Sunday, December 20, 2009


There are three words to describe the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Christmas Party: FOOD, FUN, and FELLOWSHIP. The event was once again held at the Lobster Shanty Restaurant in Toms River, on Friday, December 11th.
The FOOD was delicious and was served by a courteous and attentive waite staff. There was a cash bar, and a mimosa fountain which flowed amply all evening long.
The FUN was provided all night long by the great musical team of Steve and Debbie Berger. During dinner, they played background music, that did not interfere with people's conversations.
Afterwards, they performed all the songs on everyone's wish list, from sentimental ballads, to lively line dance tunes. During Steve's rendition of "It's a Wonderful World", couples stopped dancing, and others in the room quieted down to listen to the lyrics. His tender voice brought sighs and a tear or two out of the guests. Debbie did wonderful solos of her own. Her alto voice is clear and mellow to the ear. Together, they made a "dynamite duo". Their fun duet, "I Ain't Got Nobody", evoked memories of the legendary musical couple, Louie Prima and Keely Smith.
It was an evening of good cheer and FELLOWSHIP, as guests talked gaily and got caught up with latest news of mutual interest. The rafle consisted of 5 beautiful baskets of edible and non-edible items. Everyone bought tickets in anticipation of winning. Norma McGhie and family won two items!
Everyone stood to applaude Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009, as she entered the room. She was radiant and looked absolutely lovely, dressed in a yellow two-pieced bustiere gown. Later in the evening, she delighted everyone by singing a popular Hawaiian Christmas song accompanied by Steve.
Once again, the glitter and glamour was provided by the gorgeous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, all of whom were decked out in their "holiday best". They are a great example of the "age of elegance". Long may they always shine!
Kudos to Jo Ann Gordon and the ladies on the committee for a job well done. Their attention to detail was evident.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Despite the chilly temperatures, crowds of people gathered for the Atlantic City Christmas Parade on Saturday, November 28th. The parade route started at the beginning of Atlantic Avenue at the monument, ending at the outlet shops.
On hand for the annual event "braving the elements" were eight elegant ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. They road atop a gleaming and colorful holiday float, that came especially equipped with seats, thus making the ride more comfortable. The entourage included: Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009, and members of The Queen's Court; Rebecca Orsatti, Kay Vique, and Carol Lelli. Other ladies in attendance were: Johanne Santori, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT STATE DIRECTOR, Barby Jo Crema, Marge Wanamaker, and Agnes Raimondi.
They dazzled the crowd, each one stunningly dressed, and sporting the latest in "haute fur couture." Waving and smiling, they threw candy to the children along the parade route. Everyone had a great time, merrily ushering in the holiday season, despite the cold and windy winter weather.

Monday, November 9, 2009


On the evening of Saturday, September 12th, Josephine Araniti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2007, gave a show at the Greenbriar II Clubhouse in Brick where she resides. The following article is a reprint from the November 2009 edition of THE BRIAR II NEWS, written by Mr. Ren Relli, which has been expanded for clarification purposes.

It's becoming an annual R & A event (at Greenbriar II), when on September 12th, Josephine Araniti dazzled our residents once again with an eclectic array of songs that included: a French Art song, operatic arias, 60's pop, R & B, country, inspirational, patriotic and Broadway melodies. The theme of this year's show, A WOMAN FOR ALL SEASONS, meant that there was something for everyone. She even did a comedy routine entitled her "Job Resume", a cute play on words which was quite funny.
With her sidekicks as backup, "The Fabulous Four", familiar GBII residents were: Jack McGuigan, Michael Bocchino, Frank Smith and Bob Heine, who surrounded our gal in a nice rendition of "A Pretty Girl is Like A Melody", which opened the show.
With Bernice Kephart and Joe DeSanctis accompanying on the piano, and the audio team providing the orchestral background, our Josephine's voice filled the hall with that beautiful voice everyone here expected. A special highlight were the Puccini arias. A cathedral-like sound effect from the big soundboard was used for "O Mio Babbino Caro", letting her high notes really soar through the hall.
Josie did her usual good job of describing the history of her songs all the way to the Grand Finale, where the "FAB FOUR" and the audience joined her in a patriotic tribute to our country. A great advantage for me, for clamped on my head were the headphones (which I) used for monitoring and tweaking the microphones and cueing the tape decks. It was the perfect place (for me) to enjoy the music. Bravo, Josie!

In an expansive gesture, Josie sings "Signore, Ascolta", from the opera TURANDOT, by Puccini.

In stark contrast, Josie sings an R & B medley called,"A 60's PARTY". Here, she sings, "It's My Party".

She finishes the medley with, "These Boots Are Made For Walking", a song that made Nancy Sinatra famous. Pictured at the piano is Bernice Kephart.

Now in her 5th season, Josie always tries to include audience participation in her shows. The "Fabulous Four" joins her for the Grand Finale, in a stirring rendition of GOD BLESS AMERICA, LET FREEDOM RING.

Thursday, November 5, 2009



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Monday, November 2, 2009


This photo entitled, WOMEN ON THE CLOCK, was coupled with the poem, ONE FLAW IN WOMEN, and was featured on the internet recently. It sends an impressive message about the power of women. It is prefaced by the following quote, although short, it too, is equally impressive.

"God dosen't give you the people you want; He gives you the people you NEED... to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be".

Women have strengths that amaze men...
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in ..
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug or a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
they give moral support to their
family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The news article below is straight from
the office of THE IN - HOUSE PLAYERS.
Their upcoming production,
is for the benefit of the

An hilarious comedy which is sure to
warm your heart and tickle your funny bone,
after a sumptuous and delicious
Sunday dinner that is included.


Monday, October 26, 2009


From left to right: Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA 2008, Vice President; Dale Maglia, President; Agnes Traschetti, Secretary; and Joan Kaplan, Treasurer.
The ladies of the New Jersey Cameo Club held their final meeting of the year, on Wednesday, October 14th, at the Dover Senior Center in Toms River. A tasty luncheon was served, that was catered by Cafe Italia, Route 37 Toms River, consisting of chicken in a mushroom sauce, pasta, green salad, and a delicious homemade potato salad, provided by Dolores Peronace. Several scrumptious desserts were compliments of Jo Ann Gordon.
The meeting followed, in which many topics were discussed quickly, in order to allow plenty of time on the agenda for the Club's main purpose: the election of the new slate of officers who will serve the New Jersey Cameo Club for the next two years.
Fourty members attended the meeting to cast their ballots. The voting procedure was done by secret paper ballot. The ballots were collected and tallied by Marge Wanamaker and Norma McGhie, who are members of the nominating committee, assisted by Micki Bordi and Rose Majofsky. The results were then read by President Delores Puzio. After that, the committee shredded the ballots.
The newly elected officers spoke briefly, to thank the membership, and each promised to do her best to keep the New Jersey Cameo Club running as smoothly as their predecessors.
Installation of the new slate of officers will take place in January, 2010.
The meeting adjourned at 3:15 pm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This year, MSNJSA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori, requested a vintage car for Queen Bernadette. Here they are pictured in the shiny green convertible, vintage ala late 1920's, with MS STAFFORD 2009, standing alongside.
Delores Puzio NJ CAMEO CLUB President and MSDESA 2008, also found a vintage car, courtesy Seaside Parade Marshal. She is seated in white fur, with Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, and Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA 2008. They are pictured smiling and wavng, but the article
below, reveals a different story.
The weather on Sunday, October 11th, was perfect, sunny and unusually warm, and there was hardly any breeze. The New Jersey Queens began to feel warm, so they shed the weight of their fur coats, soon after these photos were taken. NJSA State Director, Johanne Santori had a friend who lives in Atlantic City and owns that green vintage automobile. While she and her husband Adeo drove up the Garden State Parkway in their stylish car, (and who knows how fast he drove), her friend could only drive his car 35 miles all the way to Seaside. What a friend indeed!
Delores Puzio, NJCC President, and MSDESA 2008, also arranged for another car from Lester Glenn Hundai, so that this year, Queen Bernadette Dudek, MNNJSA 2009, might have a royal entourage to follow her. However, here's where the story took a turn for the worse. The car dealer backed out at the last minute, because there was no 2010 convertible available for them to advertise, and he wouldn't allow last year's model to be in the prade. So, Delores spoke to the Parade Marshal, who then made a few phone calls, and found another friend who also had a vintage car.
So, all should have turned out fine, right? End of story. Well, not so fast. No sooner did Delores Puzio, MSDESA 2008, Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, and Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJ 2008, get into that buggy, when steam began to emerge from under the hood. They took the photo above, smiled bravely, and hoped for the best. But, alas, it was not meant to be. The car's owner declared that he couldn't fix the car on the spot, and needed to call for a tow truck. Therefore, they were out of a car, and subsequently, out of the parade. The three ladies kissed Queen Bernadette and Johanne, and wished them a happy parade, and went home.
It was reported later, that Bernadette, received many cheers and bravos along the parade route. She looked beautiful and radiated such warmth as she waved the "queen's wave", and threw kisses to all her constituents. It was her day, and she was great. As for the three queens, they had our day. Their only regret was not to to have been able support her on her day. The idea of having a queen's entourage was good, and hopefully, Delores can try again next year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE, The Regency in Toms River, July 23, 2009
Recently, one of my Cameo Club sisters gave me this picture, since I am in it, as a keepsake. (I am the lady on the far right, chest out, proudly wearing my MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2007 banner). As I gazed further at it, a proverb came to mind, "a picture is worth a thousand words". So, I would like to share my thoughts on what I see in this photo and what it means to me.
It was a very hot summer day, the kind of day that one should stay home and avoid the hot sun and oppressive humidity. Yet, our sisters turned out in large numbers to entertain for the residents at the Regency. The center is dedicated to working with people who are in all stages of Alzheimers Disease. The NJ Cameo Club joins with the Regency, by bringing our own kind of love and cheer to these very special and needy people.
The next thing I noticed, was the wide age range and the variety of our active performers. Of course, I wouldn't point them out specifically, but they are between 60 and 85. Each "elegant lady", can charm a crowd in her own unique way. We have singers of the old songs, big band, popular, country, and opera. And then, there are the dancers, who do ethnic and jazz tap. Do you like impersonators of famous Hollywood stars? There are there!
The photo shows the different ranks of the sisterhood, a kind of protocol. Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009, our reigning Queen, is the only one who wears both crown and banner. Past Queens wear banners that show the year of their reign. The rest of the ladies have all been contestants in past MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANTS. They have joined the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and perform in all our shows. At present, NJCC has 55 members, most of whom are still active performers, who also perform during the year. The photo shown here represents just a small portion of performing members.
We are fortunate to have 2 National Queens from New Jersey, and in this case, I will point them out. Laverne Stokes, dressed in clown costume, is MS SENIOR AMERICA 1985, and in the center dressed a dark blue gown is Sandra Greco, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2003.
Lastly, the photo shows that our ladies come in all shapes and sizes. Our ladies illustrate one of the goals of Senior America, and its affiliated State pageants: and that is, "it is the search for inner beauty". This point will be emphasized in the months ahead, as we prepare for the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2010.
Well, there you have it. I invite you, who are currently reading this article, to look at the picture for yourself. See what you can find, and let me know. At the bottom of the page, there is a pencil. Click on it, write down your thoughts and impressions and send them to me.
Lastly, if you can imagine yourself in this picture, then you should think about becoming a contestant in next year's pageant. Call our MS NEW JSERSEY SENIOR AMERICA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori, 609-822-7441, and request an application.


Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA 2009, dressed in a beautiful blue beaded gown, proved to be an impressive contestant in this year's MSSA Pageant, as she came in 3rd runner up. Here she is with MSNJSA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori, who is equally dressed for the occasion, as she smiles with pride at Bernadette in appreciation for a job well done.
To the left of Queen Bernadette is Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJ 2008, and on the right, is MSNJSA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori.

Bernadette with MSNJSA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori, and to the left are Sandra Greco, MSSA 2003, and MSVASA 2009, Maureen Fitzpatrick Ribble.

The MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009 QUEEN'S COURT. Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY, 3rd runner up, stands elegant and statuesque, next to reigning Queen Gayle King, from New York. Next to her is Maureen Fitzpatrick Ribble, MS VIRGINIA SA, 4th runner up. Next to Gayle is Barbara Travis, MS MISSISSIPPI SA, 1st runner up, and on the far left is Dianne Wilson, MS IDAHO SA, 2nd runner up.

Queen Bernadette proudly displays her plaque, as Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007 congratulates her on a job well done.

The year 2009 marked the 29th MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT. As always, "elegant ladies"came from across the fruited plains to compete for the coveted title of MS SENIOR AMERICA. Sonia Rheinhardt once again produced a glamorous and world class production. In the opening number, the ladies of the class of 2009 were dressed in yellow, and stood stationary, as they gently moved their feathered fans to the song "Amapola", sung by Andrea Bocelli. Colonel Macalise was a funny master of ceremonies, and did well in "stretching the time", whenever it was needed. Past national queens, and the Queen's Choir provided most of the entertainment in between. Their performances were all wonderful.

The Class of 2009, was small, 30 States in all, including the US Virgin Islands. Because of this, there was only one Preliminary Pageant, in which all 30 contestants were seen. In spite of the very long afternoon, the audience remained patient. All the contestants did their best and each lady had her own special gift(s) that appealed to both the judges and the audience. The next day the top 10 finalists were chosen, and the battle for the winner was on.

Cheers and screams rang throughout the theater whenever Bernadette appeared, and when she made the top 10, everyone was happy. She looked every inch a queen, and performed flawlessly in every catagory. Then, the atmosphere turned electric, when she made the Queen's Court. Her family, friends, amateur audience score keepers, and New Jersey Cameo Club sisters, held their breath, in anticipation of the judges results. An audible show of disbelief was heard around the room, when she made 3rd runner up. It was obvious that Bernadette had captured the hearts of many people that day, but unfortunately, the judges decision was final.

We extend our congratulations to the winner, Gayle King, from New York, our new, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2009, and, we are also very proud of Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009, who made the QUEEN'S COURT, a very high and exhaulted place to be.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Our reigning queen, Bernadette Dudek, is excited and is
busily preparing for the upcoming
Candidates from all over the United States and US territories
will travel to Atlantic City, to compete for
the coveted title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2009.
Queen Bernadette will represent the Garden State.
The event will take place at Harrah's Hotel and Resort,
during the week of October 4th through 8th.
The Preliminary show, is Tuesday, October 6th, and the
Final Pageant is Wednesday, October 7th.
Both shows will be held in the Concert Venue Theater
and will start at 1:00 pm sharp.
Tickets can be purchased at the box office
which opens daily during pageant week at 9:00 am.
There are several stories about Queen Bernadette in this blog.
Please click the months of June and July
to read about her achievements.
Also, her biography and photo are in Senior America's
national website,
We hope to fill the Concert Venue Theater with
fans and wellwishers for BERNADETTE DUDEK.
So, please, come on down, and cheer for her,
so she can bring the crown to New Jersey!
We love you, Queen Bernadette, and we wish you

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


At Absecon Manor, Delores
Puzio finds a willing dance

NJ State Pageant Director,
Johanne Santori, entertains
with a lovely song, at
Absecon Manor

The summer of 2009 was set ablaze by the stellar performances from the elegant ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. For the first time, Our Ambassadors of Love charmed audiences in the southern part of the State, in the cities of Ocean City, Absecon, Atlantic City, and Northfield.

One evening in particular was a NJCC Showcase, on June 17th, at Greenbriar North in Marlboro for the Deborah Club Banquet and Ball. After the show, the ladies were invited to a lavish dinner. Many people from the audience stopped by their table to congratulate them on their fine performances.

Then, on Sunday July 19th, the ladies performed on the boardwalk at the Kennedy Mall in Atlantic City. The weather was absolutely perfect, and many people packed the outdoor theater for the 4:00 pm show. This show is a special one for NJCC, because the show lasts two hours. That means that members who live farther away, and can't always perform with the club, made a special effort to drive to Atlantic City to take part. It was a great chance for the "sisters" to see each other, and tearful reunions were commonplace. Kudos to the audience, who stayed and watched the entire show, in spite of the strong, late afternoon sun.

Next, NJCC entertained at a luncheon for the "Red Hatters", at the Grenville Hotel in Bayhead, on July 22nd. Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA2008, received a surprise visit by her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. The toddler, about 2 years old, stayed quiet, just long enough to hear grandma Jo Ann sing, then she began to upstage the performers. So, smart mommy scooped her up, gave grandma Jo Ann a kiss, and they quickly departed. Such a precious child, and a memorable moment.

The wonderful ladies of NJCC continued all summer long to give vibrant and lively shows, with such love and caring for their audiences. In spite of personal problems or physical ills, they shined and dazzled wherever they appeared. With a succsessful summer season behind them, the ladies look forward to the year ahead, with renewed vigor and sense of purpose to bring music, laughter and joy wherever may go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Manchester Town Council President Craig Wallis read the Proclamation of Achievement, and Vice-President Councilman Fred Trutkoff presented the plaque to Queen Bernadette Dudek.

An entourage of queens! Pictured from left to right are: Norma McGhie, 1995; MSNJSA State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori, 2006; Queen Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA 2009; Jo Ann Gordon, 2008; and Josephine Araniti, 2007.
The courtroom at Manchester Town Hall was alive with excitement, on Monday, July 13th, as family, friends, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB ladies, and citizens of Manchester came to honor Queen Bernadette Dudek. A resident of Manchester who resides in La Renaissance Adult Community, Bernadette was awarded a PROCLAMATION OF ACHIEVEMENT by Mayor Michael Fressoli and the Manchester Town Council, for having won the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009.
Bernadette was among 12 very talented and elegant ladies, age 60 and over, who came from all around the State of New Jersey, and graced the stage of the Concert Venue Theater at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.
A retired State of New Jersey employee, Bernadette and her late husband Al moved to Manchester 2 years ago. Since then, she has been very active in her community. For her talent, Bernadette sang a wonderful rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night”.
Bernadette also won first prize in the first SENIOR AMERICAN IDOL CONTEST on Sunday, July 12th. The event was held at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, and was sponsored by WOBM-AM radio, hosted by Mary Ann Levy, of the Bob and Mary Ann Levy Show. She won $500.00 and an appearance to sing the national anthem at a Blue Claws game.
As winner of the State pageant, Bernadette will represent the Garden State, and will compete in the national pageant for the title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2009. The MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009 will also be held at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, during the week of October 4th - 8th.
Congratulations and the best of luck to Queen Bernadette from all of your NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "sisters"!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Here are some photos taken by Debby Berger, which were in the PHOTO GALLERY, an online news publication, by THE TIMES, OF TRENTON, on Friday, June 5th. Many thanks to Debby for her coverage.

Pianist Elva Lawrence, MSNJSA 1987, played a medley of popular songs that had the audience singing along.

Operatic soprano, Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, sang "Signore, Ascolta", from Puccini's opera, TURANDOT.

Emcee Helen Halpin McCarney, MSSA 2005, did several comedy routines. Here she is, imitating the legendary, comedian, Jimmy Durante.

The following are the Talent Presentations from the Class of 2009, (not necessarily in this order):

Not pictured is Eileen T. Renders, nutritionist, Egg Harbor Township. "A Presentation of Health Issues".

Barby Jo Crema, singer, Oceanville. "The Best From This Moment On".

Judith Webster, singer, Mahwah. "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair".

Barbara Ross, tap dancer, Southampton."42nd Street".

Carole Lelli, dancer, Ocean City. "Charleston".

Kay Vigue, singer, Pleasantville. "Everything's Coming Up Roses".

Gloria Segal, singer, Southampton. "Mr. Cellophane".

Bernadette Dudek, singer, Manchester. "I Could Have Danced All Night".

MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT STATE DIRECTOR, Johanne Santori, provided a break in the talent portion of the the program. She sang the French song, "Hymn a l' amour", and dedicated it to her husband, Adeo.

Mary Helen Hoffman, comedienne, Egg Harbor City. "Humor".

Blanch R. Carter, singer, Egg Harbor. "Teach Me Tonight".

Rebecca Orsatti, singer, Atlantic City. Starting Here, Starting Now".

Outgoing Queen Jo Ann Gordon, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2008, smiled broadly, as she crossed the stage, for her farewell walk. She presented a video montage, which was a nostalgic look back at her reign. After her farewell speech, she sang the song, "Home", from the Broadway show, WICKED.

The CLASS OF 2009, awaiting the judges decision of the top 5 finalists.

Selection of the new Queen, Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009. She is flanked by the Queen's Court: Carol Lelli, 4th runner-up; left/second row: Eileen T. Renders, 3rd runner-up; right/2nd row: Kay Vigue, 2nd runner-up; left/1st row (hugging): Rebecca Orsatti, 1st runner-up; right/1st row.

Outgoing Queen Jo Ann Gordon crowns new Queen, Bernadette Dudek.

Queen Bernadette Dudek, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009, smiles and waves to her subjects.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Last year, Harrah's Resort and Casino became the new home of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT. This year, the 2009 pageant was held on Thursday, June 4th. Elegant ladies 60 years old and over, came from different parts of the Garden State, and graced the stage of the Concert Venue Theater.

The pageant began with a patriotic salute led by the Atlantic City High School Junior ROTC, and a stirring rendition of "God Bless America", was sung by New Jersey State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori. Helen Halpin McCarney served as Mistress of Ceremonies, and was assisted by Johanne Santori. A comedienne and fabulous entertainer, Helen's comedy routines, songs and impersonations brought the house down with laughter. At 93 years young, pianist Elva Lawrence, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 1987, delighted the audience with a surprise medley of songs, and had everyone clapping and singing along. Choreographer Melanie Brough staged a clever number for the contestants to the song "LADY IN RED", in which she also danced. Operatic soprano, Josephine Araniti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2007, sang the aria, "Signore Ascolta", from Puccini's opera, TURANDOT. As her final high Bb rang through the theater, people stood up and shouted "bravo"!

Outgoing queen, Jo Ann Gordon presented a video montage of her year's reign. Her farewell speech was touching and eloquent. She concluded with a poignant rendition of the song "Home", from the Broadway show, WICKED. The audience was moved by her performance and applauded her generously. Jo Ann Gordon, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2008, is a beautiful, intelligent, generous and gracious woman, and as Queen, she stayed true to the ideals of SENIOR AMERICA. She has the love and respect of all her NJ Cameo Club sisters.

The moment finally arrived and a hush fell over the audience, as everyone waited anxiously for the announcement of the judges results. The ladies lined up across the stage, dressed in gorgeous evening gowns, each hoping to be chosen MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009. But, alas, the enviable title could only be awarded to one woman ... and that lucky lady is: BERNADETTE DUDEK! The audience was delighted with the judges decision, as they stood up and applauded and cheered for their new Queen, Bernadette Dudek.

Bernadette comes from Manchester and lives in La Rennaisance Adult Community. A tall and statuesque woman, Bernadette looked stunning, wearing a light blue, A-shaped strapeless gown, with a demure front slit. For her Talent Presentation, she sang a lively rendition of "I Could Have Danced All Night". When her name was called, Bernadette broke down, shedding tears of happiness. Outgoing Queen Jo Ann Gordon, did the honors of crowning Bernadette, pinned on the banner, and presented her with a trophy and a bouquet of red roses. As she took the traditional Queen's walk downstage, Bernadette looked simply radiant, smiling and throwing kisses to all her subjects. Jim Craine, popular Atlantic City entertainer affectionately known as the "singing lifeguard", sang the "Ms New Jersey Senior America" theme song. At that point, all pandemonium broke loose when photographers, family and friends, and well-wishers emerged onto the stage to congratulate their new Queen.

The 2009 Ladies of the Queen's Court includes: REBECCA ORSATTI, vocalist, 1st runner up; KAY VIGUE, vocalist, 2nd runner up; EILEEN T. RENDERS, presentation of health issues, 3rd runner up; CAROL LELLI, dance, 4th runner up.

During the coming year, Bernadette will have many opportunities and responsibilities as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009. One responsibility in particular is to carry on the mission of SENIOR AMERICA INC., which is "to promote the positive aspects of aging". As delegate, Queen Bernadette Dudek will represent the State of New Jersey at the National Pageant, which will also be held at Harrah's, during the week of October 4th - 8th. At that time, she will compete for the title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2009. The NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB are proud to sponsor Bernadette and wish her well.

Anyone else wishing to sponsor her and/or become a patron of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, can call: Mrs. Johanne Santori, Ms New Jersey Senior America State Pageant Director, (609) 822-7441.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Thirteen elegant ladies from the Class of 2009 had the opportunity to meet each at a luncheon that was sponsored by the New Jersey Senior America Cameo Club. The event was held at The Regency at Dover in Toms River, on Monday, May 18th. The luncheon was organized by President Delores Puzio, and committee, which included Lyn Gibson, vice-president, Cathy Clark, secretary, and Doris Criscione, treasurer. Also in attendance, was New Jersey State Pageant Director, Johanne Santori.

This reporter spoke to several ladies afterward, by phone and asked them to comment on the luncheon and the upcoming pageant.

Johanne Santori: All the ladies this year possess brains, poise, talent and beauty. Their preliminary interviews were so impressive ... each lady has a different, yet impressive resume. I expect great things from them all!

Delores Puzio: I was very impressed at the friendliness of all the ladies at the luncheon. They talked to each other very easily, and were supportive of one another. There was much bonding in the room. I welcome them all into our "sisterhood".

Lyn Gibson: Can't wait to see these ladies onstage. They all look so beautiful. I know that they will wow the judges!

Doris Criscione: This class has sold a record amount of tickets. It seems each lady has brought her own fans to cheer her on.

Cathy Clark: Ladies seem quite wired up and eager to go. They look great and come in all shapes and sizes, and each seems to possess a high level of intelligence and sophistication .... something the judges look for.

Jo Ann Gordon: It has been an honor and a pleasure to meet the Class of 2009. I shared some of my experiences as this year's queen, and I hope that I was helpful in giving them a glimpse of all the wonderful things that are in store for them. I wish them well on June 4th, and I look forward to crowning the new queen who will best exemplify the "dignity and maturity of all Senior Americans".

Barby Jo Crema: I think the contestants are all lovely women. We are so lucky to have a beautiful theater like Harrah's. It makes for a more glamorous pageant.

Bernadette Dudek: Every lady is very special, and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet them.

Barbara Ross: The ladies are great. Whatever happens, we are all winners.

Gloria Segal: I was impressed with all the lovely women in this year's class. Last year, I had to drop out of the pageant at the last minute due to illness. I am so happy that this year I was accepted again. I am feeling great and will do my best.

These are just a few comments from our fabulous ladies. The stage at Harrah's is ready. The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009 is just days away. Who will be crowned the new queen, who will then go on to represent the Garden State in the national pageant in October?

Come on down to witness all the glitter and glamour for yourself at Harrah's Resort and Casino on Thursday, June 4th, Concert Venue Theater, at 1:00 pm sharp. Tickets are $10.00 and are still available at the door.

Friday, May 15, 2009


"Curtain up! Light the lights! They've got nothing to hit but the heights!" The paraphrased words of this popular song from the musical "Gypsy" describe the atmosphere at Harrah's in Atlantic City these days. The air is filled with excitement in anticipation of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009. On Thursday, June 4th, thirteen beautiful ladies who have reached the "age of elegance", or 60 years and over, will grace the stage of the Concert Venue Theater, to compete for the coveted title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009.

This year's class started out with 15 women, but 2 dropped out for personal reasons. The thirteen gracious ladies who remain, have been busy sharpening their skills to impress the judges. They will be judged in 4 catagories: Evening Gown, Philosophy of Life, Personal Interview, and Talent.

The time has come to reveal the list of the Class of 2009 to all our members, sponsors, patrons and faithful readers to our blog. You are getting advance notice, in the hope that you will spread the word to your family and friends, and fill the theater for the afternoon show which begins at 1:00 pm sharp.

They are, in random order:

1. BARBY JO CREMA - Singer
7. MARY HELEN HOFFMAN - Comedienne
8. GLORIA SEGAL - Singer
9. CAROLE LELLI - Dancer
10. BLANCH CARTER - Singer
12. BARBARA ROSS - Dancer
13. KAY VIGUE - Singer

There they are! What songs will they sing and dance to? Who is the funniest or the most profound? Well, that's for you to find out. So, come to the pageant, and cheer your favorite "elegant lady" on to victory! Don't forget to bring paper and pencil, and keep your own "score". It's fun to see if your score agrees with the judges. See if you can choose the "elegant lady" who best exemplifies the dignity and maturity of all Senior Americans as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009.

Friday, May 8, 2009


"age of elegance"


FROM: Josephine Araniti/ Publicity, NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA
6 Piedmont Court
Brick, NJ 08724 (732) 202-1494; e-mail:



Lights! Music! Action! Fifteen elegant ladies, 60 years and older, who come from different parts of the Garden State, will grace the stage at Harrah’s to compete for the coveted title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2009.

Harrah’s Resort Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City will again host the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009. The event will be held on Thursday, June 4th in the Concert Venue Theater at 1:00 pm.

Contestants are judged in four categories: Interview, Philosophy of Life, Evening Gown, and Talent. Upon winning the State title, the Queen becomes the delegate from New Jersey and will compete in the national pageant which will also be held at Harrah’s in October.

Back by popular demand, comedienne Helen Halpin McCarney, who is also Ms Senior America 2005, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Outgoing Queen JoAnn Gordon of Brick, will deliver her farewell address, sing, and crown the winner. The program will include an operatic performance, popular singers, a pianist, dancers, and the appearance of local dignitaries. The pageant is rated general, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at the door, or ahead of time, by calling (732) 323-9034.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Little did the 3 Queens from the New Jersey Cameo Club realize how happy they made the members of the Ocean Township Rotary Club, on Wednesday, April 15th. Current NJSA Queen Jo Ann Gordon coordinated the appearance for the Rotary Club's weekly luncheon which was held at The Renaissance Hotel in Ocean Township. She asked Josephine Araniti, MS NJSA 2007, and Delores Puzio, MS DELAWARE SA 2008 to appear with her. The ladies were invited to a sumptuous lunch beforehand. They thought that the members who sat at their table were so interesting to talk to and were very gracious dinner companions.

Of special interest which occurred during lunch was a fun activity called "happy dollars". Any member could stand up and tell about what made them happy, or sometimes sad, and then offer as many "dollars" that they wished to. The dollars then go into the Club's treasury. That afternoon, one member after another welcomed the 3 Queens, putting in 3 dollars each time. Later, it was revealed that the ladies' presence helped to raise quite a bit of money.

At the conclusion of lunch, the 3 Queens were invited to the podium. Josephine spoke about the history of Senior America, Inc. and New Jersey Senior America: Jo Ann talked about the Ms New Jersey Senior America Pageant: and Delores spoke about the New Jersey Cameo Club. The ladies entertained beautifully, and received a warm applause and standing ovation from an adoring audience.

Kudos to the 3 Queens. You made the "sisterhood" proud!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Elva Lawrence is a very special lady. At 92 years young, she is still a performing member of the New Jersey Cameo Club. An accomplished pianist, she delights audiences young and old with her surprise "twists" on the piano classics. At first, you think that you were in for 10 minutes of "long haired" music. Then, after a serious introduction, and a flurry of fanfares, she does a quick reversal, and plays one popular song after another, meshing each tune with the skill of a true artist. Eventually, her performance becomes a sing-a-long, and everyone has a great time singing together.

The following interview, which is done in Q & A format, reveals Elva's unique and interesting story:
Q: How did you hear about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT?

A: Through Jan Dickenson, who was the New Jersey State Queen in 1986, and also MS SENIOR AMERICA 1986. We both lived in Leisuretown in Southampton. She became my coach, and helped me through many rough spots.

Q: How old were you when you entered the pageant, and where was the State pageant held?

A: 70 years young. The fabulous Resorts in Atlantic City.

Q: Is it true that you play the organ, piano, digital keyboard, and accordian?
Which instrument did you choose for your talent presentation?

A. Yes. Piano. I played the Warsaw Concerto, with a surprise ending, playing the music of Scott Joplin.

Q: I understand that you are one of the guest artists who
will perform at the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2009. How do you feel about it?

A. I am honored and humbled to be a part of the show, and I thank
our State Director Johanne Santori for choosing me. I am promising
a performance on the piano filled with new musical surprises
and twists, that will keep the audience humming and jumping!

Q: What was special in the year(s) following your reign?

A: In the year of my reign, I entertained regularly with
the NJ Cameo Club. Then, a year later, when Carol Einhorn,
also from Leisuretown won the State title 1988,
we received an invitation from the Burlington School District
to do educational programs. So, we formed a group called
"The Crown Jewels". It consisted of of we 3 Queens:
Jan Dickenson, me, and Carol Einhorn.
We toured the elementary schools there, on behalf of
NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA. Our goal was to form
a bond with the younger generation. The shows were fun,
and the kids were so dear. Our program lasted for 3 years.
I am so proud to have had the chance to promote
the positive aspects of aging in this way.

Q: Besides your busy schedule with NJ Cameo Club, what is your life like today?

A: At the present time I play accordian with
the Sterling String Band, and we have many "gigs",
ranging from senior organizations, to civic groups.
Our fees are inexpensive, and people love danciing to our music.
I also sing tenor in a female barbershop group called,
"The Harmonizers".

Q: Sounds like your life is very full. Will you ever retire?

A: Not a chance. Slow down, maybe a little. Music has
always been part of my life, and I just can't imagine myself
not getting involved in one way or another.

Thank you Elva for being such an inspiration to us all.
We can't wait to hear you play at this year's pageant. that you have read Elva's wonderful story, please mark your calendars and come on down to cheer your favorite contestant on! Come hear Elva play, and enjoy other fabulous performers as well. The pageant promises lots of "glitter and glam", and the variety show is suitable for the whole family.