Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, and the ladies of the QUEEN'S COURT.

Hello, and Greetings from the Great State of NEW JERSEY, the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization!

We are reaching out to expand our readership to include our "sisters" nationwide through their State Pageant Directors. We hope that you will read our blog and website from time to time and catch up with all our latest news. Our blog is now in its 3rd year, and there have been many articles of interest published. If you want to read any story, just click on the title on the left. They are dated by month and year. The following article is an overview of the year's activities for your perusal. Enjoy! Remember to include our blog in your contact list: www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.blogspot.com.

"Fast away the Old Year passes ... welcome in the New, lads and lasses!" So true are the words of the familiar carol, Deck the Halls. The year 2011 was good for the elegant ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT. Our ladies gave many showcases throughout the State, thanks to the efforts of our Showcase Director, Delores Puzio. The current board of officers, brought much needed clarity, leadership and transparency to the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and created a positive climate to allow its members to express their views and criticisms freely. The annual Holiday Celebration was such fun, thanks to the efforts of Sherri McGhie and her committee. Our official website, www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org. made its debut last spring, thanks to the hard work of our President, Dale Maglia, and photos by Sherri McGhie. Special thanks to Jo Ann Gordon, Vice President, for designing the 2011 Calendar, the beautiful jewelry and name tags, and to Johanne Santori, for our new jackets with the MSNJSA logo.

The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011, received Statewide coverage in the STAR LEDGER, and a feature video on their website, and The Press of Atlantic City also continued its coverage. The Pageant was seen nationally on TV this year, when it was featured on the STYLE Channel, on the show, "JERSEYLICIOUS". Kudos to MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Johanne Santori, for reaching out and getting us this much need exposure! A newly formed group, THE GREAT DAMES CHORUS, under the directorship of Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, is scheduled to make its debut at the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2012.

On the other hand, there was, sadness for us this year, because we had to say "adieu" to many of our "sisters." The long time members who moved away to other States ... to you, we wish you good luck in your new homes. To those who are ill, we hope that you have a speedy recovery and return to us. To those who passed away ... to you, we say, rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon you. To those who have kept away, for other reasons ... please come back, we need you, your talent, your strength, and the joy you bring to this organization.

In closing, the following is a lovely poem written by Joanna Fuchs. Enjoy!


Looking back on the months gone by,
As a new year starts and an old one ends,
We contemplate what brought us joy,
And we think of our loved ones and our friends.
Recalling all the happy times,
Remembering how they enriched our lives,
We reflect upon who really counts,
As the fresh and bright new year arrives.
And when I/we ponder those who do,
I/We immediately think of you.
Thanks for being one of the reasons I'll/We'll
have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Cameras were clicking and flashing from several parts of the room .... It's no wonder .... these elegant ladies not only looked beautiful, but each one was at her peak performance level yesterday. Pictured from left to right are: Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, DIRECTOR, PUBLICITY/PUBLIC RELATIONS and GREAT DAMES CHORUS; Marge Wanamaker; Delores Puzio, MSDESA 2008 and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE DIRECTOR; Dale Maglia, PRESIDENT, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB; Desiree Nigrelli, MSNJSA 2011; Rebecca Orsatti, MSNJSA 2010; Johanne Santori, MSNJSA 2006, and MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR; and Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA 2008, and VICE-PRESIDENT, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. Kudos to these beauties for a job well done!

Most people view run-ins with the law with trepidation, but, for a group of ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, yesterday's encounter turned out to be quite a pleasant affair. They were invited by the POLICE DEPARTMENT, CITY OF NEW YORK, JERSEY SHORE 10-13 ASSOCIATION, to perform at their 26TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY. The event was held at DOOLAN'S SHORE CLUB in Spring Lake Heights.

Upon arrival, the ladies were treated to drinks, by the Association's President, Al Beneducci, and then to a sumptuous sit-down dinner. Afterwords, they gave a show for 250 patrolmen, detectives and their spouses, and guests. All the ladies gave stellar performances, and the audience showed their appreciation and gratitude with enthusiastic applause for each lady's performance.

The spirit of the holiday season was high yesterday, and all of the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB hope that it will continue during the coming year. So, here's wishing all of you who read this blog a MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! And, last but not least, as the comedian Jerry Seinfeld once coined the phrase, "HAPPY FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!"

Want more? Visit our State website: www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org.

Thinking of becoming a contestant in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2012? Call MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Johanne Santori and learn all about it! 609-822-7441.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The stars shone brightly last night, to welcome the elegant ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB and other invited guests, as they gathered together for the 13th ANNUAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION, at La Bove Grande Restaurant in Lakehurst. It was a delightful evening, filled with fun, laughter, good cheer, and great music, and a delicious buffet dinner, complete with a mimosa fountain that flowed all night long. Enjoy the photo gallery from that fabulous evening!
In the first photo above, Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, entertains her "sisters" and guests with her soulful rendition of the popular balled, "AT LAST".
Queen Desiree Nigrelli and husband Martin, move easily across the dance floor as they enjoy a slow ballad to the music of the ever so talented singer/DJ, Steve Berger.
Why is Adeo so happy ... he is surrounded by a bevvy of beauties ... his lovely wife Johanne Santori, MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and her friends from the MISS AMERICA PAGEANT organization. Kudos to these great ladies who help us out each year with our pageant!
Two happy couples beam for the camera: Rebecca Orsatti, MSNJSA2010, and Desiree Nigrelli, MSNJSA2011.
Looking stylish and elegant are: Jo Ann Gordon,MSNJSA2008 and Vice President, New Jersey Cameo Club. Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA2009, standing Barbi Jo Crema, and Josephine Araniti,MSNJSA2007, Director, Publicity/Public Relations, and Director Great Dames Chorus.
Same photo as above, with Carol Lelli, sitting down. Jo Ann also served on the committee for the Annual Holiday Celebration.
Phyllis Burton and Pauline Petto, together with their spouses, enjoying each others company.
The "sisters" from Leisuretown were excellent examples of charm and elegance. From left to right: Lyn Gibson,MSNJSA2000, Gloria Segal, Marianne Szumski, and Leah Whelan, 1st runner up, MSNJSA PAGEANT,2011.
In the background are Patricia Franz and husband. During the evening, Maria Crowell and her dancing partner, dazzled everyone with an elegant ballroom dance.
Kay Vigue and husband were especially proud to watch their daughter Melanie, who encouraged many ladies to get out onto the dance floor and follow her as she made up impromptu dance routines.
Rose Majofsky (our lady in red), and husband made friends with the parents and friends of Jo Ann Gordon.
Eileen Renders, and Norma Cruz Vasquez take a rest in between dances. Singer-DJ Steve Berger and wife Debbie kept everyone on their feet dancing the night away to so many great tunes.
Laverne Stokes, MSSA1985, brought all her friends. Maybe they will decide to become future contestants in the MSNJSA PAGEANT!
Delores Puzio, MSDESA2008, raises a toast, cuddling under the protective arm of her friend Bob, and Sherri McGhie and Uncle smile in agreement.
Sitting are Norma McGhie, MSNJSA1995, and husband Roy,and standing are Patricia Oravetz MSNJSA2001 and husband. Norma and Sherri chaired the committee for this year's party. Thanks for a wonderful evening!

Another reason the evening was so special was to welcome back those "sisters" who have been out due to illness of their own, or their spouses.
Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007, was also able to attend this year's party, and brought her husband Nazmi.
Marge Wanamaker enjoys a friendly hug from Ethel Sullivan, as Brenda Christian, Dale Maglia, President, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and another committee member, and Rosa Cuomo, smile broadly for the camera.
Pictured above are: Fran Lundeen, Agnes Raimondi, Grace Luong0, MSFLSA1993, and friends.

It is come to this reporter's attention that there is no picture of Delores Peronace, MSNJSA2002. She wasn't at table when I went around the room, and I didn't realize that I had omitted her until I was at home writing this article. Sorry for the omission. I hope I didn't leave any other NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB lady out. Please contact me if I did.

Thanks again to the committee for a job well done! MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, and, as the comedian Jerry Seinfeld coined the phrase, HAPPY FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

For more photos of the 13th Annual Holiday Celebration, please visit our website: www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Kudos to our directors for their foresight and vision, and for making the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT the best in the county!


A long held dream of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTORS, Adeo and Johanne Santori has been realized, the inclusion of a chorus as part of the entertainment during the pageants. Johanne enlisted the help of Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007, appointed her as director, and told her to come up with a plan. After a week of e-mails and phone calls, the idea was enthusiastically received by many NJCC members.

The group is called, THE GREAT DAMES CHORUS, has 38 members and is still growing, the majority of whom are singers, and the rest are dancers, mimes, and specialty acts. Their debut performance will be at the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2012, in June, the exact date yet to be announced.

THE GREAT DAMES CHORUS will do a number called "BROADWAY LADIES", a medley of 3 all-time hits songs, We're In The Money, Big Spender, and Whatever Lola Wants". The format is Show Chorus, a style of performing that has been made popular by the hit TV series, "GLEE". Instead of the traditional row-like formation, the ladies will stand in clusters, with the singers singing and moving in place, while the dancers and others do a choreographed routine.

Special thanks go to Joan Kaplan, NJCC Treasurer, who arranged the rehearsal space, which is the American Legion Post #166, in Lakewood. Much luck to everyone on this new venture!

As always, please go to our website for other news, events and photos: www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB BOARD OF DIRECTORS, second on the left, DALE MAGLIA, President; extreme left, JO ANN GORDON, Vice-President; second on the right, AGNES TRASCHETTI, Secretary; and extreme right, JOAN KAPLAN, Treasurer.
The members of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB held their quarterly luncheon/meeting on Wednesday, October 25th, at the American Legion Post #166 in Lakewood. The agenda was full of items of interest to the membership. Some of the highlights of their meeting include: the introduction of the new Queen, Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011. She talked briefly about her experience at the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011, her written proclamations she received from local and State agencies, her philosophy of life and her vision about what she hopes to accomplish during this year of her reign.

Another issue of concern was the growing number of ladies who were unable to attend the meeting due to serious and/or life threatening illnesses, many of whom have been so vital to the growth of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB and the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization. It was decided that the membership should keep in continued touch with them, not only by sending cards, but with phone calls as well.

The last item on the day's agenda was the election of officers, a process which occurs every two years. As there were no opposing candidates seeking to run for any of the 4 positions, the current slate of officers, won easy re-election by a unanimous vote which was cast by the members who were in attendance.

The four officers who will serve another 2 year term are:

DALE MAGLIA, President. "I came in 3rd runner up in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2006. I have 3 married children, Maria, Theresa, and Garrod, and 5 grandchildren, Breanne, Gabriel, Natalie, Nicole and Zakary. I worked most of my life up until
2 1/2 years ago, as an Administrative Assistant. I have been a member of Sweet Adelines, Inc., a womens' barbershop group, for 45 years. My quartet, "Ricochet", has sung at many shows, organizations, competitions, etc. I also love to country line dance once or twice a week, and, most of all, I enjoy being with my family and friends.
There is so much talent among our NJCC members, and so, as we go forward, working together as a team, I believe that there is no limit as to how far we can go to further the goals of our Club. On behalf of myself and our Board of Directors, we look forward to continue to work with Johanne Santori, our MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA State Pageant Director, to make the NJCC and the MSNJSA State Pageant, the best in the country".

JO ANN GORDON, Vice-President, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2008, a retired public school teacher of 38 years, taught in the Neptune Township School System, where she learned Sign Language, in order to participate in the hearing impairment and special education programs.
A big band singer, Jo Ann has sung backup for Paul Anka, toured Europe, and has recorded CDs.
After winning reelection, Jo Ann joked with her sisters that the only reason she won was because everyone loves her homemade brownies! Although that is true, it is the flair she possesses as an entrepreneur that really makes her stand out. Her suggestions to the other Board members have led to several improvements to the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB during her first 2 year term. There was a need to upgrade the sound system, so, she enlisted the help of Johanne Santori, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR. Johanne agreed to fund the project from the Pageant account, thus enabling Jo Ann to purchase an excellent state of the art sound system. She taught other CLUB members how to operate the system at NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB shows when she is not able to attend. Jo Ann had a personalized 2010 NJCC calendar printed which included beautiful color group photos of our members as the theme for each month. She worked with a local jewelry designer who created a special magnetized name pin with the NJCC logo, and beautiful costume jewelry of crown pins, and cameo rings.

AGNES TRASCHETTI, Secretary, grew up in Newark, NJ, and now resides in Toms River with her husband, Dominick. Agnes was runner up in the 2004 Pageant. She has 2 children, 1 grandson, 4 step grand-kids, and 1 great-granddaughter. Her hobbies include: playing the piano, singing, gourmet cooking, dining out, entertaining with the NJCC, mah-jong, poker, and dancing. Agnes is also Secretary of the Holiday City/Silver Ridge Italian-American Club for the past 7 years. Her philosophy of life is, "I believe that life is a smorgasbord, and we can keep tasting till our life no longer exists. Tasting life is part of living, whether the taste is sweet or bitter".
I feel we have a great thing going in our "Sisterhood" of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and we can only be strong, if we pull together as one".

JOAN KAPLAN, Secretary, has 5 children, 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She gives words of wisdom to them from time to time, and these same words she would pass on to the younger generation as well, which is, "think before you do anything, and always turn to God when you're in trouble".
Joanie is loved by her "sisters", for her jovial nature, and her great alto voice, that she uses so well when she performs the old songs.
She served as Councilwomen from Lakehurst, NJ during the years 1984-87.
Joan has devoted her life as volunteer for many organizations and civic groups. She serves as Head of Ushers at All Saints Episcopal Church. As a volunteer at Kimball Medical Center (12 years), Joan used to sing to the patients during her daily rounds; mediator for Small Claims and Superior Court, Toms River, and for Manchester Township Civil Court. She is Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary Post #166, Lakewood, for 42 years.
Her philosophy of life is: "be kind, passionate and try not be judgmental. Remember, God never gives you more than you can handle".
Joan's vision for the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is she hopes, that as our club grows, we will add more performances for our veterans.

Congratulations to all 4 ladies on your re-election, on whose leadership this Club has been entrusted. We (members) witnessed a healthy growth in the last 2 years, and we are confident that the next 2 will be more of the same.

As always, you can also follow us on our website at: www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


The first time filing onstage, we announced our name and State ... I was #2.

These next 2 photos are from The Opening Number which was a dance. We performed the same routine at the 2 Preliminaries and for the Final Pageant.

The finale of our dance

The PERSONAL INTERVIEW with the judges was held on the first day. The session lasted 5 minutes and I believe it went well. The judges made some favorable comments to me before I left.

These 2 photos were from the TALENT PRESENTATION, one from the preliminary and one at the finals, in which I wore different gowns. I sang "Crazy", and the audience gave me a warm applause for my performance.

Another photo of me singing.

After 2 days of Preliminaries, the day of the Final Pageant arrived, and my name had just been called for making the TOP TEN of the entire country! Here I am beaming with pride, holding onto my plaque.

3 contestants congratulating me after I won TOP TEN, and telling me that they hope I win the Crown!

My 2 grandchildren, who took the day off from school especially for me!

With MS OKLAHOMA 2011 ... we are now buddies!

The photo above, and the 3 that follow, were taken during the evening of the DINNER/DANCE that was given by the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization. My husband Martin and I enjoyed a wonderful evening of good food, and dancing, and camaraderie, together with our family and my newly found friends.

With Jane Freed, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB sister

With my buddy, MS OKLAHOMA 2011

With Suzanne Shelley, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2006. Suzanne was very supportive of me the whole week, and we will be visiting each other this year.

The crown I won, was the crowd approval and the confirmation of the other contestants who believed I would walk away with the Crown.

It means so much more when your peers have chosen you. They have continued their support of me by forwarding many gifts with crowns or some regal adornment. I am blessed to have such recognition.

God has always made me a winner.
The pageant was worth gaining such notoriety from so many talented and educated women.

One new friend and her family sent this to me: "A truly beautiful person is like a stained glass window, it sparkles and shines with so many facets when the sun is out; then when darkness comes its true beauty is revealed only from the light within."

I am awed at my VICTORY!

Two websites have more information about Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 211:www.senioramerica.org, and www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org.

Friday, October 7, 2011



The MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011 is now history. The event was held during the week of October 2nd to 6th, at Harrah's Resort and Casino, in the Concert Venue Theater.

After two grueling days of preliminaries, a discerning panel of judges voted Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, into the Top Ten. The Top Ten is the "inner circle", that includes the best "ladies of elegance" nationwide, who get one more chance to compete in the final competition. Preceded only by the actual Queen and her Court (which consists of the 4 runners up), the Top Ten is a most enviable place to be.

As the delegate from New Jersey, Desiree looked beautiful and stylish, elegant, and charming, and her grace generated audience appeal. She performed effortlessly in the 3 catagories that were seen by the audience, that include: Philosophy of Life; Evening Gown; and Talent. The 4th, was the Private Interview with the panel of judges.

With the pageant behind her, Desiree now returns to her busy schedule of appearances and performances throughout the Garden State. Kudos to a wonderful woman on a job well done!

For coverage and results of the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011, click on the following link: http://www.senioramerica.org/ . For photos of Desiree Nigrelli, log on to our website: http://www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org/ , or http://www.njsramericacameoclub.org/.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Me and my dog "Bodacious Bogart" (Bichon), on our porch, after a NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB show.

Soon after winning the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, Desiree was a guest on the Pinky Kravitz radio show. She is chaperoned by MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Johanne Santori.

At a 4th of July parade, Desiree stands proudly with Vietnam War veterans.

Parades are always fun. Here, Desiree and last year's Queen, Rebecca Orsatti, ride in an antique car, on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Her winning smile wins over a crowd of approving fans.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB gave a show at Kennedy Mall on the boardwalk in Atlantic City in August. Desiree delivered a great performance that evening.

At a recent show, Desiree removed her crown and banner to honor wounded Veteran's and to observe the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center Bombing. She sang, "Proud To be An American".

Many warm thoughts are being sent to you, dear Desiree, as you prepare for the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011 next month. Keep them near, and they will sustain you on your wonderful journey!


I have so many wishes
That I've stored up in my heart
Today I sit here thinking
I'm not sure where to start.
I wish to send you smiles
So that all throughout your day
You'll think of only happy things
And life will go your way
Next, I wish to send you hugs
The warm and snugly kind
You'll feel them with you constantly
More sincere hugs you could not find.
Of course, I wish you lots of love
Forever and especially for you
A heart filled with love so sweet
Never-ending and Oh, so true.
Sunshine and laughter and all happy things
I wish for you today
And all God's Blessings be with you
Forever and in so many ways.
published by .... Angel Wings, 2001

Follow your dreams for they will always lead you in the right direction. Josephine Araniti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2007/PUBLICITY
Please visit our website http://www.njsramericacameoclub.org/, or http://www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org/, for more information on Queen Desiree Nigrelli, and the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011.To a special friend who's heart is full of love and compassion. You are the best ... I said that from the moment I met you and I truly wish for this National Pageant to be a wonderful experience for you. There is no doubt you will be the MS SENIOR AMERICA 2011 ...
Fondly, Your Friend .....
Mary Ann Andrews. All you can do is the best you can do. So sing your heart out! ... Agnes Traschetti
Buona Fortuna, in Italian means Good Luck, as do the others, Ve"els Geluk in South African, and the next two are African dialects; nkore, nkore, and siyaguhaly ...
LUV, Silvia Silano

Dear Queen Desiree,

When I had the pleasure to meet you last Spring, I was very impressed with not only your beautiful look, but the complete lady that you are. Your life is full of accomplishments that would make a perfect MS SENIOR AMERICA. We are very proud of you and that you will represent our State, and we know that you will shine with all your qualities. Have a wonderful time and enjoy every second. You are building a memory that your family will always cherish. You will make lots of friends all over the United States, and that is very special.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The summer of 2011 was as hot as it was busy for the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. To paraphrase the motto from the US Postal Service, neither the excessive heat and humidity, nor the abundance of rainfall and other natural disasters, deterred our elegant ladies from "performing their expected rounds". The following is a recap of some of their summer activities.

The ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB worked together with the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, and helped State Director Johanne Santori to make the 2011 pageant a success. At the July meeting, they prepared a special luncheon and bought a cake to honor the new queen, Desiree Nigrelli.

There were many NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES during the 3 month period, and our great ladies gave dazzling performances for a variety of age-related audiences. The shows gave people the chance to meet and hear the current Queen, and to wish her well as she prepares for the National Pageant. The songs of Desiree Nigrelli, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, have brought much joy, and her encouraging words have given hope to our audiences.

The highlight of the summer, was the outdoor show at the Kennedy Mall on the boardwalk in Atlantic City in August. Ominous weather was in the forecast for the Sunday evening performance, but the rain held out just long enough for the show to go on. The show was in a variety format, and included songs, dances and humor that was enjoyed by a family oriented audience. Kudos go to Delores Puzio, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE DIRECTOR, for arranging such an ambitious summer schedule.

The long awaited website was finally launched, www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org, thanks to Dale Maglia, president of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. Although there are no photos in this article, the website includes many from the summer.

The one event that disappointed everyone and ignited a firestorm of angry opinion, was the airing of portions of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011, as seen through the eyes of the writers of the show, JERSEYLICIOUS, on the Style Network. Although the show reached a national viewing audience, it did nothing to capture the essence of the pageant, since its writers portrayed women in the "age of elegance" in an unfavorable and untrue fashion.

For the most part, last summer was a good time for the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB. They have done their best to make a difference, in the lives of the people they touched. Their record of achievements far outweigh any occasional disappointment, and only makes them work harder to dispel injustices that have befallen them and to people in their age group. They look forward with enthusiasm to the coming year, and welcome whatever challenges that might lay ahead.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The gracious women who make up the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB lead busy and productive lives in their own communities, and, each in her own way, exemplifies the philosophy of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT: which is, "to promote the positive aspects of aging". At the July meeting, they participated in an informal survey to discover what life is like once they had reached the "age of elegance", or, 60 years and over. The results are in, and can be summed up in the following categories: (1) have fun; (2) strive to touch someone every day; (3) continue to make your voice heard. Forty women participated, and although it is not possible to mention each one by name, the survey did show that most of the ladies are involved in these 3 aforementioned categories.

This can be anything from: doing puzzles, reading, writing poetry, traveling, equestrian riding, going to sports events; keeping fit by playing golf, running, water aerobics, kayaking, karate, and belonging to health clubs; flower arranging, arts and crafts, cooking and giving dinner parties, sewing, modeling, gardening; belonging to other clubs/groups IE: musical, theatrical, opera chorus, dance, church choir or cantor; playing the piano, learning another language; teaching hula and tap dancing; tutoring children, and teaching animal therapy.
Some ladies write, produce, and direct shows in their communities, others sing in small groups, and some perform one-woman shows of her own, or sing with dance bands.

Grand parenting, taking care of a beloved spouse, and taking care of home bound neighbors, is the top priority in this category, while other ladies do volunteer work at local hospitals, schools, day care centers, the American Cancer Society, veterans' homes and the public library. Some are active in their church, IE: head ushers, Eucharistic ministers, Pastor Emeritus. Lastly, some help out at the local humane society, and others adopt and take care of animals in their homes.

Some ladies still work full time at their own businesses, while others work full or part time in the public and private sectors. Lastly, our ladies serve of boards of local philanthropic and artistic groups, and others take an active interest by speaking out and writing on matters of concern involving their Town, State and Nation.

No, our wonderful ladies do not sit in rocking chairs pining and letting the world pass them by. They use it, rather, to gently rock an ailing baby, or to calm a young child who is afraid of the storm. They appear at county fairs, not as little grannies, selling apple pies or jars of pickles, but as smartly dressed entrepreneurs of their newly formed companies, passing out samples and business cards to passersby. They are out there making a difference, raising an awareness that seniors are the foundation of America, upon which the younger generations can build a better society.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Members of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization have been eagerly awaiting coverage of the 2011 pageant on the Style Network. Last night it aired on the popular reality show, "JERSEYLICIOUS".

Since true reality is not that interesting, the producers of the show created a story line, a rivalry between 2 beauty consultants, Tracy and Olivia. Tracy's grandmother, Catherine Schroeder, had entered the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011, and Tracy was determined to help her out to be the best that she could be. She presented the idea of doing hair and makeup for all 13 contestants to Gayle, the owner of the Gatsby beauty salon. Her idea was accepted and a crew of hair and makeup specialists were assigned to the pageant.

Now, fast forward to June 2nd, the day of the pageant, and the scene is the contestants' dressing room at Harrah's in Atlantic City. After the crew meets the ladies, Olivia becomes partial to one contestant, Patricia Genovese, and offers her advice and options for 4 different "looks". Tracy overhears their conversation, and takes Olivia aside; accusations abound, resulting into a full blown cat fight with no holds barred. Patricia and Catherine were great in their roles: Patricia played a very agressive and competitive contestant who wanted to win no matter what the cost; and Catherine was calm, complacent, and just wanted everyone to get along.

The writers for "JERSEYLICIOUS" followed the standard formula as far as reality shows go: there were 3 other storylines that filled out the hour, with coverage of the pageant lasting about 12 minutes in all. The segment reached the expected conclusion with the crowning of the new Queen Desiree Nigrelli, with Tracy and Olivia expressing their disapointment that neither of their 2 faves had won.

The one major criticism of the show was the confusion over where the pageant actually was held. There were scenes showing the boardwalk, and the outside of Convention Hall, thus implying that the pageant was held there. Just to set the record straight, all who attended the pageant know that it was held at Harrah's. The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT enjoys an ongoing relationship with Harrah's, and this year is the organization's 4th year with the hotel/casino, since leaving the Taj Mahal.

Cudos to the crew of makeup artists and hairstylists from "JERSEYLICIOUS" for doing a fantastic job of making each contestant look so beautiful. However, the show's writers did not do a good job of capturing the essence of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, nor did they give the women who have entered into the "age of elegance" the respect they so richly deserve.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB held its quarterly meeting at the America Legion Post 166, in Lakewood, yesterday. The July meeting is always a special time, because the members get to meet and greet their new queen and the CLASS of 2011. Members were treated to a tasty luncheon buffet of fried chicken, several salads, Jo Ann Gordon's (MSNJSA 2008) famous vanilla brownies, and a huge sheet cake, with the words, WELCOME TO THE CLASS OF 2011 on it.

Unfortunately, Desiree Nigrelli, MS NJSA 2011 was unable to attend, due to the unexpected passing of a family friend, and the funeral was at the same time. It seemed that yesterday turned out to be a surreal day for Desiree ..... a day that started out with sadness, then, later on, turned into a happy time. She was invited by Mayor Langford and the members of the Atlantic City Town Council to appear at City Hall at 5:00 pm, to receive a Proclamation of Achievement, for winning the title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011. Congratulations!

Meanwhile, back at the meeting .... after lunch, the new members were introduced, given a photo CD from the pageant, and an article from The Current newspaper, as mementos of their participation in the pageant. NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB President, Dale Maglia went on to conduct the meeting, and many items were discussed.

One item, of special interest, was the long awaited installation of our new website. She announced to everyone that it is up and running. There are several departments of interest, and lots of photos, past and present. Dale says our website will continue to evolve and grow over time, but for the present, is is something the members can be proud of and tell their friends and family to check out. Click on this link and enjoy! http://www.msnewjerseysenioramerica.org/ .

Henceforth, this blog will be connected to our new website. The reader can continue reading the articles in journal form, and then log on to our website for other news, events and up to date information. Way to go, Dale!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Rebecca Orsatti, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2010, won 1st place prize. She impressed the judges in many ways. One in particular, was the rhythmic complexity of her song, "Don't Rain On My Parade". They praised her for her looks, and showmanship, noting from Rebecca's biography, that she was truly born to sing. Sherri McGhie, won 2nd place prize. She aroused the judges and audience with her salty rendition of the country favorite, "Harper Valley PTA". She told the naughty tale with witt and humor, and possessed a rich earthy vocal tone which was noted by the judges.

Sunday June 26th, was a proud day for the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, when, 4 fabulous former Queens plus our very own Sherri McGhie, took center stage. Generous words of praise abounded from the lips of the 3 judges. Each elegant lady gave powerful, distinctive, and impressive performances, making it impossible for them to find anything to be critical about.

Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007, sang "Where Or When". Dressed in a sexy red dress, she set out to give the great performance that her NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB sisters, have grown to admire and respect. Two of the judges remembered her from a previous contest at the Algonquin Theater, that she participated in last year, and rekindled that memory when they commented on her performance.

Johanne Santori, MSNJSA 2006, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, sang "C'est Si Bonne", with style, glamour and grace. The judges commented on her elegant performance, and noted that her rendition had just the right amount of sexy sophistication.

JoAnn Gordon, MSNJSA 2008, and Vice-President of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, was the last to perform among the group of 18 finalists. Her song, "Orange Colored Sky", was a happy and positive way to end the Shore Senior Idol Contest. The judges took note of the fact that she sang with so much joy and confidence, and had the audience tapping their feet to her lively song.

The program was held together by lovely Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA 2009, and 2009 winner of Senior Idol. As Emcee, she kept the program running smoothly, giving clear and interesting commentary on the different aspects of the contest. At the opening of act 2, she sang, "You'll Never Walk Alone", to which she received a heart warming applause.

The 3rd place prize went to George Aline, who sang an Al Jolson classic, "Rock a Bye Your Baby".

We can be proud of our ladies .... they are out there having fun, and giving inspiration to all they touch. As one of the contestants, I can only say, how happy I was to be a finalist in the Shore Senior Idol Contest, and to be among a group of 18 dynamic seniors who gave their best in what turned out to be great family show!

Friday, June 17, 2011



Now that pageant fever has calmed down, another exciting event is soon approaching, the 3rd Annual Shore Senior Idol Contest. Four MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA QUEENS + SHERRI MCGHIE made the finals, and will join with 13 other contestants, at the Algonquin Arts Theater in Manasquan, on Sunday, June 26th at 3:00 pm.

Besides Sherri McGhie, the Queens are: Johanne Santori, MSNJSA 2006, and MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR; Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007; JoAnn Gordon, MSNJSA 2008; and Rebecca Orsatti, MSNJSA 2010.

The contestants met at the Algonquin Theater for the first time on Thursday, June 16th. Director Gina Lupi, gave a brief welcome and orientation speech, and rehearsed the opening number with the group. Afterwards, everyone got the chance to go over their solos with the sound crew.

There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation in auditorium that day. Everyone has their "eye on the prize(s)". Who will win, place or show?" That's a secret that only the 3 judges know!

The contestants, with talent "on loan from God", pledge to perform their very best. In particular, our 4 Queens + Sherri McGhie, possess extraordinary vocal prowess that their NEW JERSY CAMEO CLUB sisters know and love.

This year's 3rd Shore Senior Idol Contest will be hosted by another Queen, Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA 2009. There will be a special performance by the Shore Repertory Theatre Company's production of NUNSENSE!

Please plan to attend and support our great ladies! The Shore Senior Idol Contest, is rated general, and can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Tickets are: $15.00, and can be purchased at the box office or in advance.

Call: (732) 528-9211, or go to: www.algonquinarts.org.

Friday, June 3, 2011


"The results are in and the winner is"..... This is the traditional phrase that ends most beauty pageants, and yesterday's MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2011 was no different. After a 3 hour long battle for the crown, Desiree Nigrelli, a resident of Atlantic City, emerged triumphant as this year's Queen. She convinced a panel of judges and a discerning audience that she is "the gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity and inner beauty of all senior Americans."

This beauty is more than just "skin deep," as is revealed in the following Q & A interview with Desiree, earlier today.

JA: How did you hear about the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT?

DN: My daughter did some searching on the internet and found the national website. She
called the office and was given the name, etc. of Johanne Santori, MSNJSA State Pageant
Director, to contact.

JA: Why did your daughter do this for you?

DN: I shared my life in show business with my daughter, so she knows of my background.
I haven't sung or performed in 20 years, and so she wanted me to revive my talent, and
to get involved in performing again in some way. So, when she learned about the
MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, she urged me to enter.

JA: That's interesting. Would you like to share with me your background?

DN: Sure. I am a classically trained ballet dancer, and I performed as prima ballerina and eventually taught ballet. Besides singing, I also play piano and guitar. In Atlantic City's heyday,
I sang in shows at the famous Steele Pier, and I have memories of singing in shows with
great stars like Tony Bennett and comedian, Red Buttons.

JA: Do you have any other special memories when you performed at the Steele Pier?

DN: Yes I do! At the tender age of 15, I was a performer in the famous show, "Stars of Tomorrow". The owner of the Steele Pier approached Tony Grant, the show's host, and requested me as a replacement for Jimmy Rogers, who was to perform in the main theater. He was unable to perform that evening, due to a family emergency, and the owner felt that I possessed the stage presence and talent to replace him.

JA: What other hobbies or talents do you have?

DN: I am trained in the discipline of dressage .... an equestrian sport, where you dress up in a tuxedo jacket, white pants, black hat, and tall riding boots. I've won several ribbons and trophies. Also, my husband Martin and I had a horse ranch built for us in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, where we raised champion horses.

JA: Besides your life in show business, did you have another occupation?

DN: Yes. I was a model, Director of Public Relations for the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency, and served as CEO of a real estate investment company in New Jersey.

JA: How has life been for you since retirement?

DN: It's been exciting and fulfilling. Martin and I bought a beautiful, but old house in Atlantic
City, and we are restoring it, hopefully to its former glory. Also, I am in the process of writing 2 books: the first one is, "Hoofprints On My Heart," which is about my love of horses; and the second one is, "Between the Lines." The title doesn't really tell what the book is about, so let me subtitle it for you: "Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart." Does that help a little? No? Well it's about life in Atlantic City, back in the day!

JA: OH! I'm glad you explained the latter book, because I didn't get it until the end! Did you enjoy yourself yesterday? Did the pageant meet your expectations? Please share your feelings.

DN: It was exciting and memorable. Everyone backstage connected with MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT was helpful and kept us moving. It was an exhilarating experience for me, filled with pleasant memories that will last me for a long time to come. Martin, my husband of 45 years, is my staunchest fan, and he is so proud of my winning the title, as well as my daughter and 2 grandchildren.

JA: I forgot to ask you, you entered the pageant as a singer. What song did you sing?

DN: I sang that classic favorite, "CRAZY."

JA: I know that it is very hard to recite one's Philosophy of Life in 35 seconds, and say how
you really feel. Well, now's the time you may expand it a bit, or express your thoughts, if you wish.

DN: That's true. It was very hard to express my feelings in 35 seconds. Thanks, I would
love to. I think that whatever defines you controls you. With me it is my faith in God
that keeps me morally and compassionately motivated. Also, we sometimes rely entirely on the "now generation". We must remember the best informed person is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that preciously in the multiplicity of their knowledge they will lose sight of what is essential which you learn through age. I am hoping to promote my platform through my title as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2011, and project hope and confidence, and keep alive the interest in the growing population of senior Americans.

JA: Those are quite profound thoughts, and you expressed them most eloquently. You will
have a very busy year ahead as our new Queen, and also to prepare yourself for the national
pageant this coming in October. I believe that you will do an excellent job in promoting the
positive aspects of aging. Good Luck!

DN: Thank you so much!

Reporter: Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007/Publicity