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!