n above.
When days are bright again all over the world!

Note: Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07 tweaked the poem just a little to allow the words to flow easier with the melody.  Readers are encouraged to go to the You Tube website and sing with Lyn or Monroe, using the new lyrics.  For those more independent singers, who want more of a challenge, there are karaoke versions as well.

Kudos continue to Sherri McGhie/MSNJSA'15, for sending weekly email invitations to join her Zoom meetings.  More ladies are encouraged to join her and the "regulars", every Monday evening at 7:00 PM.

Another important happening was the meeting of the new board, on Tuesday, June 16th.  The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT has been re-established, and is now an official non-profit organization, with a slightly new name as: MS. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC.

 photos, courtesy Mark Meade
Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08 and Vice President, hosted the board meeting at her home in Brick.  Behind the masks are: Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and Chairperson of the Board; Terry Meade/Director of Pageants; Denise Mechan/Director of Communications & NJCC Showcase Coordinator; Carolyn Harden/MSNJSA'17 & MSSA'17, Director of Finance; and Becky  Orsatti/MSNJSA'10, Director of Research and Development. 


The new board also took the time to celebrate members' birthdays during the hiatus.  Terry's will be in July.  So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her and to all the "Sisters", who are having birthdays during the summer as well!

Here's wishing all the fabulous "ladies of elegance" a safe and happy summer.  If you have families nearby cherish every moment with them, even if you cannot physically embrace them.  For those ladies living alone, try not to despair.  Find ways to lift your spirit.  Here's one suggestion: try  reading/singing Norma's poem!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

TO ZOOM, OR NOT TO ZOOM?


This not too "age old question", has been addressed and answered, by one special lady.  Sherri McGhie, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2015, found a way to keep the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, connected during the 45 day government mandated nationwide self quarantine, that was enforced to fight the deadly spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

 file photo
During March and April, QUEEN Sherri has been holding Zoom meetings with her "sisters" across the State.  Zoom is the video conferencing app that has soared in popularity since the coronavirous pandemic.  While the coronavirus chaos wreaks mayhem across the world, Zoom has become an essential tool for keeping people in touch and close to their family and friends.

Monday evenings between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM is the scheduled time for the video get together, which is called the "Virtual Cocktail Hour".  The Zoom meetings are easy to join.  Sherri, who is the host, sends everyone an email invitation, which contains the day, date and time of the meeting, and the link to click on to join.  Then, you follow the instructions, and Sherri lets you in.  The meeting usually lasts for an hour, and the ladies are invited to participate anyway they wish.

photo courtesy, Carolyn Harden/MSSA2017
Each week, different ladies join in on the fun. That evening in particular, Carol Dugan/MSNJSA2011, top row, second on the right, who lives in Florida, sang.  Ferlie and Christine, friends of the CLUB, lower right hand corner, were there, as was young Caitlin Tompkins, middle row second on the right. She and Sherri set up a very helpful tutorial video about Zoom for the ladies. 

The daily updates from President Trump and his coronavirous task force, indicate that the cornonavirus pandemic will not end anytime soon.  Even though the country is starting to open up, it will be slow and measured State by State.  Also, senior citizens still need to continue with self quarantine.  It seems we ladies who live in the "age of elegance" are in this group!  Everyone has to wear facial masks, and practice social distancing when going out.

Hopefully, Sherri will continue with her weekly "Virtual Cocktail Hour", via Zoom in the weeks ahead, and that more ladies will join.  Kudos to this sweet QUEEN for this humanitarian effort.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

IT'S THE MOST HORRIBLE TIME OF THE YEAR!


The month of March is usually the time when people look forward to welcoming the coming of Spring.  However, during the month, people all over the world learned about a serious disease, which is named the coronavirus, or COVID-19.  Public health officials around the world have declared an all out war to defeat this insidious disease.  In particular, United States' President Trump ordered a national 2 week quarantine for all Americans, which began on Monday March 16 and ends on Monday March 30.  Citizens were asked to stay home during this period, and not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary. 

New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has stated frequently that, "this is no time to panic, but it's just as much no time for business as usual".  He urged Jerseyans to make the right call, if not for themselves, but for their families, friends and community, to help to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Schools are closed, as well as industry and non essential businesses.   The ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB have had to cancel all Showcases throughout the State for the immediate future.  Last week, it was announced that the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2020, which was scheduled for Wednesday, June 3rd at Harrah's was also canceled.

Not all was doom and gloom though.  Before the national quarantine and lockdown was declared, certain events did take place.  Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019,  participated in the St. Patrick's Day Parade which was held in Belmar the first weekend of March.

This photo is in sharp contrast to what she is doing these days!  As a nurse, QUEEN Debra is out there with her colleagues, working long hours, helping patients who come in with coronavirus symptoms.

 
Sunday, March 8th was the last Showcase of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  The ladies gave a stellar performance to a full house at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan.  Little did they know that it would be their last one for the foreseeable future.


This photo was pulled out from the archives once again to show these fabulous ladies in a happier time, at the Christmas Party in December of 2019.  Although a few ladies are suffering from other illness,  happily none of the CLUB'S members have contracted the dreaded coronavirus.  As time goes by, hopefully none will.

Tomorrow is Monday, March 30th, and the end of the two week national self quarantine and lockdown.  Has this been enough to stop the spread of this silent killer, or will there be more hard times ahead?  We can use the religious phrase, "only God knows", but in this case, so do our country's leaders and scientists.  Jerseyans, as well as the rest of the nation await what tomorrow's news will bring.