Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Neither age nor physical malady kept these fabulous ladies of elegance, all 60 plus, from keeping their appointed shows during the holiday season which started from Thanksgiving and ended this month. 

The kickoff began at Brandall Estates, in Linwood on Thursday, November 14th.  The residents clapped enthusiastically in appreciation of the opening number.  They held their own Pageant that  day as well, and one of the residents was crowned Miss Brandall Estates. Those who received awards wore maroon sashes, and were seated in the audience.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB entertained the veterans at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge on Tuesday, November 19th.  Opening ceremonies included:  the Presentation of the Flag by the New Jersey State Troopers Honor Guard,

and was followed by the National Anthem, sung by Carolyn Slade-Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017.

 NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB member Millie Tate, lead the singing with a soulful rendition of "Proud to Be An American".

  The five branches of the military were honored in a musical salute, conducted by Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007 and MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus.

The residents at Bartley Healthcare in Jackson, were treated to a great Holiday Showcase, on Thursday, December 5th, and they participated in the  Christmas sing-a-long with great gusto.

By now, you know how our Showcases always begin and end.  So, with the Monmouth Crossing Showcase, in Freehold, on December 9th, the focus is on highlighting the individual performers.

Denise Mechan/NJCC SHOWCASE COORDINATOR, was a kindergarten school teacher, and at Christmastime, she taught her children the song, "Must Be Santa".  It is a cumulative song, that has many verses describing Santa, that repeats backwards, over and over, and the kids had to remember it!  She sang it as her signature song at all the Christmas Showcases and invited the "Sisters" to sing along.   At the the last Showcase, more and more "Sisters" actually remembered a lot of the song!

 Nancy Bassett jazzed up the rhythm a bit, when she sang the popular carol, "Silent Night".

 Renee Tompkins sang a popular Christmas ballad, while Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008 signed it.

 Santa's favorite elf, Rose Majofsky, dressed in red, and armed at the wrists with jingle bells, shimmied and shaked to a popular Christmas jingle.

As QUEEN For A Day, Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008, entertained the audience with a Christmas favorite. 

Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA 2007, & MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus, also sang a Christmas song called, "Mistletoe and Love".

Crestwood Manor in Whiting is always a great venue to perform at, and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is a frequent guest there.  The usual black evening wear was interspersed this day with festive reds and green velvet to heighten the holiday spirit.

 Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA 2010, sang a beautiful and stirring rendition of "White Christmas".

The final Showcase for 2019 was on Monday December 16th.  As expected, the ladies set the mood for the opening,

and finished with a fabulous ending.
But what about in between?   There was a Christmas sing-a-long, and great performances.  Two members in particular, deserve special mention.  Whenever Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, performs, she always promotes her platform for organ transplants.  Dressed as a beautiful candy cane, she mimed to the song, "All I Want For Christmas is You".  At the end, she kissed her husband Mark, a heart transplant recipient of 11 years.

Another highlight of the afternoon, was a toe tapping, finger snapping, hand clapping rendition of the classic Christmas favorite "Jingle Bell Rock", joyfully sung by Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008.

The Holiday Party is the time when the ladies gather together to celebrate the season, have a good time, and renew the bonds of  the "Sisterhood".  Many sisters came from far and near to attend the CLUB's annual event, which was held at the Clarion Hotel, on Thursday, December 12th.  Of special mention is "Sister" and friend, Bernadette Dudek/MSNJSA 2009, seated on the floor next to Jo Ann Gordon, who came all the way from South Carolina.

The evening's festivities began with a welcome from Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008, and Chairman of the Holiday Party, followed by Carole Lelli, President/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, who acknowledged and thanked those members for their contributions to the CLUB this past year.  She passed the microphone back to those who then made special presentations. 

Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, presented Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA 2007, & MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus, the Sister of the Year trophy.

Nancy Bassett was awarded the Performer of the Year trophy by Denise Mechan, SHOWCASE COORDINATOR/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

Another hightlight of the evening was the chance to win a great prize at the raffle table!

A beautiful backdrop of a crown was set up outside the banquet hall for photo ops, and members took many pictures to remember the great time they had.  Dr. Al Mott, the founder of  MS SENIOR AMERICA, INC was an honored guest, and he posed alongside Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and Johanne Santori/MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR.

The food was great as was the music for dancing the night away, provided by Steve and Debbie Berger.  Here is the couple leading the ladies in a popular line dance.

Meanwhile, where has New Jersey's pride and joy, Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019 been?  To be sure, she has been the featured performer in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES, as can be seen in the above photos.  Dr. Debra had a schedule of her own, which included parades, with the latest one held in Atlantic City.

The annual Atlantic City Christmas Parade was held on the boardwalk, on Saturday, December 14th. Dr. Debra stopped at the casino to have a bite to eat.  She wore her new jacket which was given to her by the officers of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB at the Christmas Party a few days earlier.

Then, she took it off to model her beautiful white sequenced gown by the Christmas tree.  Oo lah lah!

And now, we know why, don't we?  Because it was so cold that she couldn't show it at the parade!  But, she wore a lovely fur coat anyway.  Looks like mink.  She and her younger counterpart, the current MS NEW JERSEY, pose as they shiver together!

That's QUEEN Debra again ... this time posing with a youth group marching band.  Thanks for including the young in your travels. 

"Fast away the old year passes ... hail the the new, ye lads and lasses"!  So the song goes.  Kudos to these fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.   May they rest secure in the knowledge of a job well done in 2019.  Enjoy the holidays and your well earned hiatus, because 2020 is just around the corner ... see you then!

Saturday, October 26, 2019


The search has ended for that special woman who possesses the most dignity, maturity and inner beauty, on Thursday, October 24th at Resorts in Atlantic City.  Esmeralda Ybarra Hetrick, MS Pensylvania, was crowned MS SENIOR AMERICA 2019.  QUEEN Hetrick begins her year long journey of traveling across the country promoting the positive aspects of aging.

Closer to home however, Jerseyans are rejoicing also, because Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019 was a finalist and made the Top 10.  Here are some highlights of this State QUEEN'S journey during National Pageant week.

There were 41 contestants this year.  The above photo shows half of the QUEENS, and Dr. Debra is standing third one in on the left.  Esmeralda is standing second one in on the right, wearing a red stole over her gown.

The show begins with all the QUEENS onstage, listening to the lovely song, "The Little Girl Inside", written and sung by Lou Parisi.

 Each State QUEEN is escorted to the microphone where they announce their name and State.

This is the gown Debra wore for her introduction at the 2nd Preliminary on Wednesday. The sequins sparkled in the bright lights onstage as she move from point to point.  Her accessories, although dramatic, were tasteful and did not diminish the importance of her crown and State banner.

For the Talent Portion, Debra combined gymnastics, pole sport and dance.

She portrayed Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway Show classic, My Fair Lady.  In this scene, she was returning home from the party, where she made her debut among the upper class British society. 

Debra took poetic license a little bit, by placing the scene outside, instead of in her bedroom for obvious reasons, as she moved to the iconic song, "I Could Have Danced All Night".  In this photo, it is the climax of the song, where she climbed to the top of the pole, and slid down to the floor in a perfect split.  The audience gasped, cheered and rewarded her with thunderous applause.

With the two days of Preliminaries over, the day of the Finals came on Thursday.  All of the contestants returned to the stage, the Top 10 were called and Debra made it. The scores were cleared, they competed once again.  In the photo above, is another familiar "Jersey Girl" and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "Sister", Sherri McGhie, standing next to QUEEN Esmeralda. She represented the State of West Virginia and came in 1st runner up. Congratulations!

While the contestants change, the audience was entertained by a variety of acts.  The New Jersey Star Dancers were one of several groups who spiced up the afternoon with a Latin routine,  choreographed by Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA2008.

The NSAA QUEENS CHOIR, under the direction of Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA2007, another "Jersey Girl", delighted the audience with, a medley of songs from the hit Broadway musical, "Mamma Mia!".

"Waterloo" was the last song of the medley, and Josephine invited the audience to participate.  Everyone got up and started rockin' away - even the judges!

The traditional Cameo Ball was held on Wednesday, the night before the Final Pageant.  Everyone was dressed to the nines, and there was great music for dancing all night long.  No - your eyes are not seeing double - there's Debra's twin sister, Natalie, rockin' the night away also.

It was Debra's "time", and to help support her and to cheer her on, many NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "Sisters" attended the Pageant, and the Cameo Ball.  In the center, are 2 special ladies who deserve special kudos for making the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT the best in the country - Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and Johanne Santori/MSNJSA2006 and MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR.

Lastly, kudos to Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, who did a fabulous job representing the Garden State.  Although, the National Pageant is over, the year of her reign has just begun.  May you continue in the excellent tradition of the New Jersey QUEENS who have gone before you, and touch the hearts of those you meet and make their lives better!

Saturday, October 12, 2019


With the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019 fast approaching, New Jersey's State QUEEN, Dr. Debra Canale is busily preparing for the annual event.  State QUEENS from across the country will be gracing the stage of the Resorts Superstar Theater in Atlantic City, during the week of October 20th to the 24th, all hoping to win the prestigious title of MS SENIOR AMERICA 2019.  There are 2 Preliminary Pageants, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Final Pageant on Thursday, all beginning at 1:00 PM.  Tickets can be purchased at the box office, which is located in the Atlantic Room, the morning of each Pageant.

 Photos, courtesy Mark & Meade or Denise Mechan
During this year of her reign, Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, has maintained an impressive schedule of appearances throughout the Garden State, in a variety of age related venues.  She and the ladies of the Queen's Court are the featured performers in NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES.

QUEEN Debra is an accomplished gymnist, and registered nurse.  When she isn't doing her exhausting routine, she gets everyone in the room energized along with her.  During a recent Showcase at Laurita Winery, young and old alike got up and danced to a familiar rocking oldies tune.

Although she has kept her routine for the Talent portion of the Pageant a highly kept secret, known only to a select few, those who have seen her previously in action, are expecting something fabulous from their NEW JERSEY QUEEN.  Here's wishing QUEEN Debra much luck, love and an exciting experience in the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019!



D     is for your Dedication and Devotion to promoting the positive aspects 
        on aging during this the year of your reign,

E     is for the Energy and Enthusiasm you exude to all your "Sisters" 
       and constituents,

B     is for your Bright smile and Bold gymnastic performances,

R     is how you've Reacted and Reached Out to help those in need 
        when they asked for medical advise,        

A     is how Amazing, Awesome and informative your short lectures on 
        health and wellness are, 

C     is for your "Can Do" spirit, as you encourage all you meet to become
        the best they can be,

A     is how Agile and Active you still are at this time of your life,

N     you have become a friend to some, and a "Sister" to all, and we 
        NEVER want to lose you,

A     we hope you ALWAYS maintain your physical prowess and health, 

L     keep alive your LIVELY and joyous spirit wherever you - it's highly 

E     Remember, you may reign for a year, but your title is ETERNAL!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


And such a month it was! The fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, along with Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, were busy performing in a variety of age related venues, leaving behind special messages of love to their constituents.

 All photos, courtesy Mark Meade and Tom Mechan
The weather was perfect on Saturday afternoon, September 7th, when 11 ladies performed for the Berkeley Township Community Pride Day in Bayville at Veteran's Park. They rocked the park with their stellar individual performances. Afterwards, Denise and Tom Mechan invited everyone to their beautiful home located on the water for food, fun and libations.

Meanwhile, on the same day, another event was taking place. Dr. Debra Canale, MSNJSA 2019 was featured in an Atlantic City Parade.

Becky Orsatti, MSNJSA 2010, was QUEEN Debra's chaperone at the parade that day. In the background, is the float she rode in, which was laden with flowers, flags and the patriotic colors of red, white and blue.

Parade participants must have felt safe that day, since AC's finest "men in blue" were there to protect while they marched, too!

Friday the 13th, turned out to be an especially lucky day, at the NJCC Showcase at the Monmouth County Public Library, in Manalapan.  Bernadette Dudek, MSNJSA 2009, who had moved to South Carolina a few years ago, was visiting in New Jersey for a few days. She was invited to sing in that Showcase.  Her rendition of "I Could Have Danced All Night" was as wonderful as ever!

Every year, the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB entertains on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. And this year, the Tuesday, September 17th Showcase was yet another special one. MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, Johanne Santori, who had been away for a while due to medical illness came back and performed. The "Sisters" welcomed her return with a bouquet of roses.

On Thursday, September 19th, there was the annual Showcase at the Canoe Club in Hammonton, and that was followed by a Sunday performance at the Atrium in Red Bank, which overlooks the beautiful Navasink Harbor.  Dr. Al Mott, founder of the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT, attended to enjoy the show along with the residents.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is the service wing of the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT Organization.  Besides performing in age related venues, the Club constantly seeks ladies 60 and over to become contestants in annual MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR PAGEANTS. The CLUB had a great opportunity to do that on television.  On Tuesday, September 24th, they taped a NJCC SHOWCASE on CTF-TV, a community television station in Mays Landing.  The show, "World Focus", hosted by Dr. Thelma Witherspoon aired the following Friday evening.

The focus of Dr. Witherspoon's show is to "share relevant topics that will help, change, and bring awareness to all who watch".  Denise Mechan, NJCC SHOWCASE COORDINATOR, co-hosted the show with Thelma.  She also encouraged those in the viewing area to contact her if they wish to schedule a SHOWCASE for their group.

The show opened with an ensemble number, "With Love, From Motown", a salute to Diana Ross and The Supremes.

During the interviews much was learned about the MSNJSA PAGEANT Organization and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  Johanne Santori, MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, spoke about the philosophy, history, purpose and goals of  MSNJSA PAGEANT.

Terry Meade, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, spoke about the requirements needed for women 60 and over to be come a contestant.  She also encouraged ladies to call her ASAP, because recruitment for the 2020 PAGEANT has already begun.

Dr. Debra Canale, MSNJSA 2019, spoke about how life changed for her after reaching 60, and she needed to refocus and to make the rest of her days more meaningful and productive.  She found that the MSNJSA PAGEANT helped her to realize some of her goals.

The ladies gave stellar individual performances, and the SHOWCASE concluded with the patriotic medley, "This is My Country, God Bless America".

Meanwhile, other NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "Sisters" were out doing community service of their own.  On September 26th, Roxanne Terramagra, organized a sunset cruise along beautiful Atlantic City Bay, for the scholarship program, which benefits the performing arts students who attend Stockton University in Atlantic City.  She invited NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB "Sisters" to perform, who were: Dr. Debra Canale/MSNJSA'19; Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA'10; Suzie Neustatder/MSNJSA'18, Millie Tate/NJCC member, and herself.

Five local newspapers in the Red Bank area covered Denise Larson Ely's platform of organ donation, and her achievement as 1st runner up in the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2019.

It was certainly a "rockin' September", and, as always, the purpose of every performance was to dedicated to 2 things: making people happy, and encouraging ladies 60+ to become contestants in next year's PAGEANT. Terry's phone and/or email is now open!