Tom Pedas's Cranford High School and Elementary School Choruses,
Madrigal Singers and Glee Clubs

See also Tom Pedas's programs at Linden Public Schools

[Cranford High School Choir]

Cranford High School Choirs Win Top Honors In Competition

Cranford Chronicle - Wednesday, June 23, 1993

[Cranford High School Choir - Notre Dame Cathedral, Quebec]

[Cranford High School Choir - Notre Dame Cathedral, Quebec] The Cranford High School Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers under the direction of Tom Pedas, received top honors at the American Choral Directors Association High School Choral Festival held recently at Trenton State College.

This is the third consecutive year that the two Cranford choirs have received a superior rating at the annual three-day festival.

The choirs also recently competed in an International Music Festival in Quebec City, Canada. At this festival, both the concert choir and Madrigal Singers received a silver medal, the highest award at the festival.

For its required selection at the competition, the concert choir sang Ubi Caritas by Maurice Durufle, chosen from the required list from college choirs.

During the trip the choir also performed at a Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal and at the Basillica of Saint Anne de Beaupre. The choir trip was financed through fund-raising activities led by Mr. Pedas and choir officers Dan Beams, president, Guy Patterson, vice president, Rebecca Morris, secretary and Kendra Owens, treasurer. Student director of the concert choir is Karen Cirillo and the student director of the Madrigal Singers is B.J. Goodfellow.

Thursday May,1991
Cranford High's award-winning Madrigal Singers perform at
National Festival of Music competition in Wiliamsburg, Virginia

Cranford High-School singers, under the direction of Tom Pedas, swept the National Festival of Music competition in Williamsburg, Virginia on April 26.

The 11-member Madrigal Singers won the award as best overall choir for having the highest rating of 41 ensembles in the various choral categories. The Madrigals also won superior rating and first place ranking among seven similar choirs.

Soloist Wolodymyr Smishkewych was chosen outstanding vocal soloist ofthe festival. In addition, the concert choir received an excellent rating and second place ranking among 15 groups. In all, 122 ensembles from 27 schools in 12 states participated in the festival.

As a result of the Madrigals' selection as best overall choir, they were the only choral group chosen to perform at the grand finale awards presentation held at the indoor stadium at William and Mary College before approximately 5,000 spectators,

The triumphant members of the Madrigals are DanBeams, Cindy Burd, Peter Cetera, Tom Coleman, EdDavenport, Pia Hartmann, Chrissy Rae,Karen Reszeylo, Smishkewych, Sara Storz and Cristin Waldron.

James Wells, president of Festivals of Music, said, "Cranford High School should be very proud of the performances of their mixed and Madrigal choirs. It is particularly exciting to be around a group of young artists who display such a positive attitude and a genuine concern for their fellow musicians. Not only were they impressive during their performances, but demonstrated this same sense of model discipline in each and every aspect of the weekend's events. Everyone in your community should take pride in having this outstanding group represent Cranford."

Tom Pedas at Cranford Public Schools

[Cranford High School Chorus, Tom Pedas Music Director - May 1993]
Cranford High School Chorus, 1993 —Music Director, Tom Pedas

Mr. Pedas expanded Cranford High School choral program from 72 to more than 200 students including a boys chorus of over 30 boys (a tremendous number of students given the school's total enrollment of 800). The quality of that program is outstanding. For the last several years Cranford has placed among the highest number of students in All-State and Region Chorus, a very visible distinction afforded your high school.” (excerpt from published letter)

Choir Director's Song of Success

Noted teacher gives youths vocal support

by Joseph Picard, Staff Writer — The Home News & Tribune
March 21, 1996

[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 Christmas season performances 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.

Students selected for prestigious choir

Cranford Chronicle - March, 1997

 [National Honors][TomStudent]

Hillside pair heading to San Diego

Students sing their way to national honors

CRANFORD- Hillside Avenue School seventh-graders Stacey McDermott and Keith Shaw are not in class today, but they have a good excuse.

Both are en route to San Diego to perform with the 150-member American Choral Directors Association National Children's Honors Choir Saturday.

Stacey and Keith are two of only four students from New Jersey selected as members of this year's prestigious group.

Recommended by Hillside Avenue School Music Director Tom Pedas, the students auditioned for their seats through a selection of individual and choir group recordings.

"At any point, to have a student accepted is a thrill. This is the fourth time in my career to have students selected for this honor," Mr. Pedas said.

Stacy and Keith are both members of the Hillside Avenue School Chorus and the Celebration Singers Children's Choir, under the direction of Mr. Pedas. They have also been select members of the ALL STATE CHORUS ...

To prepare for the upcoming event, both students have been rehearsing double time with Mr. Pedas. "Once in San Diego, the students' agenda is tight with rehearsals, preparing for the celebrated event. The choir performs a very difficult repertoire. They will be singing in Slovac, Spanish, Latin and English. It's very high-level music, Mr. Pedas said."

The choir performs two concerts at the 3,000-seat San Diego Performing Arts Center Golden Hall for choral directors around the world. They are under the direction of Dr. Anton Armstrong, choral director of the famed St. Olaf Choir in Minnesota.

Music Man’ inspires CHS students to sing out

Cranford Chronicle-by Cheryl Moulton Thursday, May 31, 1990

[News] At 7 a.m. the halls of Cranford High School are deserted but soft sounds of music can be heard coming from the choral music room where the teacher they call the ‘Music Man’ is practicing with a student.

If it seems unusual for a teenager to give up sleep in order to get up and squeeze in a choral practice, think again. For 127 students of Tom Pedas, nothing is impossible. Just ask Pedas, who took over two years ago as choral director and not only increased the choral enrollment from 70 to 127, but attracted a wide diversity of students into the program. "I love kids," he says, "and if they have football practice or a job after school and they really want to be in our program, I find a time for them to practice." Pedas admits his job is "around the clock," explaining he is close to all his students and understands the pressures they are under.

Included under Pedas' direction are the concert choir, boys' choir, girl's choir and the madrigal singers. This year Cranford High School had the second highest number of students (13) in over 150 high schools in the entire state chosen for all-state chorus. The average high school, Pedas said, has two to four students chosen and 50 had no one selected. Last year Pedas served as guest conductor of the Region II chorus (made up of the best singers from 35 high schools in central New Jersey) and this year Cranford had the largest number of students (16) chosen for Region II in its nine-year history.

Several weeks ago the concert choir traveled to Orlando to participate in the Florida World International Music Festival and won a silver medal. Pedas proudly explains more than 3,600 choirs, bands and orchestras since 1972 have been judged at international festivals but fewer than 24 percent have earned silver medals. While in Florida the concert choir and the madrigal singers performed for Walt Disney's Magic Music Days and were guests at Epcot Center for a day.

Pedas managed to take the strictly classical program set up by former director Jim Lenney, who retired, and introduce songs from the '50's like ‘The Duke of Earl’ and ‘Where the Boys Are,’ complete with choreography. Pedas says they have "brought the house down" at concerts with the variation in musical direction, and managed to attract more students into the program.

Pedas' easy going, relaxed nature and ability to relate to teenagers have much to do with the success of the choral program. During the interview, we sat on the floor talking with his students in the choral group. The conversation was marked with laughter and joking about the recent trip to Florida, and it was easy to see the camaraderie between student and teacher was a special one.

Pedas spent 15 years as a teacher in the Linden school system, 10 years as a general music teacher to the first through sixth grades, and in 1983 moved into the high school as vocal music director. During his years in Linden, Pedas said he patterned his program after Lenney's here in Cranford. When Lenney retired, Pedas took a cut in pay to assume the position at Cranford High School, claiming, "I thought I went to teacher paradise...Cranford is very supportive of the arts and culturally minded, which paves the way for a teacher."

As the last bell of the day sounded, Pedas quietly said, "Some would say I get too involved, but I love teaching; it's in my blood. My reward is to take a student who has potential for talent and watch him or her develop. The greatest gift a teacher can give is to inspire. A choral director once did that for me when I was in high school." There is little doubt many of his students say the same about him.

CHS choir director to conduct the Regional Chorus on Sunday

Cranford Chronicle — Wednesday, January 26, 1989

[Region Chorus]

[Regional] [Regional] Tom Pedas, vocal music director at Cranford High School, will conduct regional chorus on Sunday at Union High School.

The 130 choral singers, selected through competitive auditions, represent 37 central New Jersey high schools. The concert, which also features the regional orchestra, is open to the public. It is sponsored by the Central Jersey Music Educators Association.

The choral program will include both classical and modern selections.

Pedas, who formerly taught vocal music in the Linden public schools from 1973 until joining the Cranford district in September, has won numerous awards including the master music teacher award.

The concert Choir at Linden High School while under Pedas's direction won a silver medal, the highest award, at the international music festival in Montreal, received ratings of excellent for statewide choral competitions sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association, and ratings of superior for national choral competitions sponsored by the Heritage Music Festival in Newport, R.I.

Pedas has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with various choral groups. He founded the Linden Summer Playhouse and has directed several shows there.

Hillside Avenue School to Send 23 Music Students
to Sing in New Jersey All-State Choral Festivals

The Cranford Chronicle

Twenty-three students from Hillside Avenue School in Cranford have been chosen to participate in the 1996 New Jersey All-State Festival Choruses. This is the largest number of students chosen from any single school in the entire state. The students, under the direction of Tom Pedas, vocal music director at the school, were chosen based on auditions held in January and will perform in the annual concert to be held 4:30p.m. Saturday in the Westfield High School auditorium.

This annual event is sponsored by the New Jersey Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association and gives talented students from around the state the opportunity to perform under the direction of nationally recognized choral conductors. This year's Elementary Festival Chorus will be directed by Joan Gregory of Washington, D.C. and the Junior High Chorus will be conducted by Donald Dumpson from Westminister Choir College in Princeton. Students have been learning their music with their individual teachers for the last two months and will rehearse for the first time with their guest conductors 9a.m. on the day of the concert. The concert will feature music by Mozart, Bach, and Handel as well as some Jazz and ethnic music.

Hillside Avenue School students chosen for the elementary chorus are Sarah Gillespie, Allison Kitzhoffer, Stacey McDermott, Katie Meola, Melissa Pparozzi,Mark Seidenstein, Willian Singer, Stephanie Clay, Samantha Dango, Molly Frieri, Nereida Heller, Amanda Procaccino, Keith Shaw and Katie Singer. Hillside students chosen for the Junior High Chorus are Veronica Heller, Melissa Lowe, Becky Turner, Ian Allcock, Mark Subacius, Chris Anders, Patrick McDermott, Brendan Muha and Kevin Tardif...

[Madrigals]  [Madrigals]
County Leader Newspapers - May 14, 1987

Madrigals Chosen

The Linden High School Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Tom Pedas, have been chosen to represent Union County in the state Teen Arts Festival. The Madrigal Singers, will be performing at the Linden High School Spring Concert Tuesday at 8 p.m. The concert will also feature the school boys choir, the girls choir and the concert choir. Featured soloists will be Allison Frazier, Patrick A. Young, Khayan Garner, Kevin Brady, Jonathan Parham, Dionne Jennings, David Valian, Mike Gallo and Joanne Caravanno.

Top Awards

Linden — Linden High School's Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers took top awards at a Newport, R.I. heritage music competition recently. While both groups won first place and superior ratings, the madrigals collected the highest overall score of the festival. From left, are director Tom Pedas and students James Parham, Nancy Pohl and Omar Garner.

The Madrigal Singers of Cranford High School stand in the rotunda of the Union County Courthouse, where they sent a musical message of holiday joy to all of the county's residents.


Ten choir members chosen

Cranford Chronicle - January 26, 1989

Ten members of the Cranford High School choir will perform with the regional high school choir Sunday at Union High School at 3 p.m.

They are: Megan Skarecki, Kristin Dibella, Christine Rae, Thomas Coleman, Mari-Jose Riera, Vladymyr Smishkewych, Michael Schweikardt, Jeffrey Knight, Matthew Beams and Timothy Fiorello. The regional choir will be conducted by Tom Pedas, music director at Cranford High School (see related story)

Kristen Dibella Fuller
WHERE ARE THEY NOW Kristen Dibella

Kristen is the vocal music director at Linden (New Jersey) High School and serves as Assistant Director to the Celebration Singers and Childrens Chorus.

Kristen was Tom Pedas's vocal music student at Cranford High School where she participated in numerous award winning choral competitions.


Khy Garner Khy Garner In the spring of 2000 the Celebration Singers welcomed fellow singer Khayan Garner into a new role as director of the adult choir. Khy has been involved in music since his early school days where he was a student, from 1974-1987, of Tom Pedas. Khy is pictured above as a Cranford High School Madrigal Singer.

Khy has taught elementary music in Maplewood, New Jersey and at St. Joseph's School in East Orange where he formed for the first time at each school a children's gospel choir.

Khy attended Westminster Choir College, majoring in Music Education where he performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the Westminster Singers. In high school, Khy was a member of the award winning Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers at Linden High School and ranked first chair in the New Jersey All State Chorus and Region II Chorus. Khy has also performed in musicals with the Linden Summer Playhouse and is the musical director and founder of the Traveling Chamber Choir called Legato. He is co-founder of the Linden based theater company, Mystic Vision Players, where he directed vocally as well as performed with the group.

Khy began his musical career under the direction of Tom Pedas in 1974.

In Dec 99 during a TV interview relating to his role as King Balthazar in ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ Khy spoke of his former music teacher, Tom Pedas, “I've known Tom since 1974 when he taught me in First Grade. He was my inspiration to go to Westminster Choir College...”

Cranford High School — Spring Choral Concert
Cranford High School Auditorium
May 19, 1993 at 8:00PM
Tom Pedas, Music Director; Vocal Music Teacher
Mary Beth McFall, Accompanist

The Program

Ave Verum Corpus — William Byrd
Nun Danket Alle Gott — Johann Pachelbel
Kyrie (from Mass in G) — Franz Schubert

Soloist: Karen Cirillo
Accompanist: John Ondrey

Ubi Caritas — Maurice Durufle
Soloist: Rebecca Morris
Ain'-A That Good News! — William Dawson
Swinging With The Saints — Mark Hayes

Clorinda — Orlando Morgan
Ave Maria — Jacques Arcadelt
Praise We Sing — Franz Joseph Haydn
The Pasture (from Frostiana) — Randall Thompson

Das Hertz Tut Mir Aufspringen — Hans Leo Hassler
Lasciatemi Morire — Claudio Monteverdi
Au Joli Jeu — Clement Janequin
The Gift To Be Simple — arr. Bob Chilcott

Tears in Heaven — Eric Clapton
Singers: B.J. Goodfellow, Rebecca Morris, Dan Beams
Guitar:Jerry Schlichating, Chris Soltis

Embraceable You —arr. Steve Zegree
Soloist: Kendra Owings
How Could You Believe Me — arr. Stephan Lawrence

Sam Was A Man — Vincent Persichetti
Vere Languores Nostros — Antonio Lotti
Imagine — John Lennon
Soloist: Kara Fortunato
You Believed In Me — Linda Spevacek
Soloist: Tracey Fulling
Hand Signs:Wendy Christiani, Margot Iglesias, Janel Mays, Cynthia Reynolds

A Whole New World — Tim Rice/Alan Menken

O Clap Your Hands — Vaughan Williams
Instrumentalists: Eric Williams, Stan Garbowski, Jeff Sowa
Walter Schweikardt, John Ondrey, John Soltis, E.J. Sheara

Tom Pedas, Vocal Music Teacher


Scott Acampora, Robert Billson, Rob Borowski, Robert Coakley, Peter Dittmar, Scott Dobrin, Michael Driscoll, John Fay, Anthony Fiorillo, David Gutherz, Ken Hartmann, Jon Haug, Ryan Hynes, Lamonte Jones, Johnnell Joyner, Chris Kaltreider, Matthew Kavalus, Eugene Kobliska,Joe LaBracio, Jeremy Lisnock, Chris Lowe, Chris Margadonna, Eric Patterson, Michael Pean, Phillip Reilly, Jose-Luis Riera, Ryan Riley, Jerry Schlichting, Tony Smith, Joseph Sobon, Chris Soltis, John Soltis, Greg Sowa, Ron Walker, Dimitrios Xarhoulakos.


Catherine Anderson, Christine Baumann, Andea Bieksha, Amy Blitz, Tracy Boyd, Alicia Bucciarelli, Mandie Burisch, Maria Campanelli, Wendy Christiani, Meredith Cierkowski, Tashika Crawley, Jessica Curia, Kara Dackermann, Melissa Daquino, Susan DiFabio, Melanie Dinsmore, Laura Douglas, Tara Eagle, Valerie Eurell, Daniella Fitzgerald, Kara Fortunato, Tracy Fulling, Sabina Garbowski, Kathleen Gormanly, Amy Grutzmacher, Melissa Guthrie, Larissa Hanna, Kelly Harnett, Denise Heywood, Danielle Huff, Jackie Huff, Margot Iglesias, Heather Jenkins, Natalie Johnson, Stephanie Karmol, Meghan Kavalus, Foulla Ketrikidis, Stephanie Kovac, Jennifer Labonte, Greta Lange, Lola Lewis, Maria Lima, Lauren Macksoud, Nicole Malfetti, Nicole Maron, Jennifer Masin, Janel Mays, Maureen McDougall, Meghan McLeer, Karen McManus, Mandy Mertens, Cheryl Mitchell, Michelle Mulvaney, Heather Murray, Robyn Opacity, Kendra Owins, Elizabeth Pavics, Alyson Pemoulie, Jackie Pentland, Adrienne Petrino, Hiba Qaraman, Kinberly Reinhard, Cynthia Reynolds, Jessica Rodriguez, Cori Saftlas, Maura Slattery, Shannon Slattery, Adrienne Stelzner, Amy Trotter, Patty Turowski, Maria Vassallo, Alicia Weeden, Jennifer Wilson, Kate Wilson, Alla Yampolskaya, Alison Zakrzewski, Elizabeth Zanes.


Don Andretta, Daniel Beams, Rebecca Bobrowski, Elissa Cagan, Michelle Casaciano, Karen Cirillo, Gary Conrad, Brian Darling, Tanja Funk, Stanley Garbowski, Allison Goldman, B.J. Goodfellow, Hal Hansen, Heather Hensler, Allen Hopkins, Leah Hunt, Kathryn Kabel, Mandy Keeley, Jana LaBracio, Keith Machsoud, Jennifer Macksoud, Sarah Jane Mariano, Bernadette Matten, Tara McFadden, Rebecca Morris, Julie Newman, Mellisa Nordstrom, John Ondrey, Kendra Owings, Guy Patterson, Kathleen Patterson, Colleen Rae, Jeff Reszetylo, Walter Schweikardt, Eric Sheara, Randy Shehady, Marc Skarecki, Kimberly Smith, Jeff Sowa, Frank Spirito, Paul Subacius, Jo-Al Truglio, Eric Williams, Karla Williams, John Witherington


Daniel Beams, B.J. Foodfellow, Jana LaBracio, Bernadette Matten, Tara McFadden, Rebecca Morris, Kendra Owings, Guy Patterson, Eric Sheara, Marc Skarecki, Paul Subacius, John Witherington

Tom Pedas conducts Hillside Avenue School Choir
[Hillside Chorus] 

[Hillside Chorus]

Tom Pedas, The Celebration Singers and Children's Chorus


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