[music noteline]

About Tom Pedas

A Musical Tribute to Tom Pedas

Friends and colleagues organized a surprise retirement "Musical Celebration of Tom Pedas's Life". Former students reanacted Tom's life through song and dance recreating many roles Tom had taught them.

Rick Flynn, as Emcee, narrated the saga. Tom was portrayed by Eddie Egan, who as "The Music Man" journeys by train from western Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Stops along the way highlight Tom's musical achievements. The train makes an unscehduled stop at "Les Mis" at the Inn of the Thermadiers where the guests are invited to dinner.






[Retirement] [Retirement]

The Cranford Eagle

Teacher's career hits end note - Pedas poised to leave teaching

by Amy S. Bobrowski, Staff writer
Thurssday, June 3, 2004

[News Article] After teaching music for more than three decades,Tom Pedas, has decided it's time to take a rest.

Pedas has taught music and directed choirs for 33 years, 16 of them in the Cranford School District. Pedas spent five years as Cranford High School's choir director before moving to his position at Hillside Avenue School. This June, the music teacher will retire from his post at Hillside Avenue School.

Although he enjoyed teaching at the high school level the most, the hardest part about his retirement will be leaving the younger children.

“The eighth-graders will be leaving the school anyway,” said Pedas. “The toughest part will be leaving the little kids, most of whom I've taught since they cane to this school. A little third-grader said to me, 'Mr. Pedas, why do you have to retire? Can't you stay until I go to high school?' That's what makes it so tough.”

Students aren't the only ones who consider Pedas a special person. Co-workers and administrators also sing his praise.

“Mr. Pedas is a person with many talents,” said Superintendent of Schools Lawrence Feinsod. “ Through his efforts, Cranford had many students in state and regional choral groups. We've had more of our students involved than many other towns.”

During his tenure at Hillside Avenue School, Pedas had more than 200 Students chosen for All State Elementary and Junior High Honor Choir. Eight of his students also were chosen for All Eastern United States Honor Choir, while nine were chosen for National Honor Choirs. Likewise, while he taught at Cranford High School, more than 150 of his students were selected for state and regional honor choirs.

“Tom Pedas has a tremendous ability to teach the young voice, to help students find their voice and grow in their voices,” said Lynn Berry, director of the Cranford High School music department.

In a way, Pedas actually has taught the world to sing. In 1993, while he was teaching at the high school, Pedas and his students participated in the Rhythm Around the World Program.

Pedas brought more than 150 students from around the world to Cranford for four days.

“Everyone said I was crazy and that I wouldn't be able to house all of these students, but I did it, ” said Pedas. “The community was wonderful, especially considering that some of the students didn't speak English.”

Pedas' talents and efforts aren't limited to choral directing.

He is the founder of the Linden Summer Playhouse, which he directed for seven years, and the founder of Celebration Children's Choir. He has directed musicals for Hillside Avenue School, Scotch Plains Players , and Mystic Vision Players, and he has served as musical director for the Cranford Repertory Theatre.

Pedas said he did not realize how busy he had been until he pulled out old scrapbook where he has kept pictures and articles of his accomplishments while working in Cranford.

“I just keep doing,” said Pedas, “I go from one project to the next that I never really kept track of everythink I did until I looked at this old book.”

This year Pedas directed “ Les Misérables ” for Scotch Plain-Franwood High School.

To help students embrace their roles, Pedas took the cast to soup kitchens to serve meals and to perform at homeless shelters.

The cast also chartered a bus to bring the residents of a shelter to one of their performances. A canister drive at the end of each performance raised more than $5,500 for the Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County.

“We thought we'd raise $1,000 maybe,” said Pedas. “We had no idea we'd be able to raise this much.” Their production of Les Misérables recieved various Rising Star nominations from Paper Mill Playhouse.

Pedas could tell hundreds of stories about individual people that make teaching worthwhile, but one of his favorite moments took place during a trip to Virginia with the school choir.

“We were competing in the Williamsburg Music Festival against 43 other choirs and we came in first place,” said Pedas. “The best part was singing at William and Mary College for all 5,000 poeple we just beat.”

Though he is retiring, Pedas will still keep himself busy. He most likely will continue to direct musicals and has received an offer to teach a class at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Pedas also might return to working on cruise ships, as he had done before.

Additionally, Pedas successfully ran the New York City Marathon in 1993 and soon hopes to participate in another marathon.

“I'm not going to be sitting around, that's for sure,” said Pedas.

Pedas has been a guiding force and an inspiration to many students throughout his teaching career. Recently, a surprise retirement party was given in his honor. More than 200 peers, colleagues and former students attended.

“Students I've taught years ago still call or visit to thank me for all I've done,” said Pedas. “It's all of those little moments I love.”

Pedas' last project at Hillside Avenue School will be directing the eighth-grade choir for Class Night later this month. He will work with his students right up until that moment and his students know he won't settle for anything less than their best efforts.

“He's a bit of a perfectionist,” said eighth-grader Noah Anderson. “It needs to be the best it can possibly be. He makes us try our hardest, but that's a good thing.”

Go To News Articles


Tom Pedas — Hitting the right notes.

by Herb Ditzel 3rd — August 25,1996
[Star Ledger]

BORN: Sharon Pa.


OCCUPATION: Music teacher at Hillside Avenue School in Cranford

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: An award-winning music teacher, Pedas started the Celebration Children's Choir this year to give children the opportunity to learn and perform music, ranging from light classics to Broadway show tunes. He completed his first year as director of the Celebration Singers, a group giving concerts in the area for more than 50 years. He is on the board of directors of the American Choral Directors Association of New Jersey and was founder of the Linden Summer Playhouse. A former vocal music director in the Linden public schools, he was named the "Master Music teacher of New Jersey" by the New Jersey Music Educators Association for his "dedicated service to the education of youth"

ON MUSIC AND TEACHING " I love working with people. From the time I was in grade school, I wanted to be a teacher. It is great to work with people on all levels, to be able to teach someone who can't sing or to take a good singer to a higher level. The children and adults are super together. Watching the faces of people 9 to 59 on stage is incredible. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing."

WHY THE GROUPS ARE IMPORTANT: " In Europe, there are lots of opportunities for families to sing together in community choirs. We have that in this country, but not to such an extent. We have families in our children and adult groups. Children are being exposed to a wide variety of very good music. Not only do they hear the adults sing, but they learn basic skills and teamwork, and develop self-esteem. They meet kids from different towns, and it is great to watch kids who don't know each other become friends over the course of a year."

FAVORITE MUSIC: Broadway show tunes

FAVORITE FOOD: Greek and Italian

HOBBIES: RUNNING ( He ran the New York City Marathon three years ago).


[Tom running Marathon]  [Marathon]  [Nieces] 


[Tom Ted ]  [tom on ship] 

Tom Pedas was instrumental in creating and implementing Culture at Sea programs aboard the Pedas-Sigler theme cruises. Tom is shown above with his brothers Ted and George on a Mediterranean Theater-At-Sea sailing.

During August Tom Pedas implemented one of four Pedas/Sigler Eclipse'99 Black Sea Eclipse cruises aboard the World Renaissance which successfully intercepted the total eclipse of the sun on August 11, 1999.

Read about the Pedas CULTURE AT SEA program
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[Cruise Program]  [Office]  [Culture at sea Program]  [Parthenon] 

Tom Pedas — Stage Experience

[1776 production] 


1967 - "Bye Bye Birdie" - Harvey Johnson - Kenley Players (Warren, Ohio)

1970 - "The Three Penny Opera" - Buzz - Edinboro State College (Edinboro, Pa.)

1971 - "You're A good Man Charlie Brown" - Linus - Holiday Inn Theatre (New Castle, Pa)

1986 - "Shenandoah" - Jacob - Union County Arts Center (Rahway, N.J.)

1986 " 1776" - Judge Wilson - Masque and Mime Productions (Roselle, N.J.)

1987 - " Camelot" -Dap (Lancelot's Squire) - Plays in the Park (Edison, N.J.)

1987 - "Oklahoma" - Jud Fry - Union County Arts Center (Rahway, N.J.)

1994 - "The Most Happy Fella" - Pasquale- Cranford Dramatic Club Theater (Cranford, N.J.)

2001 - " The Fantasticks" - Bellomy- Cranford Dramatic Club Theater (Cranford, N.J.)

[Farrell High School]

1967 — Tom Pedas performs in his high school's production of "Bye Bye Birdie"
Farrell Senior High School, Farrell, Pennsylvania

[Camelot] [1776 Production] [MaryBeth] [Tom on Stage] 

Tom Pedas, The Celebration Singers and Children's Chorus


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