Verona’s Holiday Sounds


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The Verona-Cedar Grove Chorus performing at Fair in the Square

A holiday season brings with it lots of holiday music and given the number of musicians in Verona, there are plenty of opportunities to hear good music close to home at a very reasonable price. Here’s who’s performing where, day by day.

Sunday, December 11: Four Verona youths–Patrick Citrano, Maura Cuddihy, Michael Hardenberg and Paul Salierno–will be among the more than three dozen performers at the Christmas concert at First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell.  Verona resident Barbara Piercy is the minister of music there, and her husband, Noel Piercy, is the associate director of music. The concert begins at 4 p.m. It is is free, but a free-will offering will be held. The church is located at the traffic light in the center of Caldwell. There will also be a candlelight service with Christmas music that day at the First Presbyterian Church of Verona.

Wednesday, December 14: If you have a child in H.B. Whitehorne, you know that the middle school concert for the general public will be next Wednesday, December 14. If you have a budding vocal or instrumental musician, this is an excellent way to show them what is possible with just a bit more practice. There will be performances by the Maroon White and Gold bands, as well as the Voices and Acoustics choruses. The concert will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Verona High School (HBW’s auditorium is too small) and it is free.

Friday, December 16-Monday December 26: Verona violinist Mark Giannini will be among the musicians supporting the New Jersey Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. “The Nutcracker” is a must-see at the holidays, and at $19 to $59 a ticket, it is considerably cheaper in Morristown than in Manhattan, where the New York City Ballet performs.

Saturday, December 17: SMyle, a band with a long Verona history, is performing at the Ringside Pub in Caldewell, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. More details on the band’s Facebook event page.

Sunday, December 18: The Verona-Cedar Grove Chorus will be spreading holiday cheer at its annual holiday concert, which begins at 4 p.m. at VHS. The chorus will be performing “The First Noel/Pachelbel’s Canon”, Mozart’s “Alleluja” from “Motet Exsultate”, “Jubilate”, the doo-wop teaser “Down the Chimney” and Moonlight Sleigh Ride, among others. Denise Bastanza is the musical director and Paul Villareal is the accompanist. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. For more information, contact Tom Jung at 973-953-3667, or visit the V-CG chorus Web site.

Sunday, December 18: Calvary Lutheran Church holds its annual live nativity from 5 to 7 p.m. The performance by parishioners includes music. The church is located on South Prospect Street just south of Bloomfield Avenue.

Wednesday, December 21: The Verona High School music program takes the stage.  The Concert and Jazz bands will perform, as well as the Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. in the VHS auditorium and it is free.

Saturday, December 24: Our Lady of the Lake has three choirs and they will all be performing at different times. The Children’s Choir will sing at the 4 p.m. vigil mass, while the Adult Choir will sing at 10 p.m.  The Contemporary Choir and Orchestra will perform at midnight mass.

Saturday, December 24:  Verona resident Karen Merchant will be singing on Christmas Eve at the First United Methodist Church, 24 North Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, at their evening service. Merchant who teaches piano in Verona, will also be doing a solo concert of lieder and art songs at Manhattan’s historic John Street Church, the  oldest Methodist Church in America, on Thursday, January 19.  She sings at John Street for its regular 11 a.m. Sunday services on December 11, January 1 and January 15.

The video below is from the VHS Concert Band’s 2010 holiday performance. Enjoy!

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


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