Tuesday, May 8, 2018


 All photos, courtesy Terry Meade
The Trenton War Memorial is one of the many Government buildings that make up the Trenton Municipal Capitol Complex.  The marble building with its majestic columns in the front, is home to the symphony, ballet and other groups. 

The MERCER COUNTY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT Organization held a "Community Mother's Award Brunch," on Sunday afternoon May 6th, at the Trenton War Memorial.  Eleven women were honored for their commitment to preserving family values, and for their dedication to make life better for their community, city and State.  The woman came from all walks of life and included: local and State politicians, community activists, a radio personality, senior beauty pageant queens, a minister, and an educator.  The celebration was the "brainchild" of Lawaner Wilkins Sykes, who served as emcee.

Lovely Leah Whelan, MSNJSA 2011, received warm applause for her rendition of "Maybe This Time".

Terry Meade, MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, spoke about the philosophy, purpose and goals of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT.

 From left to right are: Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA2010, Leah Whelan/MSNJSA2011, Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA2008, Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA2007, Terry Meade/MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Carolyn Slade Harden/MSSA2017, Johanne Santori/MSNJSA2006 & MNJSA ADMINISTRATOR, and Denise Mechan/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE COORDINATOR.
Johanne and QUEEN Carolyn came down from the stage and joined their "sisters" to sing "With Love, From Motown".  Josephine Araniti  invited everyone in the room to stand up and participate.  She showed them all the "signature moves"  to make while singing the 3 song medley.  It turned out to be a great fun activity, and broke up the solemnity of the occasion for a just little while.

Then, Lawaner asked each lady a question on various aspects of motherhood, and they answered based upon their life experiences.

 Carolyn Slade Harden, MSSA2017, and Johanne Santori, MSNJSA 2006, and MSNJSA PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, were among the honorees. Carolyn spoke encouraging words of wisdom, and Johanne spoke about the history of the Pageant, and how its founder, Dr. Mott set out to restore respect back to the elderly.

The program concluded with a prayer and an emotional hymn, sung by Reverend Lois Keys-Alexandria.  Everyone enjoyed a delicious chicken dinner, and in the background, there was music for easy listening provided by a local DJ.

There were 250 guests who attended the brunch.  Among them were politicians and their wives who came  to support honorees Senator Shirley K. Turner, and Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson.  One in particular was, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who is running for Mayor of Trenton.  He and Terry posed together out in the lobby.

The honorees were given a beautiful plate with their photo in the middle and the sides were embossed in gold plate.  They and the performing guests were given this lovely rose, complete with a crown ring in the middle.  All afternoon long, a photographer went table to table, taking pictures.  He made copies and gave them to all the guests to take home.

Everyone received a free raffle ticket for chances to win prizes of: dinners for two at Trenton area restaurants, a painting, and this elegant vase with a gorgeous crown on top. 

Lawaner thanked the Committee for all their hard work to make the afternoon a success, and she invited everyone to get out of their seats and mingle with each other in the time remaining.  A great time was had by all, and once again, congratulations to Johanne and Carolyn!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Review of April Events

File photo
Carolyn Slade Harden, MSNJSA 2017 & MSSA 2017

The month of April was a busy time for the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT and it's service wing, the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  As was mentioned in the previous article, Carolyn Slade Harden, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2017 & MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, has begun her countrywide tour.  She is currently in North Carolina, and is a guest at the MS NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018 this afternoon.

Members of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB were also busy performing for their constituents.  The following photos are highlights from one Showcase, which was at the New Jersey Firemens Memorial Home in Boonton, on Wednesday, April 18th. The program consisted of song, dance and comedy.

 All Photos, courtesy of Mark Meade
New Jersey's own, Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, started off the program with a friendly welcome and great song.

 Denise Mechan, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE COORDINATOR, emceed the show and also sang.  The following performers are not necessarily in order.

Norma Cruz Vaszuez sang a popular, hip swinging Spanish song.

NEW JERSEY STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Terry Meade delighted everyone with a song from the Broadway musical "Grease".

Marge Wanamaker looked stunning in her costume, as she imitated a shapely flapper of the "Roaring 20s"

Then, there was easy listening, as Nancy Bassett sang a jazz song that evoked memories of the late and great Ella Fitzgerald.
Rose Majofsky took the stage, and swept everyone off to the Hawaiian Islands as she swayed ever so gently to a popular Hawaiian tune.
The firemen enjoyed Geri Georger's lively tap routine, that brought back memories of World War II.  They also appreciated her shapely legs!
Norma McGhie, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 1995, brought along a bag full of jokes.  Her delivery was spot on and hilarious.

Diane Beebe, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2014, always pleases audiences with her songs, and today was no exception.

As always, the audience was invited to sing the finale song,  a medley called, "This is my County, & God Bless America".
On Tuesday, April 24th, a "Meet The Contestants" luncheon was held at the Elks Lodge in Manahawkin.  The event was hosted by the officers of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  The purpose of the meeting was to welcome the contestants, give them the opportunity to interact with each other, how to prepare for the upcoming MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018, and to learn about the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

The contestants are pictured above along with QUEEN Carolyn, seated in the middle, NEW JERSEY STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Terry Meade, standing on the left, and ADMINISTRATOR, Johanne Santori, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2006 & HONORARY MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, standing on the right.  Members of the Class of 2018 are:  seated, from left to right are: Norma Cruz Vasquez/singer, Renee Tompkins/singer, Susan Neustadter/singer, Millie Tate/singer. Standing are: Geri Georger/dancer, Sheila Jackson/dancer, Roxanne Terramagra/photographer, and Denise Mechan/singer.  Debra Canale was absent.  

Contestants were treated to a delicious lunch which consisted of a variety of over stuffed sandwiches, salads, and desserts.  They were given plants and little paper crowns, which were atop the cupcakes that Jo Ann Gordon, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2008, baked especially for the occasion, to take home.  
Kudos to the Board and Committee for the great food, and elegant decor.  Mostly, for their attention to fine details that resulted in an informative meeting, and a wonderful time for everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2018


The 5th annual MR MATURE PAGEANT 2018, promised, a fun Saturday for the residents of Ocean City, New Jersey this year.  The morning started off with a "Parade of Pooches".  Residents were invited to bring their beloved dogs to march.  There were marching bands, and convertibles driving dignitaries along the parade route.  One person, in particular riding along was actor Eric Estrada, star of the TV series, "Chips".  

file photo

It was fitting that QUEEN Carolyn Slade Harden, began her cross country tour right here in New Jersey, on Saturday evening, April 14th.  Carolyn was invited to sing, and also to serve on a panel which consisted of 3 judges.  

The idea of creating a Pageant for men 55 and over, came from the long established and time honored MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT.  Some similarities do exist, however, the main difference between the two is the MR MATURE PAGEANT is local, and is sponsored by the City of Ocean City; whereas the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT is nationwide.  State Pageants are held during the year, and then their QUEENS must compete for the national title.

The evening began with the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner", led by QUEEN Carolyn.  Eric Estrada was the emcee.  A capacity audience filled the room that evening, and people were excited and very vocal as they cheered for their favorite contestant.  There were eight in all, and each man tried his best to outshine the other as they paraded across the stage.  There were 3 Judging Categories: Talent and Poise, which were public, and a Judges Interview, which was private.  In the end, it was Bill Quain, who won this year's title. 

all photos, courtesy Denise Mechan
Although it has been at least three decades since he starred in the hit TV series "Chips", Eric Estrada still retains his masculine charm and allure, as he poses with with QUEEN Carolyn after the Pageant. 
Here, QUEEN Carolyn poses with:  Bill Quain/MR MATURE 2018, and the other two judges, Frank Farelli, Jr. - the very first MR MATURE, and Katie Schreckengast/MISS PA 2017, who was 10th runner up in last year's MISS AMERICA PAGEANT.

Yes, in America, "monarchies" still do exist, as proven by these two Senior Pageants.  See them as they stand regally, proudly wearing their crowns, banners and staff.  Long live QUEEN Carolyn Slade Harden/MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, and Bill Quain, MR MATURE 2018.  YEAH!

Friday, April 13, 2018


"Ready, Set, Go, and they're off!" is the current mantra of the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB these days.  January 2018 began with with problems for its members, as did most of the nation, with colds, flu, physical ailments, and the passing of a beloved "Sister".  The cold, snowy and unpredictable weather was another factor that affected the scheduling of Showcases, and resulted in some cancellations in February and March.  But, April is showing promise so far, and the ladies are hopeful of getting back to a full season of performing for their constituents throughout the State of New Jersey.

The first Showcase for the month was Thursday, April 5th at Lutheran Crossing Enhanced Living, in Moorsetown.  Eight of our finest entertainers gave a great show for a predominently female audience.  The residents were generous with their applause.  One lady in particular, whose name was Deborah, was especially vocal in displaying her appreciation.  During the course of the Showcase, she gave little quips about her life and  her musical knowledge.

 Courtesy, Warren Beebe
The audience was invited to sing the finale song, "This Is My Country/God Bless America".  From left to right are: Diane Beebe/MSNJSA'15, Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07, Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06, Denise Mechan/Showcase Coordinator, Nancy Bassett, Rose Majofsky, and Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08.

Of particular importance at this time of year, are the preparations for the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018, which will be held on Wednesday, June 6th at Harrahs Resort and Casino, in the Concert Venue Theater at 1:00 PM.  Terry Meade, Executive State Pageant Director, outlined her plans and the details at the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB meeting, which was held on Tuesday, April 10th.  This year's theme is "Walk the Red Carpet", and her vision for the Pageant is intended to be exciting, imaginative, stylish, visually stimulating, and timeless; a show that will be appreciated and enjoyed by an audience of every age.  Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007, Public Relations/Publicity, spoke about the plan for getting out the press releases to the newspapers and media, and encouraged Club members to hang the Pageant flyers in places of prominence in that part of the State where they live.  Terry also announced the date of the "Meet the Candidates" luncheon, which is Tuesday, April 24th, 11:30 AM, at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge.  She was unable to give the exact number of contestants, because the deadline to enter has not closed, but, she did announce the names and acknowledged the 5 ladies, who are re-entering this year, all of whom are NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB members.

President Carole Lelli spoke about the Board's decision to change the location of the meeting place, to the Manahawkin Elks Lodge, and told of the generosity of the veterans, who offered the use of their hall to the CLUB free of charge.  All the members in attendance agreed that it was the right decision and that the new facility was cleaner and brighter than the last.
Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08, who was appointed interim Vice-President at the January meeting, was sworn in.  Treasurer Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA'10, announced the ticket price for the Pageant as $15.00, and were available immediately for purchase.  They can also be purchased at the door on the day of the Pageant at the box office which is located in the lobby of the theater.  Anyone wishing to purchase tickets in advance, can call her home phone at: 609-344-7802.

The meeting ended with everyone extending their love, and support to Carolyn Slade Harden/MSNJSA'17 & MSSA'17, as she embarks on her journey to many States across the country, as guest in MS SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANTS.  She shared an impressive travel itinerary with the members, and asked for their prayers for stamina and good health in the months ahead. 

Kudos to the Board for making its members feel welcomed in the new meeting place, to the Committee,
for preparing a great lunch, and to the members, who kept an open mind regarding the Board's decision to move  to a new location for the quarterly meetings.  One door closes, and another door opens. 

See you at the Pageant!

Friday, February 23, 2018


Diane Beebe is an great example of women who live in the "Age of Elegance", that is 60 or better.  After winning the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2014, she joined the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and became an active member.  She is a regular performer in their SHOWCASES, and when she is present, she operates the sound system as well.  Diane helped the Pageant organization to grow, by creating the State website, and serves as the webmaster.  She served as Secretary of NSAA for 2 terms, and created that organization's website as well.

Diane Beebe, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2014, is realizing her dream of a career in acting. No stranger to show business, her debut as a solo performer dates back to the tender age of 4.  In her life, Diane combined the multiple roles of wife, mother, business woman, singer, and actress.  In her senior years, Diane decided to return to acting, and was successful.  She has appeared in TV shows and a soon to be released movie as a background actor.

Recently, Diane won an NY NUB Award, which was the first ever given by that film industry, for background acting.  This news caught the interest of www.communitynews.org, an area newspaper, and a reporter contacted Diane for an interview.  The article, published on February 22nd, is an in depth overview of Diane's interesting life, from childhood to the present day.  To read the full story, click on this link:

Kudos to this NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB member and former QUEEN, who has proven that life after 60, can be exciting, rewarding and fulfilling.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Since her appointment as EXECUTIVE PAGEANT DIRECTOR of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT, Terry Meade of Princeton Junction, has been busy seeking contestants for the 2018 Pageant, and doing her utmost to spread the word across the State about the Organization.   Recently, a reporter from the West Windsor News, a newspaper in her area, interviewed Terry and wrote an extensive article that was published this week. 

Terry's story is a poignant and beautiful account of her life from childhood to the present.  After reading it, one will realize why Terry was the most qualified successor to Johanne Santori.  The feature article also was published online, and can be accessed by clicking on this link:

FYI.     Any lady over the age of 60, who is interested in becoming a contestant, can call Terry at:  908-216-8534, or by email:  tbm5201@aol.com. 
             To learn more about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT, please visit our website: www.newjerseysenioramerica.org. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


The ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB had a great evening of food, libations, dancing and song, last December at the annual Christmas Party, but for some reason the event went unreported on this blog site.  Some CLUB members were unable to attend the party, due to illness, or distance.  So, the following is a recap of the great time had by all.

The Christmas party was held at the Toms River Hotel.  The ladies gathered together to pose for their annual portrait.  Betsy Mott and Robin Milne were the guests of honor, and were included in the photo also.

After dinner, announcements, acknowledgements, and gifts followed.  President Carole Lelli announced the new board members who will begin their term in January of 2018, who are: Carole, President, Lyn Gibson, Vice President, who is not in the photo, Leah Whelan, Secretary, and Rebecca Orsatti, Treasurer.  She thanked JoAnn Gordon MSNJSA2008 and her committee for providing such a great evening for the members.  Administrator Johanne Santori introduced Terry Meade as the new Executive State Pageant Director.

President Carole presented Carolyn Slade Harden MSNJSA2017 this portait  on behalf of the Board and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  QUEEN Carolyn was noticably shaken when she expressed her thanks for the lovely gift.

Everyone settled down in anticipation of the Great Raffle that followed.  The tables were full of great gifts that were provded by the members.  JoAnn Gordon MSNJSA2008, took over to read the tickets and announce the winners.

Here she is, QUEEN Carolyn and her freinds from La Rennaisance, enjoying themselves all evening long.

Of course, there was dancing to the music of Steve and Debbie Berger.  Line dancing is a fun activity, as members joined in dancing their favorite, the electric slide.

As the evening came to an end, the ladies joined hands together to form the "Circle of Sisterhood", singing and swaying to the song, "That's What Friends Are For".  Hugs, kisses and well wishes followed as the ladies gradually dispersed and went home.  Hopefully, the cold and flu season will not affect these sweet ladies in the days and year ahead.

FYI.  These photos were taken by Mark Meade, and lovely provided by Terry Meade, our new Executive State Pageant Director.