About Choral Art Society of New Jersey
Choral Art Society of New Jersey originated as The Suburban Symphony Chorus in September of 1962 under the direction of Peter Sozio. In September 1963, Evelyn Bleeke became director and in 1964 the chorus formed an independent organization under its present name and has grown in membership, earning the accolades of the public and critics since its beginning. Mrs. Bleeke served the organization as Director for 32 years prior to her retirement in May of 1995. She was followed by Thomas Booth and Kathleen Healy-Wedsworth and most recently James S. Little, who served for 14 years. In 2012, as the group progressed into its second half-century of singing, Martin Sedek was appointed Music Director.
The chorus is a group of avocational singers dedicated to the study and performance of the great choral masterpieces, performing works spanning many centuries and styles. Most of the major oratorios, cantatas, and masses of the master composers have been presented during its fifty-two years. The group’s diverse performances include Orff's Carmina Burana, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Handel's Solomon, and most recently, one of the first U.S performances of Bob Chilcott's Requiem. Each year the chorus sponsors a community Messiah sing at the beginning of the Christmas season for the enrichment of the community.
Choral Art Society of New Jersey is a non-profit, dues-paying organization. Rehearsals are held weekly on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 -10pm. Prospective singers are welcome to join us, as we pursue our mission of learning and presenting the finest choral music.
Our rehearsal hall is in the Parish Hall Chapel of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, located at 140 Mountain Avenue, in Westfield, NJ. Please send mail to P.O. Box 2036, Westfield, 07901, call 855-946-7652 for our Marketing Director, Ralph Jones, or use the contact page.
MARTIN SEDEK, Music Director and Conductor, is in his 12th year with Choral Art Society of New Jersey. Martin has sung in choirs and vocal groups all over the U.S. and abroad, including NJ All-State Chorus, All-Eastern Chorus, National Choir of Men & Boys, Harmonium Choral Society, Berklee Gospel Choir, and the choirs at Montclair State University and has toured in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, and Italy. Educated at Berklee College of Music (BM), Montclair State University (MM), and Rutgers University (PhD), Martin has studied conducting with David Callahan and Julius Williams, with additional studies with William Weinert, Craig Hella Johnson, and Heather J. Buchanan. He founded and conducted Berklee's Concert Choir in Boston in 2007 and was on the choral and theory faculties at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music, where he served as Assistant Conductor for MSU Chorale and Visiting Professor of Theory and Aural Skills. Currently he is Director of Music & Art at Keio Academy of NY where he chairs the music department and works as director of choral activities. Martin is also an award-winning composer of choral and orchestral music and is Composer-in-Residence at Harmonium Choral Society and Baldwin Festival Chorus of NYC. His choral music is published with Hal Leonard and Ovation Music.
Carol Walker enjoyed a busy career as a high school choral
teacher for 32 years before retiring in 2008. She continues her active association with various high schools and related organizations in northern NJ, serving as accompanist, musical director and choral director. She has also been in demand as musical director for dozens of amateur and
professional theater groups, including summer stock and dinner theaters in NJ, PA, NY, and CT. For many years she served as choir director and organist for churches in NJ and NY.
Carol graduated summa cum laude from Montclair State University with a degree in music education, majoring in piano, voice, and harp. During her teaching career she was selected to
conduct the All-North Jersey Region I High School Women’s Chorus, Junior Region I Treble Chorus, and the All-Sussex County and All-Morris County High School SATB Honors Choirs.
Carol also served as accompanist for many NJ Region and All-State Choruses. She was the Choral Division Chairperson for the North Jersey School Music Association for 10 years, and for
three years also served on the NJ All-State Choral Procedures Executive Board. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Passaic County Governor’s Award as Teacher of the Year. Carol and her
students toured Europe in the summers with American Music Abroad, for whom she worked as conductor and accompanist.
During the past 25 years, Carol has branched out from her classical training, pursuing folk music interests with her Appalachian mountain dulcimer and Celtic harp. To date, Carol has written and published 10 dulcimer instructional books, recorded five CDs, and produced one DVD with
Homespun Music. As a dulcimer teacher and performer, Carol is in demand at annual music festivals all across the United States. She is also a three-time recipient of the Top Five Finalists
Award at the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship held annually in Winfield, Kansas. She is founder and director of the New York Dulcimer Orchestra, based in the lower Hudson