Friday, June 8, 2018

MARGATE WOMAN WINS TITLE OF MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2018


The 38th annual MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT began with a military honor guard salute to the flag and the singing of  a 2 song patriotic medley,"This is My Country & God Bless America". Atlantic City's Mayor Gillian spoke briefly, to welcome everyone to his fair City, and expressed his well wishes to all the contestants.

photos, courtesy Diane Beebe
The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018 is now history, and a winner was named on Wednesday.  A hush fell over the audience as the time drew near to announce the 4 finalists, and finally the QUEEN.  When Suzie Neustadter's name was called the crowd went wild, and Harrahs Concert Venue Theater rocked with cheers and thunderous applause.

Suzie Neustadter, resident of Margate, impressed a distinguished panel of 6 judges, and scored highest in the 4 categories.  A petite woman, Suzie modeld her gowns with grace and elegance, as she walked across the stage with a youthful vitality.  Suzie is a singer, and for the Talent presentation, she sang "Home", from the hit Broadway musical, "The Wiz".  She is a professional singer, and has sung with many famous singers.  Suzie owns a music school in Margate, and is a sought after voice teacher in the area.

QUEEN Suzie poses with the Ladies of her Court.  From left to right are: Jeri Georger/4th Runner-up, tap dancer, fromToms River; Millie Tate/2nd Runner-up, singer, from Linwood; QUEEN Suzie; Debra Canale/1st Runner-up, gymnist, from Medford, and Sheila Jackson/3rd Runner-up, interpretive dancer, from Atco. The QUEEN and her Court will be featured in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE performances 2018, Statewide tour.

Once again QUEEN Suzie and her Court pose for the papparazzi. They are joined by Johanne Santori/MSNJSA 2006 and NJ STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, on the left, Carolyn Slade Harden/MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, in the middle, and Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, on the right.

Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, gave a Farewell Presentation which included a slide show of her appearances during the year, a very powerful, and loving speech, and ended with a tribute to the "Sisterhood" of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, with the poignant song, "I've Got My Sisters", from the hit movie and Broadway musical, "Sister Act".  She also crowned the new QUEEN.

QUEEN Suzie joins the glorious lineage of former STATE and National QUEENS, who date as far back as 1981.  In this photo, the oldest QUEEN is Norma McGhie/MSNJSA 1995.

Many ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO were in attendance, and after the Pageant they came on stage to welcome their new QUEEN and "Sister". 

The Pageant was also a family friendly variety show. The audience was entertained by Jim Craine, otherwise known as Atlantic City's "singing lifeguard".  Jim also served as Master of Ceremonies.  The dance group, "Divas & Dudes", under the direction of Brenda Christian, did a lively rap routine.

  The GRAND DAMES CHORUS, under the direction of Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, sang a medley of songs from the hit Broadway musical "Mama Mia".
 
The NEW JERSEY STAR DANCERS literally sparkled while they danced.  Their cotumes lit up in psychodelic colored lights, as they danced the disco to "Saturday Night Fever".  

The theme of this year's Pageant, "Walk the Red Carpet", was the brainchild of Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR.  The set design was glitzy and glamorous, the pace was  energetic, and she inspired the contestants to be the best that they could be.  Kudos to Terry on a job well done!

Congratulations to Suzie Neustadter on capturing the crown.  May you enjoy this year of your reign.  May you walk the in the path of the many QUEENS who have gone before you, and continue to bring hope and happiness to all the lives you touch.  Also, all eyes are on you as you prepare yourself for the ultimate prize, the title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2018!    

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A SENIOR QUEEN


Since winning the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2017, Carolyn Slade Harden has had a busy year of appearances throughout the State of New Jersey.  She has received numerous letters from State and Federal Lawmakers acknowledging her achievement.  Next week, she will crown the new QUEEN who will reign for 2018.

Carolyn Slade Harden, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2017

It has been many years since a New Jersey QUEEN won the National Title, the most recent being Sandra Greco, in 2003, with Laverne Stokes and Jan Dickinson, dating back to the early 1980s.  During the millenium, State QUEENS have made the top 10, and even all the way up to first runner up. 

Finally, Carolyn Slade Harden, from Manchester, went on to win the title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017.  National QUEENS also have an impressive travel itineray and TV appearances during the year of their reign.  Carolyn has begun travelling to other State Pageants to appear as guest performer and to crown their State QUEENS.
 
When Carolyn takes the stage at Harrahs next week to give her farewell presentation, it will not be so bittersweet as it has been with the former New Jersey QUEENS.  Although her year as State QUEEN has come to an end, Carolyn still has the rest of  her reign as MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017 to fullfill.
 
GOOD LUCK, DEAR QUEEN, WITH THE REST OF YOUR TRAVELS - YOU'VE MADE NEW JERSEY PROUD!

Monday, May 28, 2018

MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018


"Women Our Age, 60 and Over, Are Not Declining, We're Celebrating!"  is the theme for the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018.  Harrahs Resort Hotel and Casino will host the annual Pageant on Wednesday, June 6th at 1:00 PM in the Concert Venue Theater.

Nine ladies who have reached the "Age of Elegance", and who come from various parts of the Garden State are participating, and all are hopeful of winning this year's crown.

THE CLASS OF 2018
Pictured above, seated from left to right are: Norma Cruz-Vasquez/Barnegat, Renee Tompkins/Wall, Carolyn Slade Harden/MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, Suzie Neustadter/Margate, and Millie Tate/Linwood.  In the second row: Terry Meade/Executive State Pageant Director, Jeri Georger/Toms River, Sheila Jackson/Atco, Roxanne Terramagra/Egg Harbor City, Denise Mechan/Bayville, and Johanne Santori/Administrator.  Debra Canale/Medford was absent. The contestants possess a variety of talents which include: singing, dancing, photography and gymnastics.  A distinguished panel of judges will grade them in 4 categories:  Evening Gown, Philosophy of Life, Talent and Private Interview.
 
There will be featured performances by THE GRANDE DAMES CHORUS and the JERSEY STAR DANCERS, other guest appearances, and a farewell presentation by outgoing QUEEN, Carolyn Slade Harden.  The Pageant is rated general and can be enjoyed by the entire family.  
 
Tickets are $15.00 for all seats and can be purchased on the day of the Pageant at the box office, located outside the Concert Venue Theater,  starting at 11:00 AM. 
 
Which one of these elegant women has a CROWN in her future?  And, which one will go on to compete for the national title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2018, in October at Resorts?  To find out, come on down, Thursday, June 6th, and cheer your favorite on to victory!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

PRE-MOTHER'S DAY CELEBRATION HONORED PROMINENT NEW JERSEY WOMEN


 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

MR MATURE PAGEANT 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
Carolyn Slade Harden/MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2017 & MS MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017

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

NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB PREPARES FOR 2018 SEASON


"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!