Verona Voices Plans Fall Season, Welcomes New Accompanist

Verona Voices, formerly The Verona-Cedar Grove Chorus, is going through a lot more changes that just their name change as they prepare for the fall season.

Paul Villarreal had been their accompanist for the last 4 years and is relocating out of town.  “We’re really going to miss him,” said Tom Jung, President of Verona Voices.  “Not only was he a superb and dedicated pianist, but he could fill in for the director.  He had a good voice and would sometimes sing to help us learn our parts.”

The new accompanist is Helga Bartus, who graduated with honors from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, Hungary with a Masters of organ performance and teaching. She attended several master classes and festivals and gave numerous concerts in Hungary and many countries in Europe. She taught organ and piano in Hungary. In 2003, she received a scholarship to the Montclair State University, where she spent a year as a visiting scholar studying organ and did research work about the history of the organ in the United States in the 18th century. She gave concerts in New York City, in New Jersey and Maryland.

Denise Bastanza continues as Director, as she has done since 1996.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music and has taught vocal and instrumental music in the public schools for 11 years.  She currently maintains a private music teaching studio in Verona.

Verona Voices is looking for new singers and has members from around Essex County.  Last season, Altos were in short supply, but all voices are needed.  To give prospective new members a chance to get the feel of the group, an Open House is always held before the first rehearsal of the season.  This year, the Open House will be on Tuesday, September 10th at 7pm in the Music Room of H. B. Whitehorne Middle School.  Light refreshments will be served.  The Music Room is accessible through the door nearest the Chase Bank or Terry’s Drugs in Municipal Lot #1 in Verona.  Rehearsal follows at 7:30.

A December concert is planned to be held in Verona High School, along with one or two benefit performances.  Past performances can be viewed on the web site. For more information, call Tom Jung at 973-953-3667, email, or visit

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