Friday, December 28, 2018


The major holidays are over, with the exception of New Year that is fast approaching.  It seems fitting at this time to review some highlights from the year 2018, and to give honor to those fabulous ladies of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018 was held last June at Harrah's, and Suzie Neustadter was crowned this year's QUEEN.  Since then, she and her Court have been traveling throughout the Garden State, appearing at age related venues, promoting the positive aspects of ageing.

It was a year long search for that "gracious lady, who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all Senior Americans."  Thanks to the efforts of Terry Meade, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and the encouragemsnt and support she received from Johanne Santori, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, who made this year's Pageant an outstanding success.  Carolyn Slade Harden, MSNJSA'17 & MSSA 2017, also provides a constant inspiration as she continues to appear in NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES.

Quarterly meetings of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB are generally happy times, in which ladies from around the State gather together socially, have lunch and discuss Club and Pageant business.  However, it was noted, and unhappily so, that many members were absent, due to serious health problems.

One memorable NJCC SHOWCASE was in October, at the invitation of Laurita Winery in New Egypt.

A special Showcase on November 11th, was the Veterans Day celebration at the Elks Lodge in Manahawkin.  The program began with the New Jersey State Law Enforcement Officers Honor Guard, and concluded with an Armed Forces Military musical salute. 

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB began the holiday season on November 27th, with a Christmas Showcase at Crestwood Manor in Whiting;  then, on November 29th, another, at the New Jersey Firemens Home, in Boonton.  The residents insisted on a photo op with the ladies.

December 7th was a Christmas Showcase for the Veterans Home in Vineland.  Leah Whelan/MSNJSA'11, was QUEEN for a day, and was joined by her talented "sisters" in spreading holiday cheer. Her solo, "Mary, Did You Know", was so beautiful and touching.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Christmas Party was fabulous.  Kudos to Jo Ann Gordon, MSNJSA'08, Vice President of the NJCC, and Chairman of the annual event, for a wonderful evening of great food and holiday cheer!  The Board of Directors honored Denise Mechan, NJCC SHOWCASE Coordinator, as an outstanding  member, with a trophy.  This year, she booked over 40 Showcases throughout the State.

Steve & Debbie Berger provided great music for dancing.  At the end of the evening, he played "That's What Friends Are For", and the ladies formed a circle, hold hands and sang the iconic song.  Mark Meade usually stands outside the circle to take pictures from different angles.  This year, stood inside, and got included in this photo.  Maybe another husband took this one?  Was it Tom Mechan?  It's all good!

Finales make great photo ops, because everyone gets to be in the picture. This Showcase was at Crestwood Village II in Whiting, on December 12th, for the Ladies Christmas Party.

A very special lady celebrated her 95th birthday on Sunday, December 16th.  Sherri McGhie, MSNJSA'15, hosted a surprise birthday party for her Mom, Norma, MSNJSA'95.  The event was held at the Element Restaurant & Bar in Manahawkin.

Norma was caught complely by surprise, and became emotional when she saw her family there.

Sherri also invited the ladies from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB to the celebration.  QUEEN Norma is one of the oldest members of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  Happy Birthday, to a great lady and a most cherished  "Sister".

The final Showcase was at Bartley Healthcare in Jackson, on December 17th.  Although there is no photo in this article, Terry Meade posted several on her Facebook page.  The folks at that facility enjoyed the show, and can't wait for the CLUB to return in the spring.  

As the cold, bleak winter approaches, we say bon voyage to the ladies who become "snow birds" and take flight for warmer climates, while others stay local to enjoy whatever "mother nature" may throw their way.  In any event, it is a time for all to rest, recharge, and to reflect on all the good times, and on the memories of the past year.  
Lastly, May God continue to give you good health in the year to come, protect those "sisters" who have serious health issues, and give comfort to those who have lost loved ones during the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Music lovers were treated to an evening of wine, women and song Sunday afternoon, when 18 fabulous women from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB performed at the Laurita Winery in New Egypt.  Although it is open year round, autumn is the winery's high season, and people come from all directions to enjoy the fun activities and entertainment Laurita provides.  Theirs is an informal dinner theater format, which allows patrons to buy food, and drink, and bring them to the table, while watching the show.

The GRAND DAMES CHORUS opened the show with the medley, "With Love, From Motown".  Their sensual and lively rendition was just the thing to stir up the audience, who, in turn, waited in anticipation for more great performances to come.  And they did.  There were songs from every genre, comedy and dance, and each lady performed to peak perfection!

One act, in particular made a perfect way to end the first act.  Gymnast Debra Canale, invited the audience to get up and dance.  And they did, each, displaying their own moves, and bumps and grinds!

After intermission, the NEW JERSEY STAR DANCERS opened Act 2.  They literally glittered as their costumes lit up, while dancing the disco to  "Night Fever".

The show concluded with the patriotic medley, "This is My Country, God Bless America", in which the audience was invited to sing a long.

National QUEEN, Peggy Lee Brennan, MSSA2016, was in town with her husband Geoff, mother and friends, and she was invited to perform.

Afterwards, the audience lingered on in the theater;  many walked over to mingle and talk with the performers, and to take photos.  People were so impressed by the high energy of the show, and quality of each lady's performance, and they wanted to let them to know how they felt.  Numerous inquires and photo ops followed.

It was indeed another stellar performance by these "Ambassadors of Love", and a memory that will linger long in everyone's mind for years to come.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


The 38th MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT is now history, and a new National QUEEN has been crowned.  State QUEENS came from near and far to Resorts in Atlantic City last week, to participate in the annual week long Pageant which celebrates life after 60. 

The Show began with entertainer Lou Parisi, who sang an original song he wrote, "The Little Girl Inside", to the CLASS OF 2018,

and ended with the crowning of this year's new QUEEN.  From left to right are: Alicia Windsong Diamond/VA-4th RU; Theresa Rothschild Hall/TN-2nd RU; Gayle Novak/CO-MSSA2018; Suzie Neustadter/NJ-1st RU; and Catherine Whitaker/UT-3rd RU.  Besides the QUEEN, the 1st Runner Up is a highly sought after position, and a discerning panel of judges found Suzie Neustadter, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2018 worthy.  If, for any reason, the QUEEN is unables to carry out her duties during the year of her reign, the crown and title goes to the 1st Runner Up. 

 Pageant week is always an exciting time for the contestants, family and friends, and the National Senior Alumnae Association.  NSAA as it is known, is a "sisterhood" of past State and National QUEENS, who attend the National Pageant each year to support their State QUEEN, to maintain friendships with their sisters, and to make new ones.  NSAA also awards the QUEEN and her Court with financial prizes.  The following is the week in review, and QUEEN Suzie's journey.

QUEENS gathered together for a meet n' greet at the QUEENS Orientation Dinner, on Sunday evening.  Suzie's entourage included, Johanne Santori/MNJSA'06, and NJ State Pageant Administrator, Rebecca Orsatti/MSNJS'10, Carolyn Slade Harden/MSSA'17, and Suzie Neustadter/MSNJSA'18.  Also in attendance, but not in the photo was Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR.   

The QUEENS spent all day on Monday in rehearsal, but in the evening, QUEEN Suzie joined her entourage for dinner at Gallagher's Burger Bar.

Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, began all three days of the MS SENIOR AMERICA NATIONAL PAGEANT with a beautiful patriotic medley.  On Thursday, she gave a lovely farewell presentation, and received a standing ovation from the audience for her performance.

On Wednesday contestants and the public attended the CAMEO BALL for an evening of good food and fun.  Norma McGhie/MSNJSA'95, was one of 4 recipients who were awarded the title of Honorary MS SENIOR AMERICA.

As was mentioned, it was an evening of fun, and here, guests danced the night way.  In the forground, Millie Tate is responding to Johanne Santori's sultry move!
The table centerpieces were made of pink and purple feathers, and Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07, thought it would make a great hat!

The QUEENS CHOIR, under the direction of Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA' 07, was the opening act at Tuesday night's Welcome Show, and also performed at the Pageant.  They performed "With Love, from Motown", which was a salute to Dianna Ross and the Supremes.

There were several dance groups that performed at the Pageant.  Here, the NEW JERSEY STAR DANCERS literally lit up the stage with neon lights on their costumes, and saucy dance steps to the music of "Saturday Night Fever".

Terry Meade supplied QUEEN Suzie's supporters with NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB crowns which lit up.  Sadly to say, "Sam", the sound man, noticed the lights and told them to turn them off.  Johanne, Terry, Carole, and Carolyn sadly, but dutifully complied.

Thursday was the Final Pageant, and all the QUEENS were called to the stage.  A uneasy silence fell over the audience as everyone waited for the top 10 to be called.  When QUEEN Suzie's name was called, her supporters cheered with excitement.  With the exception of the Judges Interview, the previous scores were thrown out and the 10 finalists began to compete anew.  In the Evening Gown Catogory, Suzie looked poised and elegant, as she glided effortlessly across the stage.  Her Philosophy of Life was positive and uplifting.

For her Talent, she sang "Home", from the hit Broadway Musical, THE WIZ.  Her voice was strong, and for her emotional rendition, she received a standing ovation from the audience.

QUEEN Suzie returns to the Garden State to resume her role as MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2018, and to a very busy schedule of appearances in the year ahead.  Kudos to an outstanding delegate who represented the State New Jersey at the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


File photos

With the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018 rapidly approaching, State QUEENS from across the "fruited plain" will be descending upon Resorts Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City.  The week long annual event begins Sunday, October 14th, and ends on Friday, October 19th. The 2 Preliminary Pageants are Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Final Pageant is on Thursday.  All Pageants are held in the Superstar Theater at 1:00 PM.

Tensions run high during Pageant Week, as each QUEEN is hopeful of winning this year's National Title and Crown.  Suzie Neustadter, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2018 will represent the Garden State.  Since winning the State Pageant last June, QUEEN Suzie has traveled throughout the State performing in NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES, in parades, as guest at non-profit events, and on radio and TV.

Suzie recieved many awards and Proclamations of Achievement from legislators at every level of government.  As a resident of Margate, QUEEN Suzie was honored by Mayor Micheal Becker at the Margate Town Council meeting last July.

In August, a joint meeting was held to honor QUEEN Suzie their State office in Linwood.  The two photos at the top are with Senator Chris Brown. The bottom left is with Assemblymen Amato and Mazzeo, who are then joined with Suzie's chaperones, Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and MSNJSA PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, and Rebecca Orsatti/MSNJSA'10.

In July, QUEEN Suzie entertained at a non-profit fund raiser for the Jewish Community Center in her hometown of Margate.

As QUEEN Suzie prepares for the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018, her NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "sisters" and past QUEENS, know that she will be great, and everyone wishes her much good luck.

A list of events and ticket information for the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018, can be found on their website:  Tickets may be purchased at the box office on the day of each Pageant, beginning at noon.

Monday, September 24, 2018


 professional photo, courtesy Carolyn Slade Harden

Never for this QUEEN!  The year of her reign may be ending for Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, but by no means is she going away.  Her national title will continue to be cherished and honored by the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, and her "sisters" of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

Since its beginning in the 1980's the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT has produced 3 National QUEENS; Laverne Stokes/MSSA'85, deceased, Jan Dickenson/MSSA'86, deceased, and Dr. Sandra Greco, M.D./MSSA'03.  Then, after many years, Carolyn Slade Harden/MSSA'17 made the 4th win for the Garden State.

QUEEN Carolyn had a very busy year, which included appearances on radio and television throughout the State and across the country.  Thanks to a generous award from the National Senior Alumnae Association (NSAA), she made guest appearances at many MS SENIOR AMERICA STATE Pageants.

photo courtesy Mark Meade
Carolyn gave her first farewell speech, as State QUEEN at the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT 2018 last June.  Afterwards, she crowned the winner, Suzie Neustadter, MSNJSA 2018.

 photo, unknown
In July, QUEEN Carolyn, along with an entourage, attended the MS NEW YORK SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018.  She sang one of her signature songs, and crowned the new Queen.  Afterwards, Carolyn was honored at the Ball with gifts of appreciation from her New York Came Club "sisters".

 photo, courtesy NATIONAL QUEEN Carolyn Slade Harden'18
The last Pageant she attended was in August, when she was the invited guest at the MS FLORIDA SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2018.

In a monarchy, queens (and kings) rule their kingdoms for a lifetime, whereas pageant queens (and kings) may reign for only one year.  However, both royalties share the same characteristics and have similar duties: to be a fair, compassionate and benevolent leader, and to always keep the best interests of their constituents in mind.  QUEEN Carolyn has been such a leader, and, as MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, she leaves behind a legacy of service, has successfully promoted the positive aspects on aging, and is a wonderful model for future queens to follow.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


The long, hot summer did not deter the glamorous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, as they came forward to complete their "expected rounds".  Denise Mechan, SHOWCASE COORDINATOR, scheduled showcases Statewide, while Johanne Santori/MSNJSA2006 and PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, planned the annual Showcase at Kennedy Plaza on the boardwalk at Atlantic City.

 All photos, courtesy Mark Meade & Tom Mechan

Mattison Crossing in Freehold had a theater, and the ladies gave a Las Vegas style Showcase for the residents to enjoy.

Crestwood Manor in Whiting is also a favorite place to entertain, and there was also an auditorium.  This time, the ladies used the stage as well as the floor to perform.  Former NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB member Gloria Segal, (sitting in the wheelchair), was invited to sing a solo.  There was also a sing-a-long for the audience to participate.

The Showcase at Arcadia Nursing & Rehab in Hamilton was held in the sunny atrium.  The air conditioning system kept the humidity level down, but the indoor temperature stayed at a balmy 80 degrees.  As usual, the ladies were fabulous, but the real show stopper of the day was gymnist, Debra Canale.  She found a very able assistant who followed her lively dance routine great, with the exception of the summersaults and cartwheels!  After the show, Terry Meade, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, invited everyone to her home in Princeton Junction, for a lavish party.  

This year, the annual Showcase on the Boardwalk at Kennedy Plaza was "HOT" in every respect.   Each lady was at her stellar best, despite the steamy temperature that stayed in the mid 90's!

Suzie Neustadter, MS NEW JERSEYAMERICA 2018 and Carolyn M. Harden, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2017, and MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017, received awards from Atlantic City Mayor Gilliam. 

Johanne Santori, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2006 and the Pageant organization's ADMINISTRATOR, invited everyone to her home in Margate for an apres showcase party.  It was also Sherri McGhie's, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2015, birthday.  A perfect occasion to celebrate such a great lady!

The June, July and August NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcases are now history, and its members look forward to receiving their schedule for the Fall.  Kudos to Denise Mechan, NJCC Showcase Coordinator, for a job well done.