Thursday, October 31, 2013



Hearts beat wildly, as the audience restlessly awaited the judges' decision, as to who would win the coveted title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2013.  Queens from across the country came to Atlantic City to compete in the week long annual competition.  The event took place from Sunday, October 20th to Friday, October 25th, at Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City in the Superstar Theater.

Pageant week was an exciting time for the contestants and their families and friends.  Although the CLASS OF 2013 worked hard each day rehearsing, there were fun activities scheduled in the evenings for all to enjoy, and allowed the ladies to be in bed by 11:00 PM.

On Sunday evening, the Queens attended an orientation dinner, where they had the chance to meet one another.  Monday evening was free time for them to enjoy a walk on the boardwalk after a long first day's rehearsal.

Queens were invited to see the WELCOME TO ATLANTIC CITY SHOW on Tuesday evening, that took place in the Superstar Theater.  Directed by Marilyn Mcabe-Kohler, and emceed by Helen Halpin McCarney, the variety show included members of NSAA, and was sonsored by SENIOR AMERICA.  Of special mention was the performance of the NSAA/QUEENS CHOIR directed by Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA2007.  The group opened the show, emerging from the audience as a "flash mob", grooving to  Barry Manilow's hit tune, "Dancin' In Th Aisles".  Once on the stage, they sang "Broadway Ladies", a medley of 3 songs.  To conclude their presentation, a color guard entered the stage as they sang "This is My Country" and  "God Bless America".  The audience sang along and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Dinner Dance was held on Wednesday evening in the Grand Ballroom.  It was an evening of great food, fun and entertainment for all to enjoy.

After two days of Preliminary Pageants, it was Thursday .... the day of the FINAL PAGEANT.  The show began, as usual, with the opening number, with all the contestants onstage.  The first moment of tension came when the top 10 were chosen.  Cheers came from the audience as their Queen's name and State were called, while disappointment came from those who weren't.  

The Final Competition began, this time with the Top 10 competing all over again, in the Evening Gown, Philosophy of Life, and Talent Categories.  All were beautiful, intelligent, and talented.  
The moment was at hand, when the Queen and Her Court, or the Top 5 were called:  4th Runner Up, MS COLORADO SA; 3rd Runner Up, MS TEXAS SA; 2nd Runner Up, MS NEVADA SA; 1st Runner Up, MS NEW JERSEY SA, Vanessa Shaw;  and, MS TENNESSEE SA, Carolyn Corlew, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2013.  As was explained prior to announcing the winner, "if for any reason the new MS SENIOR AMERICA 2013 cannot fullfill her duties, the title will go to the 1st Runner Up".  

Kudos to Queen Vanessa Shaw on a job well done and for bringing such honor to the State of New Jersey!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


July was a month in which the ladies of the MS NEW JERSEY AMERICA PAGEANT Organization and its service wing, the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, went on an emotional "roller coaster ride", as both good and bad news reached the "Sisterhood".

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcases continued to bring joy and entertainment to their elderly constituents who are living in nursing homes.  The residents received the "ambassadors of love", with enthusiastic applause, and grateful conversation following the performances.

The 3rd quarterly meeting of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB was held Wednesday, July 17th at the American Legion Post in Lakewood.  A delicious luncheon of assorted deli sandwiches and salads was served, followed by a special cake for dessert, to honor the new Queen, Vanessa Shaw, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2013.  There were many items discussed at the meeting, however, the health issues and progress of certain "sisters" were of particular importance.  Members who are facing uphill battles on the journey to recovery are: Agnes Raimondi, Beverly Pierce and Sandra Greco/MSNJSA 2003 & MSSA2003.  Queen Vanessa spoke briefly to outline her busy schedule, and reported on the Proclamations and congratulatory letters she has received from local and State legislators thus far.  She expressed her feelings of love and gratitude towards her "sisters", who have welcomed her into the organization.

Josephine and Joseph C. Mazzarella and Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA2008 and Vice President, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB

The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT Organization and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB mourn loss of Joseph C. Mazzarella of Lavallette, who passed away earlier this month at age 89.  He is survived by his wife Josephine, stepdaughter Jo Ann Gordon, and nieces and nephews.  Joseph and Josephine are sponsors of the Pageant.

SENIORS GOT TALENT Contest was Sunday, July 28th.  Patterned after the nationally televised NBC TV show AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, the event was held at the beautiful and historic Strand Theater in Lakewood.  Among the 23 contestants, there were 10 ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, who were the following:  Carol Rosario, singer/Volare; Brenda Christian, dancer/Singing In The Rain; Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07, singer/Un Bel Di; Lyn Gibson/MSNJSA'00, singer/Come In From The Rain & Stormy Weather; Rebecca Orsatti/MSNJSA'10, singer/Don't Rain On My Parade; Renee Tompkins, singer/What I Did For Love; Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08, singer/Come Back To Me; Leah Whelan, singer/I Dreamed A Dream; Carol Dugan/MSNJSA'13, singer/America the Beautiful & Living In The USA; and Diane Beebe, singer/Bring Him Home.  The ladies were wonderful, and their performances raised the bar for the rest of the contestants.  Two NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB ladies won purses: Josephine Araniti won the 1st Place Prize of $750.00, and Rebecca Orsatti won 3rd Place Prize of $350.00.  The 2nd Place Prize of $500.00 went to Sal Benigno of Manchester.

As the month comes to an end, a familiar biblical quote comes to mind, "to everything there is a season".  The members of the pageant organization have witnessed the "circle of life", and have endured its highs and lows.  May the members who are ill, be restored to good health, and those who are healthy, continue to use their God given talents.

FYI: In order to respect the memory of Joseph C. Mazzarella, this author decided to publish the above article without fanfare or flourish, and only used one photo.

Monday, July 1, 2013


From Left to right are: Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07, & 2012 Shore Senior Idol Winner, and Sal Benigno, 1st Place Winner;  Diane Beebe, 2nd Place, 2013 Shore Senior Idol Winner, and Bernadette Dudek/MSNJSA'09 & 2009 Shore Senior Idol Winner.

From Left to Right: Renee Tompkins, Carol Dugan/MSNJSA2012, Diane Beebe and Josephine Araniti.  Missing in photo is Contestant Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08 & VP/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.
Tensions were high yesterday inside the Algonquin Theater in Manasquan, as audience and contestants awaited the judges' results of this year's Shore Senior Idol contest.  Now in its 5th season, the local contest patterns itself after its national counterpart, American Idol, the obvious difference being the age level of 55 and over, as the main requirement.  There were 18 very talented contestants, the same number of men as there were women, and musical styles ranging from country, jazz, Frank Sinatra wannabees, broadway, popular, rock and opera.

Four NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB ladies made the finals:  The elegant ladies who graced yet another runway were:  Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA2008/VP, Renee Tompkins, Diane Beebe, and Carol Dugan/MSNJSA2012.   Bernadette Dudek/MSNJSA2009, was the Mistress of Ceremony, and led the contestants in the opening number, "Another Op'ning, Another Show".  After the intermission, there was a special performance by Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA2007, and 2012, Shore Senior Idol Winner, who sang "Un Bel Di", from Puccini's opera, MADAME BUTTERFLY.

The performances of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB ladies were professional and outstanding in every way, and raised the bar for the other contestants.  In the end, one emerged as a winner, with Diane Beebe in 2nd Place, who took home a prize of $350.00.  She sang "O Mio Babbino Caro", from Puccini's comic opera, GIANNI SCHICCI.  The other winners were:  Sal Benigno/1st Place, and Marvin Schuman/3rd.

Once again, the fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB shined, gave their best, and were a credit to the CLUB and the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization.  Sunday was their "finest hour", and congratulations on a job well done!

Friday, June 28, 2013


NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
Memories of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT held earlier this month, are still fresh in the minds of our membership. The photo above and those which follow show these elegant ladies at their finest.

THE CLASS OF 2013 (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
Out going Queen Carol Dugan in the middle, joins the CLASS OF 2013, in a post pageant photo op.

THE 2013 QUEENS COURT (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
 Thirteen very talented contestants made the judges' job very difficult to find the top 5 this year, but in the end they made their decision.  From left to right are: Jodi Rose/4th RU; Ruth Schlossberg/2nd RU; Vanessa Shaw/MSNJSA2013; Marion Guererra/1st RU; Diane Beebe/3rd RU.

OFFICERS OF THE NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
The officers of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB have served with honor, integrity and fairness to all for the last 4 years.  Their term will be ending soon, and the quest to fill their shoes will be hard. They are from left to right: Joan Kaplan/Treasurer; Agnes Traschetti/Secretary; Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA08'/Vice President; Dale Maglia/President.

MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA QUEENS (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
Vanessa Shaw, MSNJSA2013, joins the ranks of past New Jersey Queens, to begin her year long committment to promote the positive aspects on aging.

Along with fullfilling her commitment as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2013, and her appearances with the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, Vanessa Shaw has been busy this month, as writer/producer/performer of her one woman show called "EARTHA AND ME", which she performed at Pace University in New York.


On Wednesday, June 26th, Vanessa was invited to North Bergen City Hall, where she received her first award at the monthly Town Council meeting.  Holding the plaque with her is Mayor Nicholas Sacco. 

Along with Queen Vanessa, the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB have also been busy during the month of June, with showcases.  This month in particular, ladies traveled to far points of the State and gave 5 stellar performances. 

As you read along, you will notice several photos that were submitted by the very talented Sherri McGhie.  She does such wonderful work, and truly deserves thanks from this reporter for enhancing this article.
THE GRANDE DAMES CHORUS (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, Johanne Santori once again gave our elegant ladies an "Evening To Remember", by arranging the appearance of  THE GRANDE DAMES CHORUS, in the Atlantic City Armed Forces Parade.  A huge crowd of people lined the boardwalk fort the annual event.

TWO QUEENS SING DUET (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
Last year, Carol Dugan, MSNJSA2012, sang a patriotic medley, which not only won her the State title, but got her into 4th place at the National Pageant.  This year, she shared her medley with Vanessa.  Vanessa lent her rich mezzo soprano voice to "America the Beautiful", and Carol sang "Living In The  USA" with all the enthusiasm we have become used to.  The effect was dynamic ... the mixture of Opera and Pop was magical.
THE GRANDE DAMES CHORUS (photo courtesy, Sherri McGhie)
Several of the ladies in THE GRANDE DAMES CHORUS will become "freindly adversaries" later this month and in July.  They will be competing in the Shore Senior Idol Contest, Sunday, June 30th, Algonquin Theater, Manasquan,  3:00 pm., and  Seniors Got Talent Contest, Sunday, July 28th,  Strand Theater, Lakewood,  3:00 pm.   Come out and cheer for your favorite. 

The victories of the past month are the rewards these elegant ladies deserve.  They were unselfish and untiring in their efforts to give pleasure to their constituents.  Other than an occasional parade, they go where "few dare to go", to give  their elderly constituents, a little bit of happiness. 

Kudos, ladies on a job well done! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013



There she is ... the new Queen!  Vanessa Shaw, a resident of North Bergen, in Hudson County, who emerged victorious as the winner of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2013, Tuesday June 4th, at Harrah's Resort and Casino.  From the moment she walked onto the stage of the Concert Venue Theater, Vanessa stood out among the other 12 contestants, with her captivating smile and majestic demeanor.  

All the ladies from the CLASS OF 2013 were fierce competitors, yet Vanessa managed to impress both a panel of distinguished judges and a supportive audience that she deserved the title.  For the Talent Portion of the Pageant, she sang "Losing My Mind", from the Stephen Sondheim musical, Follies.   Shaw's rich mezzo soprano voice soared effortlessly through the hall, and her impassioned interpretaion of the heartbroken lover, brought tears.

Vanessa is a professioanl singer-actress, and has performed in many US Cities. One role, which she is particularly proud of is her portrayal of the great opera singer, Marian Anderson, to which she received critical acclaim.  As Vanessa continues her active performance schedule for the coming year, she will add a busy and demanding schedule of appearances throughout the Garden State as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2013, promoting the positive aspects of aging.   
The QUEEN'S COURT. From left to right are: Jodi Rose/singer, 4th RU; Ruth Schlossberg/singer, 2nd RU; Vanessa Shaw/MSNJSA2013; Marion Guererra/singer, 1st RU; Carol Beebe/singer, 3rd RU.  The 4 runners up will be featured with Queen Vanessa in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES during this year of her reign.

Johanne Santori, MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR and Queen Vanessa.

The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2013, was indeed a spectacular event, and its success was made possible by the energetic and untiring efforts of  State Director Johanne Santori.  Johanne gathered together a team of individuals, organizations and volunteers, to offer their expertise, time, and financial aid, which made this year's Pageant possible. Since her appointment 5 years ago, she and husband Adeo, have brought the Pageant into a new era of Statewide prominence, notoriety and prosperity. 
Johanne's vision, was to include ladies of the NJ Cameo Club as part of the entertainment.  The performers were: Johanne Santori'06/French song; JoAnn Gordon'08/sign; Jane Freed/tap dance; Dale Maglia/country singer; Sandra Greco'03/singer; Bernadette Dudek'09/singer; The Grande Dames Chorus. 

Sitting are: Carol Dugan, MSNJSA 2012, and Queen Vanessa.  Standing is: Norma McGhie, MSNJSA 1995.

Post Pageant time was hectic, as the media charged onto the stage for an hour packed with picture taking and interviews with Vanessa and members of the Pageant organization.  Family and friends were invited to a reception in the Eden Lounge.  Carol Dugan, MSNJSA 2012, will become Vanessa's mentor, who will offer the new Queen whatever support and advise she may need. 

With new Queen in hand, the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, looks forward with excitement as Vanessa Shaw enters the National Pageant, to compete for the coveted title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2013.  The week long event will be held at Resorts, Sunday, October 20th to Friday, 25th.  For details on the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2013, Vanessa's biography,  and scheduled activities, click onto this link:  Kudos to Vanessa and good luck on the next part of your journey! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013



It seems like only yesterday when Carol Dugan, graced the stage of Harrah's, winning the hearts of both a panel of distinguished judges and an adoring audience, emerging victorious as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2012.  Her reign began on schedule, only to be interrupted the following October when Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard and ravished the New Jersey shore line.  Many appearances had to be cancelled.  Since Carol and husband John live in Ventnor, they too suffered property loss, and had to deal with the storm's devastation and aftermath.  In the months that followed Carol used her title, to offer whatever comfort and solace she could to others who live in her communtiy.  Earlier this month, she had an opportunity to speak to Governor Chris Christie about ongoing problems when he visited Ventnor. 

When conditions improved, Carol resumed her duties as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2012, with an active schedule, and traveled throughout the State, promoting the positive aspects of aging.  The current Queen is always the centerpiece of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcases, and Carol was the featured performer throughout the year.  Carol's performances were full of energy and her songs uplifting.  She had a way of making people smile and feel happier than they were before.

Carol Dugan has been a wonderful Queen, has served the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT Organization honorably, and has lived up to their highest standards.  She has accomplished much, and we are all proud of her. 

T'is true that, next week, a new Queen will be chosen, and she will be expected to carry on the traditions of our long lived Pageant just as Carol and her predessors have done.  Happilly, Carol will not go away, but  will re-emerge anew.  She has joined the "Sisterhood" of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, where she will continue to use her God-given talent,  and hopefully, will become a new voice to propel both the Pageant and Club to new heights!

CAROL DUGAN is loyal, honest and conscientious.  A Team Player, she has put the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB above her personal needs.  A person whose character is above reproach, that its members are proud to call her "Sister". 


C - is for the Charismatic Charm you weave,
A - is for your Accomodating, kind, and unselfish ways,
R - is for your Refreshing, cool, and ivorating wit,
O - is for your Open, and sincere attitude,
 L - is for Lady, the well bred woman that you are,

 D - means there is no one else more Deserving of the Crown than you,
 U - is for your Undeniable beauty,
 G - is for the Genuine and authentic person you are,
 A - is for your Adventurous soul,
 N - is for the Noteworthy and unforgettable person you've become.


"True Dignity is Never Gained by Place,
And Never Lost when Honors are Withdrawn." - Massinger

"Our Greatest Glory Consists Not in Never Failing,
But in Rising Every Time We Fall." - Goldsmith


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


         COMING SOON!

                America's first and foremost pageant
               that honors women age 60 and over
        TUESDAY, JUNE 4TH   1:00 P.M.

          TICKETS:  $10.00  AT DOOR: $12.00

                CALL: (732) 557-9799 OR (609) 412-1340

            Pageant Is Rated General, And Is Suitable For The Entire Family

Carol Dugan, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2012.  Queen Carol will give a special performance that is sure to please the eyes and ears.

The very talented and exeptional CLASS OF 2013.  Come to the Pageant and cheer for your favorite "elegant lady"and help her win the coveted title of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2013.
The Pageant will include a variety of entertaining performances by the contestants, a Motown Medley by the Grande Dames Chorus, and performances by special guests, climaxing with the crowning of MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2013.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Sitting, from left to right: Ruth Schlossberg/Singer, Carol Rosario/Singer, Diane Beebe/Singer, Carol Dugan/MSNJSA 2012, Marion Guererra/Opera Singer, Patricia Genovese/Dancer, Brenda Christian/Dancer. 
Standing, from left to right: Linda Green/Guitarist-Singer-Songwriter, Leah Whelan/Singer, Renee Tompkins/Singer, Mary Ann McDavit/Dancer, Vanessa Shaw/Singer, and Debbie Pettjohn/Comedianne.  Jodi Rose/Opera Singer, not in photo.

The CLASS OF 2013 was revealed on Monday, April 29th, at the MEET THE CONTESTANTS  luncheon, which was held at Leisuretown Adult Community, Southampton. The event was hosted by the officers of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, and the help of resident Lyn Gibson/MSNJSA 2000, who reserved Laurel Hall for the occasion. 

The fare included an assortment of wraps and submarine sandwiches, condiments, and hot and cold beverages.  Everyone looked forward to dessert, which was a special treat,  prepared by Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008 & Vice President of the NJ CAMEO CLUB, which included 2 kinds of her fabulous brownies and delicious rice pudding.

With happy hearts and full stomachs,  Johanne Santori/MSNJSA 2006 & MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, began the meeting.  The "illuminati" introduced themselves and described their positions in the pageant organization and NJ CAMEO CLUB.  Carol Dugan/MSNJSA 2012, talked about the happy times she had during this year of her reign, and gave the contestants valuable advise about what they can expect.  Then, the time came for the contestants to introduce themselves.  Each lady was a delight for the eyes, spoke eleoquently and passionately, about their talent, and the causes they care about.  Johanne awarded each contestant a plaque of appreciation for their participation in this year's pageant.  The meeting concluded with a fun photo op for all, and rehearsal for the opening number of the pageant.