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West Center Chancel Choir Quartet to Present Special Concert May 21 PDF Print Email


By Susie Reisinger, Church Publicist, West Center Congregational Church

May 17, 2017:  The Chancel Choir Quartet of West Center Congregational Church on Pondfield Road West at Chatfield Road will present a special concert on Sunday, May 21, at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary.

Ain'-a That Good News will feature singers Jordan Gumucio, Alayne Faraone, Roger Ohlsen, and Russell Ashley, accompanied on the piano by Robert Wilson, and they will be performing an all-American program of works by composers ranging from George Gershwin to Leonard Bernstein to Carly Simon and the quartet's own Russell Ashley.

Singing solos, duets, and all together, they will perform "Maria" and "Simple Song" by Leonard Bernstein, "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" by George Gershwin, "Medley of Three Songs" by Russell Ashley, "Let the River Run" by Carly Simon, "Ain'-a That Good News" by William L. Dawson, "Ain't It A Pretty Night" by Carlisle Floyd, and more.

Jordan Gumucio:  California native and soprano Jordan Gumucio made her professional debut in 2000 with the Los Angeles Opera and appeared as Musetta in student matinee performances of La Bohème. Other roles include Barena in Janacek's Jenufa and Berginella in Offenbach's La Perichole with the Long Beach Opera. While in Europe, Ms. Gumucio not only sang in Milhaud's L'Enlèvement d'Europe from his Trois Opéras Minutes, she also co-choreographed and performed a featured modern dance sequence. In 2001, she placed third in the Metropolitan Opera Competition's Western Regional Finals and was a finalist in 2002. Upon moving to the East Coast, she sang for the Asheville Lyric Opera and South Carolina Opera. Currently, Ms. Gumucio teaches voice, specializing in beginning and intermediate singers, particularly children, and is a distributor for LimeLight by Alcone, a professional theatrical makeup company.

Alayne Faraone has been praised in Opera News for her "powerful soprano" and has performed extensively in opera and on the concert stage. She made her debut as Musetta in La Bohème with the El Paso opera and has also appeared with the Los Angeles Opera, the San Diego Opera Ensemble, the Pacific Repertory Opera, the Taconic Opera, and others. She has been featured as a soloist with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and Chorale at Carnegie Hall as well as with the award-winning Debussy Trio and the Halcyon Trio. She was also a member of the chorus for the Three Tenors concert in Los Angeles. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, with a bachelor's degree in music, Ms. Faraone also has her master of music degree from USC. Recently returning to her musical roots in jazz, she enjoys performing with pianist Michiki Fukumori, Aidan O'Donnell on bass, and Paul Francis on drums.

Roger Ohlsen joined the Edmonton Opera Chorus at the age of 15 and sang many small roles as well as in the chorus from ages 16 to 19. He moved to New York in 1973 and studied with soprano Uta Graf for 20 years. Mr. Ohlsen sang Cavaradossi and Fenton with the Houston Grand Opera in 1978 and performed in Manon and La Bohème at the Juilliard Opera Center in 1982 and 1983. Mr. Ohlsen sang with the New York City Opera Chorus from 1983 to 2012, performing 25 roles and numerous covers. He is currently teaching voice and has a Reiki healing practice.

Russell Ashley has been a familiar face to audiences in the tri-state area since moving to New York from Arizona 32 years ago. He has appeared as a guest soloist with the Gregg Smith Singers, the Robert DeCormier Singers, and Amor Artis in New York and has been a featured baritone at Eglise de la Madeleine and the Cathédrale de Chartres in France and at the Madeira Bach Festival. Mr. Ashley has performed frequently with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, the National Grand Opera, the National Chorale, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and the New Jersey State Opera.

While there is no admission charge, there is a suggested donation of $10. The church is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, and there is parking on the street.

For more information, please call the church office at 914-337-3829, send an email to the church at CLOAKING , or go to West Center's website,      

Pictured here:  Stained-glass windows at West Center Congregational Church.

Photo courtesy Susie Reisinger, Church Publicist, West Center Congregational Church

West Center Church to Hold Spring Tag Sale Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and May 7 PDF Print Email


By Susan Reisinger, Member, West Center Congregational Church

May 3, 2017:  West Center Congregational Church will hold a spring tag sale on Saturday, May 6, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday, May 7, from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm.

The sale, to be held in Bodge Lounge, will offer a variety of items, including household goods, plants, artwork, picture frames, baked goods, bric-a-brac, gifts (some suitable for Mother's Day and Father's Day), and CDs.

There will be an area with some gently used and vintage clothing and accessories, a special table with nicer gifts, and a unique collection of pigs, ceramic and other materials. 

It's the perfect time to enjoy the mild spring weather, shop for some nice bargains, and greet friends and neighbors. Proceeds from the tag sale will help support the work of the church. 

There is no admission charge and all are welcome to browse and shop. Bodge Lounge is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers and there is parking on the street.

For more information, please call the church office at 914-337-3829, email the church at CLOAKING , or go to West Center's website,

Pictured here:  Stained-glass window at West Center Congregational Church.

Photo courtesy Susan Reisinger, Member, West Center Congregational Church

Concordia College President Appoints Rev. Victor J. Belton Vice President for Leadership and Campus Pastor PDF Print Email


By Holly Magnani, Web and Media Relations Manager, Concordia College

Apr. 26, 2017:  Dr. John A. Nunes, president of Concordia College-New York, announced the appointment of the Rev. Victor J. Belton to serve as vice president for leadership and campus pastor.

The new position expands future opportunities for Concordia to rise purposefully in its historic mission of preparing people for lives of service to the church and society.

Pastor Belton's work will focus on nurturing the vocational and the spiritual flourishing of the students, staff, and faculty.

"Belton embodies a genuine passion for young people as well as for intergenerational ministry in diverse settings," said the chair of Concordia's theology department, the Rev. Dr. Joshua Hollmann. "He has served notably as a formal and informal mentor and spiritual guide to many individuals in many places for many years." 

Victor Belton was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where he attended public schools. Concordia Seminary in St. Louis was the institution where he received his master of divinity degree in 1986, leading to his ordination. Prior to that, Victor graduated in 1982 from Concordia College-New York, which also awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2006.

"This Holy Week announcement of Victor's affirmation of the 'Spirit's Call to Concordia' is utterly thrilling to me and to this community," stated President Nunes. "What a big-impact blessing he will be with the love of Jesus Christ, touching the lives of students in our small school who will be prepared to then touch lives for decades to come on our complex, pluralistic planet," continued Nunes.

Pastor Belton's impact for the sake of the Gospel is both distinctly global and prominently local. A talented orator, highly sought-after conference speaker, and notable man of prayer, Belton has traveled on mission projects to Ethiopia and South Sudan. Belton served for 12 years (2004-2016) on the national board of directors for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ("LCMS").

For twenty-seven years, Pastor Belton served as the pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, near Atlanta, in Decatur, Georgia. Belton actively supports the community as a convener of the DeKalb Consortium of Churches and chair for both Partners in Action for Healthy Living and DeKalb County Community and Human Development Citizens Review Board.

For thirty-nine years, Pastor Belton has been married to his wife, the Honorable Wenona C. Belton, an associate judge in the Fulton County Juvenile Court. Together, they raised a child, Michael Bridgett, during his formative years. Michael resides in Saint Louis.

Concordia College-New York welcomes the Rev. Victor Belton as he looks forward to returning to his alma mater, once his home away from home, from which he was propelled into ministry in the first place.

His installation is set for Sunday, September 24, at 2:30 pm at Village Lutheran Church. The preacher will be Bishop Gregory Walton, the president of the Florida-Georgia District (LCMS). Please join us for the celebration.   

For more information, please contact Holly Magnani, Concordia College media relations manager, at CLOAKING or 914-337-9300, ext. 2298.

Pictured here:  Rev. Victor J. Belton.

Photo courtesy Holly Magnani, Web and Media Relations Manager, Concordia College

Comic Opera to Be Staged at The Reformed Church January 28 PDF Print Email


By Dr. Sándor Szabó, Minister of Music, The Reformed Church of Bronxville

Jan. 18, 2017:  On Saturday, January 28, at 7:00 pm, The Reformed Church of Bronxville will present a fully staged comic opera, with chamber orchestra and soloists, La Cambiale di Matrimonio by Rossini.

This outstanding achievement was Rossini's first opera and was performed when he was just 18 years old; within three years, his name was virtually synonymous with Italian comic opera, both at home and abroad. Rossini's music is enduringly popular nearly two centuries after his death; it continues to lift up our spirits in laughter and fun. Perhaps it is the ear-to-ear grin created by each musical phrase, and, whether an aria, a march, or a dance, each of Rossini's works glows with a giggling light-heartedness that is rarely heard elsewhere.

The wonderful cast for this exciting performance features Jimi James, baritone, Jennifer Ribeiro, soprano, David Kellett, tenor, David Morrow, bass-baritone, Justin Beck, bass-baritone, Julie Diniz, mezzo-soprano, and conductor/director Dr. Sándor Szabó.

Come and warm up your winter blues with this fun-filled opera. The performance will be held in the church's Edwards Hall. Please arrive early, as seating is limited; admission is free. For more information, call 914-337-6776 or go to

Pictured here:  Jimi James and Jennifer Ribeiro.

Photo courtesy Dr. Sándor Szabó, Minister of Music, The Reformed Church of Bronxville

Community Turns Out for Annual Bronxville Christmas Eve Pageant PDF Print Email


By Sarah Normand and Staff

Jan. 4, 2017:  Just as villagers have done for over a century, many members of the Bronxville community gathered at the corner of Pondfield Road and Midland Avenue on Christmas Eve to see the annual Bronxville Christmas pageant, first performed 102 years ago in 1914, a reenactment of the nativity scene on the hillside of The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

The pageant featured readings by local clergy from seven Bronxville churches and carols led by Bronxville native Dale Walker accompanied by a brass quartet. Tower bells played, and an "invisible choir" of angels sang from the church rooftop. This year's angels were Sabina Richter, Emily Spitz, Grace Stephens, Emily Conway, Lauren Mitchell, Grace Randall, Eva Cagliostro, Lucy Rizzo, Caroline Spitz, Lily Vorbach, and Charlotte Cagliostro.  


Villagers of all ages were delighted to see Mary (played by Sara Conway) ride on a live donkey to the manger surrounded by live sheep and accompanied by Joseph and the Manger Angel (played by fourth-grader Finley Hood)

There were shepherds, wise men, and even a majestic camel! After the last bars were sung of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," children were invited to run up the hill to meet the Holy Family and pet the animals.

Pictured here:  The nativity scene on the front lawn of The Reformed Church of Bronxville on Christmas Eve, 2016.  

Photos by N. Bower

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