Noted teacher gives youths vocal support
by Joseph Picard, Staff Writer
The Home News & Tribune
Through the ages, from at least the Book of Job to a fairly recent Coca Cola promotion, people have been expressing a desire to have everyone sing together.
It's a tall order, but Tom Pedas a Roselle resident and a music teacher in Cranford's public schools is doing his best to make it a reality.
Pedas is the creator and volunteer musical director of the Celebration Children's Choir, a group of 42 youngsters, ages 9 to 13, hailing from 12 towns in Union and Middlesex counties. Their goal is simple: to fill the air with song and the heart with joy.
"And it gives the kids the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy a wide range of music, from classical to Broadway show tunes," said Pedas.
He began the choir in late October and managed to get 30 youngsters vocally ready for Celebration Singers Christmas season performance, "Holiday of Hope" on Dec. 15 and 16 at the United Methodist Church in Cranford where Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and Let There Be Peace on Earth were among the selections. The choir now has 12 more members and is gearing up for the spring season.
We held auditions in early March and were really surprised by the amount of children who came out, about twice as many as expected, said Pedas, an award-winning music teacher in the Linden school system before going to Cranford schools.
In 1979, Pedas founded the Linden Summer Theater, which is still in operation. That same year Pedas was honored by the New Jersey Music Educators Association as Master Music Teacher of the Year for dedicated service to the education of youth.
The passage of years apparently hasn't diminished Pedas' enthusiasm for the volunteer work he does.
We now have 42 talented singers, 22 girls and 20 boys, Pedas said. The youngsters come from Cranford, Clark, Linden, Rahway, Union, Roselle, Woodbridge, Edison, Plainfield, Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Westfield.
Tom Pedas, The Celebration Singers and Children's Chorus