The Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award and The Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award

The Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award. The Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award for excellence in vocal or instrumental performance is given annually to a high school senior intending to continue his or her musical education at a school of higher learning.

The Ridgewood Choral Scholarship Fund was instituted by the Choral in 1967, and five years later, B. Franklin Reinauer endowed the fund as a memorial to his wife, Florence. The current award to the winner is $2,500. Since its inception, over $42,000 has been awarded to encourage talented young musicians.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Florence Reinauer Memorial Fund to ensure that young musicians will have the support they need to continue their musical studies. Donations are often made in the memory of a deceased loved one, to celebrate a joyous occasion, or even to honor a special event. To print the donation form, please click on this link: Memorial Fund Donation Form.

The Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award in the amount of $1,200 was instituted during the 90th Anniversary Season (2017-2018) in honor of Marjorie Vandervoort’s 25 years of service as our Music Director. This award is intended solely for excellence in vocal performance.

The Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award, is – as its name implies – only for vocalists, in contrast to the Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award which the Choral has been giving for 51 years for either an instrumentalist or a vocalist. The Board has been aware for some time that in that competition vocalists are often at a disadvantage due to the fact that teenage vocalists have immature instruments, whereas instrumentalists have most often been taking lessons since early childhood. For this reason, and because we are a choral group, we thought it time to recognize the amazing talent of the vocalists who audition for the Florence Reinauer Award but do not win that award. In naming the award, we thought to honor our beloved director of 26 years, Marjorie Vandervoort. Just as Ms. Vandervoort continues to inspire us with the love of music, we hope that the Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award inspires young singers to pursue their passion for performing for many years to come.

Donations to this fund are welcomed and are tax deductible. To make a donation to the Marjorie Vandervoort Award, please go to the Donations page, or simply click on this link: Annual Fund Donation Form.

Acknowledgements of donations to either Award will be sent, and both the donor and honoree will be listed in the latest spring concert program. The Ridgewood Choral thanks you in advance for your support of our Awards, and the young and talented musicians they support.


2020 Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award. Organist Bruce Xu of Sloatsburg, NY has been awarded the 2020 Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award.

Bruce Zu, Organist. Photo: Robert E. Lang/Spreckels Organ Society

Bruce Xu, 17, from Sloatsburg, New York, was introduced to the grand pipe organ and the Protestant Church in his local Sloatsburg United Methodist Church. Within a month, he started organ lessons with Jimrae Lenser at age 9, and then went on to study with Craig Williams.

Bruce continued his studies at University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ high school, where he studied organ performance with Timothy Olsen and sang with the Cantata Singers (of UNCSA). Bruce was also Music Intern at Augsburg Lutheran Church.

Bruce is currently the Organ Scholar of St. Mary’s-in-Tuxedo Episcopal Church.

At age 14 alone, Bruce won First Prize in six organ competitions: UNCSA/Salem College High School Organ Festival & Competition (Winston-Salem, NC); Greater Columbia AGO Chapter Young Organist Competition (Columbia, SC); East Carolina University Young Artist Organ Competition (Greenville, NC); L. Cameron Johnson Memorial Organ Competition (Storrs, CT); AGO Quimby/RCYO Chapter Competition (Atlanta, GA); and AGO Quimby/RCYO Regional Competition (Jacksonville, FL). As the winner of the momentous regional, Bruce was granted a “Rising Star” performance in the 2018 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (Kansas City, MO). Bruce won Second Prize in the 2018 Poister Competition as well as the 2018 Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival.

Bruce thoroughly enjoys playing classical piano; his four-octave-range vocal chords in various styles; flute; and jazz in Suffern’s Big Band. He also enjoys playing soccer and tennis.

To watch and listen to Bruce Xu, here at age 16, play the mighty work by impressionist composer Maurice Duruflé at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, Florida, please click this link:

2020 Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award. Vocalist Caitlin O’Brien of Glen Rock, NJ has been awarded the 2020 Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award.

Caitlin O’Brien, Vocalist

Ms. Caitlin O’Brien is a senior at Glen Rock High School and will be pursuing a double major in Classical Vocal Performance and Music Education this fall. For the past four years, she has had the honor to sing with the Bergen County Choir. She also participated in the NJMEA Opera Festival in her Junior year, where she was awarded 3rd place in the aria competition. At GRHS, she is a choir officer and has been a member of all three school choirs since freshman year. She has had solo opportunities in every concert, and when competing in the Heritage Music Festival with her school, she received the Maestro Award for her solo performance of Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum”. She is active in the GRHS musical theatre and theatre programs as well, and recently played the title role in their production of Cinderella. Not only is she involved with the music program at her school, she also brings her artistic talents to the community. She is a regular featured soloist with the Glen Rock Pops Orchestra and the Community Church of Glen Rock. She can also be heard singing the National Anthem at numerous civic and sporting events in the area. She currently studies in New York City with University of Michigan Voice Professor Melody Racine.

To watch and listen to Caitlin O’Brien sing “Un moto di gioia” K579 from Le Nozze Di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, please click this link:

Many thanks to the Judges for the 2020 auditions:

Emma Schmiedecke. Photo: Eric Snoza

Emma Schmiedecke, cellist and 2008 Music Award Winner was most recently awarded a Silver Medal in the Professional Category of the 4th Manhattan International Music Competition. She is co-founder of the chamber group Duo Caprice, is a core member of OrchestraOne NYC, and is a teaching artist in cello for the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Emma recently received both a Graduate Diploma and a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. She also holds an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Music from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Bard College, all magna cum laude.


Carl Patrick Bolleia. Photo, Fran Kaufmann

Carl Patrick Bolleia, pianist and 2004 Music Award winner has performed as soloist, conductor and collaborative pianist at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, NJPAC and countless prestigious concert halls nation wide and internationally. He has collaborated with musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and has recorded for Composers Concordance Records distributed by Naxos and MSR Classics. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Mason Gross School of the Arts. He is adjunct professor of piano and collaborative piano at William Paterson University, and lecturer of music at Rutgers University.

Lisa Plasse. Photo, SKY

Lisa Plasse is the owner, director and flute and voice teacher of From the Top Music Studio in Midland Park, which offers instrumental and vocal lessons. In addition to the studio, she is an applied vocal lessons instructor at Columbia University. Plasse received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from William Paterson University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Education Administration & Supervision from Montclair State University. She has over 25 years of teaching experience K – 12. Her credits include performances with Onstage Inc., several local community bands and church organizations, numerous local pit orchestras and the Ridgewood Concert Band. She has produced and directed many musicals, theater workshops and concert performances. She is the music director for the 2020 Ridgewood High School Jamboree.


2019 Laura Cardona (vocalist, soprano), Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award Winner

2019 Joseph Bucci (tenor), Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award Winner

2018 Isaac Ketter (alto saxaphonist), Florence Reinauer Memorial Music Award Winner

2018 Tiffani Amber Rivera, Marjorie Vandervoort Vocal Award Winner

2017 Andrew Hughes (violist). ( ( (

2016 Marina Sakellakis (saxophonist)

2015 Davis C. Badaszewski (organist) (

2014 1st Place Winner Tiffany Sun (flutist)

2014 2nd Place Winner Mark Serkin (cellist)

2013 Samantha Park (Soprano)

2012 Dana Ramirez (violin)

2011 Ruriko Terada (harp) (

2010 Beata Safari (pianist)–the-ridgewood-choral-women-in-song-and-service

2009 Renata Kapilevich (vocalist) (

2008 $1000 Winner Emma Schmiedecke (cellist) ( ( 

2008 $500 Winner Jessica Eucker (vocalist) (

2007 Kristen McGuire (flutist) (

2006 Robert Farruggia (vocalist) (

2005 Andrea Mumm (harpist) (

2004 Carl Patrick Bolleia (pianist) (

2003 Patrick Laird (cellist) (

2002 Peter Folliard (euphonium) (

2001 Daniel Munm (cellist)

2000 Richard J. Hicks, III (cellist)

1999 Elizabeth Lowry (vocalist)

1998 Samantha Friedrich (vocalist)

1997 Maria Clara Mallonga (pianist)

1996 John Williams (tuba player)

1995 Sarah Anne Lewis (vocalist)

1994 Jennifer Cho (vocalist)

1993 Viera Effler (pianist)

1992 Stephanie Ferrari (vocalist)

1991 Minako Imada (pianist)

1990 Elizabeth Cassidy (vocalist)

1989 Lisa Yaeger (vocalist)

1988 Yasuko Masaki (pianist)

1987 Margaret Topken (clarinetist)

1986 Marissa Regni (violinist)

1985 Miyako Sakai (pianist)

1984 Wendy Margo (pianist)

1983 Jody Lichtig (vocalist)

1982 Micahel Joseph Maraz (vocalist)

1981 Sarah Janick (pianist)

1980 Claire Benacerraf (vocalist)

1979 Margaret Bethke

1978 Susan Willen

1977 Elizabeth Foerster

1976 Ruthanne Wiley

1975 Jeffrey Good

1974 Dennis O’Shea

1973 David Boeddinhause

1972 Nicholas Schidlovsky

1971 Donald L. Appert

1970 James Rile

1969 Joy E. Buhler

1968 Janice Weber

1967 Denise Brown

The Richard Lane Memorial Composition Award


Winner Andrei Foca-Rodi receiving his award from benefactors Lil and Len Rubin

Lil and Len Rubin, of Maywood, (center and right) are shown presenting the $1000 award they endowed to Andrei Foca-Rodi, of Fort Lee, formerly of Hackensack. The presentation was made at the Richard Lane Memorial Composition Award Concert On October 14, 2006, hosted by The Ridgewood Choral, of which Lil Rubin is a long-standing member. In addition to music composed or arranged by Richard Lane, former accompanist of the Choral who died in 2004,  the piano compositions of three finalists were performed at this concert, including Musical Moments, the selected  winning piece by Mr. Foca-Rodi, a student at New Jersey City University.

Richard Lane, an internationally recognized composer and accompanist for the Ridgewood Choral for over 35 years, wrote a wealth of music for instrument and voice. His talents were given to the Choral in the many choral/vocal pieces he wrote or arranged expressly for this women’s chorus. The Ridgewood Choral premiered “A Spring Bouquet,” written for us to celebrate our 75th anniversary, in 2003. And, in honor of the 90th Anniversary, the Ridgewood Choral will again perform “A Spring Bouquet” at its 90th Annual Spring Concert. Richard Lane was a teacher of piano and music composition, and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He was a member of ASCAP and Music Educators Association.