Women In Song and Service Since 1928
The Ridgewood Choral is a friendly women’s chorus founded by Frank Kasschau in 1928 to enhance the musical culture of the area and to do service for the community. The Choral is dedicated to performing good vocal literature in a variety of musical styles from classical to contemporary, sacred to secular, baroque to Broadway.
A special aspect of the Choral is its active social service tradition. During the Depression, the women of the Choral raised money for the Ridgewood Foundation Fund through a series of concerts with the Orpheus Club, the men’s chorus of Ridgewood. The Frank Kasschau Memorial Shell was funded in large part by ticket sales to the Choral’s summer pop concerts, and the group sang at the Shell’s opening along with the Orpheus Club. Proceeds from succeeding summer concerts helped to purchase a grand piano for the Benjamin Franklin Junior High School.
With a song in our heart, we continue to serve our community in other ways. Our Holiday Musicale, which began as an intimate gathering for prospective members, today has become a highlight for many area seniors who enjoy our beautiful music and seasonal treats. We take this concert, as well as our spring concert, “on the road” as we perform for seniors who may otherwise be unable to come to us. We also continue to host various social events such as the ever-popular “card and games” party, enrichment trips, and sing-alongs. Recently, collections of school supplies for students in need and contributions to local food pantries have been part of our social service routine.
Beginning in 1967, The Ridgewood Choral added a new dimension to its concept of service by creating The Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award. What began as a $250 award has grown to a $2,500 scholarship. In 2018, The Ridgewood Choral announced it will be adding an additional scholarship – The Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award – in the amount of $1,200. This award honors Marge’s 25 years as our esteemed conductor and friend. Under her baton, the Ridgewood Choral has continued to grow and flourish, expanding our repertoire and vocal abilities. Both awards are offered yearly to a senior high school musician who meets our criteria for excellence, and both awards offer performance opportunities at our spring concert. Click on the MUSIC AWARDS page to learn more about the competition and past winners.
The Ridgewood Choral is a not-for-profit organization supported through the generosity of associate members, friends, and our concert audience. The Choral is a member of the Ridgewood Arts Council and the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce. The Choral is a Silver Charter Member of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, NJ.
Marjorie Vandervoort, has been the Choral Director of The Ridgewood Choral since 1993. She brings the experience of a lifelong involvement with music to the position. Growing up in Ridgewood, she studied piano with Howard Kasschau and Florence Monell Marble. Vandervoort has appeared as a solo soprano in recital and as a guest artist with groups in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere, as well as on educational recordings.
Ms. Vandervoort currently serves as assistant conductor of Ars Musica. She has been associate conductor of the Rockland Camerata, guest conductor of Harmony Basket Chorus (a choir of Japanese women), as well as director of church choirs.
A resident of Closter, New Jersey, Ms. Vandervoort runs her own art and custom framing business, The Mirage Portfolio. She and her late husband Robert have 3 daughters, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren completing the family.
Susan LaFever has been Pianist of The Ridgewood Choral since 2008, Music Director at Ridgewood United Methodist Church in NJ, and has been a collaborative pianist and vocal coach for over twenty years. Ms. LaFever received a Bachelor of Music Performance degree in Horn and Piano at Union College in Lincoln, NE and while earning her Master of Music in Horn Performance at the University of Nebraska was awarded a full teachingassistantship to serve as pianist in the vocal and instrumental studios.
Currently she is the director of The Ridgewood Singers, and past pianist for Ars Musica Chorale. She has accompanied Broadway stars, members of the New York Philharmonic and other soloists in concert and was conductor/pianist for the Northeast tour of Scrooge, The Musical. For the past few years, she has been one of the accompanists at Montclair State University and is a past pianist with the Choral Department at Kean University and the Garden State Opera. This summer, Susan returns to teach chamber music and horn in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria, Germany as an Artist Faculty member of the InterHarmony International Music Festival.
- Victor Messineo 1991-1993
- Doris Montville 1971-1991
- Howard Kasschau
- Frank Kasschau, Founding Director
- Ron Levy 2006-2008
- Janet Montroy 2006
- Eldonna Marie Filardi 2005
- Richard Lane 1971-2004
- Doris Montville -1971
2017-2018 BOARD OFFICERS
- President: Thia Longhi
- First Vice-President and Music Committee Chair: Laura Van Orden
- Second Vice-Presidents and Receptions & Hospitality Co-Chairs: Dianne Kidwell and Penny Gaynor
- Third Vice-President and Publicity Chair: Fran Kaufmann
- Treasurer: Gail Landzettel
- Recording Secretary: Rosemary Dujnic
- Corresponding Secretary: Sanjukta Basu