Monday, February 11, 2013

Elefante Music Theater Camp - "Best of the Best"

The theme of the 2013 Elefante Music Theater Camp is "Best of the Best!"  This summer we will only be performing songs from the Tony Award winners for Best Musical.  Here is a list of some of the songs we'll be performing this summer:

"Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" (Cats), "Shipoopi" (Music Man), "Too Darn Hot" (Kiss Me Kate), "One" (A Chorus Line) ,"Put on a Happy Face" (Bye, Bye Birdie), "I Can't Be Bothered Now" (Crazy for You), "Shuffle off to Buffalo" (42nd Street), "Nicest Kids in Town" (Hairspray), "Welcome to the 60s" (Hairspray), "Brotherhood of Man" (How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying), "Hernando's Hideaway" (Pajama Game), "Luck Be a Lady" (Guys and Dolls), "So Long, Farewell" (Sound of Music), "You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile" (Annie), "Side by Side by Side" (Company), "Don't Tell Mama" (Gypsy), "Ballad of Sweeney Todd" (Sweeney Todd), "The Song of Purple Summer" (Spring Awakening), "Six Months out of Every Year" (Damn Yankees), "Do You Hear the People Sing" (Les Miserables), "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" (Hairspray),  "Fugue for Tinhorns" (Guys and Dolls), "With a Little Bit of Luck" (My Fair Lady), "I'm Not at All in Love" (Pajama Game)

For more info or to register, contact Karen at (908) 464-5928 or, or visit the Summer at Elefante page.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 2013 Student of the Month Joseph Ferenchiak's Words of Wisdom

I must say that although the piano is a very popular instrument, it is in no way an easy instrument. However, that is NOT a reason to give up on it, for there is so much that you would be missing out on. Practice truly does make perfect, and the more you practice, the better you will become.

Every time I begin a new song, I always find that I have a little voice screaming, "This song is way to advanced for you. Go do something else with your time". Do I ever think to listen to that voice? No. Do I ever grow frustrated while learning new songs? Absolutely. However, I find that when I am practicing, and become frustrated with a really difficult part of a song, walking away from the piano for a few minutes to calm my nerves will usually help. (A few minutes does not equal a few months, kids.)

Afterwards, I go back and I find the part to be much easier to move through. Otherwise, I repeat that difficult part over and over again until I get the knack of it. In terms of how long to practice: do not follow my practice times! My routine may not be helpful for everyone! Practice for at least thirty minutes to an hour everyday (I do strive to practice songs that I do with Agnes for at least fifteen to twenty minutes daily), or however long your teachers recommend. The reason I have such an unsteady method of practicing is because of my schedule, and because I juggle between songs with Agnes, and songs that I compose/improvise on my own.

If you find the music/exercises that you are studying to be boring, buckle down and keep practicing. Although you may not notice, the songs that you are learning act as stepping stones that gradually help you move into more difficult material. If you keep "walking along the path", you will be able to play anything that your heart desires in the future!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Elefante Spring Musical - Seussical, Jr.!

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts is thrilled to announce its second annual Spring Musical - Seussical, Jr.!

In this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza, Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky StiffMy Favorite Year and Ragtime) have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination--Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. 

Join Pixie Dust Players Director/Choreographer Lindsay Maron and Elefante Music’s Artistic Director Joe Elefante for a fun-filled class focusing on the development of a full production. The class will meet on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30. This 16-week class will culminate in a performance of Seussical, Jr. on Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23. This is a great opportunity for all types of performers, those just looking for a first taste of theatre and those looking for another chance to shine on stage!


• The final production will be performed with a set, full costumes, and professional hair and make-up.

• Class on Thursday, May 16 will be held at the Summit Playhouse (10 New England Ave, Summit NJ)

• There will be additional classes before the show held at the Summit Playhouse on Sunday, May 19 (5:30-7:30), Monday, May 20 (5:00-8:00), and Tuesday, May 21 (5:00-8:00)

• The performances will begin at 7:00pm on Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23 (all class members will be asked to arrive at 5:00pm)

• Each member of the class will receive 2 tickets to each performance.

• The total cost for the class will be $500

Download our registration form here or contact Carolyn at (908) 464-5928 for more information or to register.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts Is Proud to Add Theater Education Legend Susan Speidel to Our Fantastic Roster of Performing Arts Instructors

We're so proud of Stephanie Kurtzuba, last year's Acting the Song instructor and frequent master class teacher, for landing a role in a major feature film (we'll keep you posted on what and when).  Unfortunately, that means she'll have to leave the studio for a while to work on the film.  The good news is that theater education legend Susan Speidel will be joining Joe Elefante for Acting the Song this semester.

Susan Speidel appeared in the off-Broadway production of OLIO, A MODERN VAUDEVILLE and in THE STUDENT PRINCE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and KING ISLAND CHRISTMAS at New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse. Other regional theatre credits include NUNSENSE, CHICAGO and ALL SHOOK UP! at Surflight Theater; DAMES AT SEA, CINDERELLA and SNOOPY at George Street Playhouse; COMPANY, NINE, THE THREE MUSKETEERS and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at the Forum Theatre; as well as leading roles in GYPSY, FUNNY GIRL, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, GODSPELL, PETER PAN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, BRIGADOON, INTO THE WOODS, HELLO DOLLY, ANNIE, and MAME.

She has appeared with the Seattle and Portland Symphonies and is a frequent guest soloist with Florida’s Key West Symphonic Pops, appearing in the inaugural concert of the Pops in 2001 and returning to sing with them almost every season since. She also played the title role in the Pops’ acclaimed concert version of HELLO DOLLY, directed by Lee Roy Reams, and appeared as Stella Deems in a concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES.

She has performed sold-out cabaret shows at New York clubs such as Judy’s Chelsea, The Duplex, and Broadway Baby Bistro, as well as at Bob Egan’s Cosmopolitan Club and the legendary Odette’s in New Hope. Other appearances have included New Jersey’s famed Stockton Inn, McGloone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park, and The Lobby Cabaret in the Tennessee Williams Performing Arts Center in Key West.

Susan’s directing credits include HAIR at the Bickford Theatre, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES and A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at Surflight Theatre; THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BYE, BYE, BIRDIE and ALL SHOOK UP! at Plays-In-The-Park; A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, THE APPLE TREE, and ME AND MY GIRL at Villagers’ Theatre; and MAN OF LA MANCHA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and eleven annual productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Chatham Players.

She served as Director of Education for New Jersey’s acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse from 1988 to 2008 and created a wide range of educational initiatives including the award-winning Adopt-A-School Project, cited by the Kennedy Center as a model program, and The Rising Star Awards, which as been replicated by 13 other theatres nationwide.

Graduates of her programs at Paper Mill include Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, as well as many other Broadway performers including Matthew Scott (JERSEY BOYS, A CATERED AFFAIR, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM), Russell Fisher (JERSEY BOYS), George Psomos (SOUTH PACIFIC), Monette McKay (MEMPHIS), Lael Van Kuren (SISTER ACT), Jonathan Schwartz (SPIDERMAN), Jared Gertner (THE BOOK OF MORMON) and Rob McLure (AVENUE Q and the upcoming CHAPLIN).

Susan was a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, received the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Applause Award in 2000 for her work with gifted and talented students and received the Alliance’s 2007 Leadership Award for her contributions to the field of arts education in New Jersey.

In 2007, she was named Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Morristown-Beard School, a co-ed independent school in Morristown, NJ for grades 6 to 12 where she oversaw the design and construction of the school’s new performing arts center, The Theater at Founder’s Hall. At MBS, she teaches theatre, directs school productions and produces a wide array of performing arts events.

In addition, she has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Kean University, where she taught Acting, Children’s Theater, Creative Drama, Theater Management and Musical Theater Performance. She also taught Theater Management and a survey in Arts Education in the Arts Administration Master’s Program at Seton Hall University.

She is a member of Actors Equity Association, ArtPride/NJ, the Speech Theater Association of NJ, The American Association of Theater Educators, The Educational Theater Association, The American Federation of Teachers, and the Association of Partners in Education.

A graduate of Rahway High School, she holds a BA in English from Montclair State College and an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. She earned a Masters in Liberal Studies from Kean University in 2008, graduating with distinction. She also received Kean’s 2005 Women’s Studies Scholarship Award and was named to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Liberal Studies at New Jersey’s Drew University.

For more information about our performing arts classes, visit

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Events at Elefante

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts is pleased to present two outstanding free concerts at our location in New Providence this month:


An Evening of Classics

Tuesday, May 8th 2012 @ 7:00pm
Free of charge (donations for the performers appreciated)


Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings
Al Elefante, Clarinet
Farkhad Khudyev, Violin
Alex Wang, Violin
Marina Stefanovsky, Viola
Oliver Shapiro, Cello

Duo Fondamento
Farkhad Khudyev, Violin
Stephen Wale, Piano
performing works by Dvorak, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky

The Joe Elefante Big Band
with featured guest Ralph Bowen
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 @ 7:00pm
Free Admission!

Saxophonist Ralph Bowen has made his mark on the New York jazz scene for over three decades, while bringing his "casual perfectionism" to clubs, concert halls, and festivals worldwide. Bowen's discography of over 70 titles includes associations with Orrin Evans, Michel Camilo, Horace Silver, Renee Rosnes, Kenny Garrett, Steve Wilson, Kenny Davis, Michael Mossman, Ralph Peterson Jr., Anthony Branker and Jared Gold.

His seven solo CDs (Movin' On, A Morning View, Soul Proprietor, Keep the Change, Five, Dedicated, Due Reverence, and Power Play) feature a wide variety of top shelf musicians including trumpeters John Swana and Ryan Kisor, pianists Jim Beard and Orrin Evans, organist Sam Yahel, guitarists Peter Bernstien, Jon Herington and Adam Rogers bassists John Patitucci, Anthony Jackson, Charles Fambrough, Reuben Rogers and Kenny Davis and drummers Ben Perowski, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Antonio Sanchez, Gregory Hutchinson, Donald Edwards and Dana Hall. 

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
1790 Springfield  Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WindSync @ Elefante Music

“The world is saying ‘yes’ to WindSync!” – Culturemap Houston

“…revolutionary chamber musicians” – Houston Chronicle

WindSync presents

Homeward Bound

A Concert Featuring Music Inspired by Our Travels across America

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 @ 7:30pm
Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
$12 adults/ $6 students
1790 Springfield  Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928  *

"Homeward Bound" is a concert featuring music of American composers and song writers. This concert is the culmination for two months of touring across America and Canada. Repertoire includes music by Aaron Copland, Eric Ewazen, Billy Joel, David Maslanka and more.

A young, fresh and energetic ensemble, WindSync, is thrilling audiences with their unique approach to classical music. WindSync specializes in creative and engaging interactive performances that inspire audiences of all ages. Critics and audiences alike rave about performances that expand the woodwind quintet repertoire with several world premiere pieces that were written or arranged especially for WindSync. Houston public radio called WindSync, “innovative…unconventional and exciting” and Idyllwild Arts Academy praised WindSync as “one of the most talented groups of young musicians on the scene today.”

Strongly committed to educational enrichment, WindSync has performed in over 50 concerts in schools since the ensemble began in 2009, enriching the lives of students from San Francisco to the Virgin Islands. Young Audiences of Houston applauded WindSync for their “extraordinary ability to connect with students, educators, administrators and parents in a powerful and meaningful way.” Masterclasses and lecture recitals given at Drexel University and Stanford University and at high schools such as Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and California’s Idyllwild Arts Academy have received similar acclaim. Working with Music for Autism, Windsync has presented specialized performances across the United States for students with special needs. WindSync frequently performs at schools throughout southeastern Texas representing Da Camera of Houston and Young Audiences of Houston, an arts program that serves over a quarter of a million students.

Recognized for their adventurous programming, WindSync was named the 2011-2012 Ensemble in Residence for the Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program. The ensemble was a finalist in the prestigious Astral Artist Competition in Philadelphia in 2009 and Artist in Residence for The Music Bus Tour in 2010. Recently, WindSync was named Artist in Residence for 2012 at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey and was invited to perform at the 34th Annual Chamber Music America Conference in New York City in January 2012. Dedicated to building a sense of community and promoting arts engagement, they appear in the concert series “first Tuesday at Methodist” and their programs have been enjoyed by children and families at The Children's Museum of Houston and at M.D Anderson Children's Hospital. In Houston, where they are based, WindSync was the founding ensemble of Classical Revolution and have been heard numerous times on the Houston Public Radio’s “The Front Row.” As Windsync begins its third year with an array of accomplishments, it is apparent why CultureMap Houston writes, “the world is saying yes to WindSync.”


Garrett Hudson, Flute

Garrett emerged as a promising young musician through the Manitoba high school band program and has since gone on to win numerous local, provincial and national music competitions. He performed his orchestral solo debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16 and with the same orchestra recently performed Mozart's Flute Concerto in D Major. Mr. Hudson earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia in 2007, studying under Scottish flutist Lorna McGhee. He has held positions in some of North America's leading professional training orchestras including the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the Orchestre de la Francophonie based in Montreal, Quebec. Additionally he has participated in other world-class summer training programs such as the Young Artists Program through Ottawa's National Arts Center and The National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Garrett earned his Masters of Music Degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of renowned flute pedagogue, Leone Buyse.

Kerry Hughes, Oboe

A doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, Kerry Hughes has performed with the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX, the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, and the Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as principal oboist with the University of Houston Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, toured with the New England Youth Ensemble based at Columbia Union College, and was invited to play oboe and English horn with the Texas Music Festival. His primary teachers include Anne Leek, Robin Z. Hough, Robert J. Krause, and Janet Lanier. Kerry has performed at the John Mack Oboe Camp and has also studied with Daniel Stolper, Jan Eberle, Linda Strommen, Rebecca Henderson, Charles Veazey, and Amy Anderson. In addition to maintaining a private oboe studio, Kerry also taught music theory at the University of Houston with Dr. John Snyder. An avid connoisseur of the many culinary delights Houston offers, Kerry also enjoys sports, travelling, and involvement with his extensive family.

Ben Haeuser, Clarinet

Hailing from Atascadero on the central coast of California, Ben Haeuser earned Bachelor of Music degrees in both Performance and Education from California State University Long Beach. Following his undergraduate degrees, Ben left sunny California to complete a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. While enjoying white, snowy winters in Cincinnati, Mr. Haeuser studied with Cincinnati Symphony clarinetists, Richie Hawley and Ixi Chen. Always an advocate for music education and outreach, Ben founded the clarinet and saxophone program at the Cincinnati Music Academy, and was on faculty from 2008 - 2011. He has also taught extensively in Long Beach, Los Alamitos and Irvine, California and in Northern Kentucky. Currently, Ben maintains an active studio in Houston Texas, continuing to educate young musicians and foster an appreciation and love of music.

Tracy Jacobson, Bassoon

A New Jersey native, Tracy Jacobson began her musical career riding the commuter train to Juilliard Pre-College every Saturday. She took her bassoon and moved southwest to continue her studies, to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Throughout her career, Ms. Jacobson has been an active recitalist, playing solo and collaborative recitals across the country. Tracy has played with orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony of Southeast Texas and has soloed with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey. Ms. Jacobson is dedicated to outreach programs, particularly those designed to get both children and adults excited about classical music. She is a recipient of Rice University's Sviatoslav Richter Fund for music outreach and has led the JUMP! outreach program at Rice. Tracy founded the Music Bus Tour, an organization that sponsors emerging chamber groups. In addition to founding the Music Bus Tour, Tracy was a fellow at the Music Academy of the West, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute and Sarasota Music Festival.

Anni Hochhalter, French Horn

Just like her inspired decision to join WindSync, Anni began playing the French horn in 7th grade after a few months on the trumpet, and she has never looked back. Her initial passion for music was fostered in Henderson, Nevada and continued during her undergraduate career at the University of Southern California. There she studied with James Thatcher and Kristy Morrell, discovering a love for chamber music and educational outreach programs. Anni was a founding member of the Horn Squad, a horn quartet which toured public and private schools in Los Angeles and, as the Thornton School of Music Outreach resident ensemble, the group traveled to New Orleans in 2008. In 2009 Anni won first prize in the Yen Liang Young Artist Competition and soloed with the Diablo Symphony in Walnut Creek, California. After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and began working on a Masters degree at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In addition Anni has attended both the Chautauqua Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival where she studied with Roger Kaza.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Berkeley Heights Education Foundation to Sponsor Talent Show" -

BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Do you think America’s Got Talent? The Berkeley Heights Education Foundation knows Berkeley Heights has got talent!
The BHEF, along with its Partner in Education, The Elefante School of Music and Performing Arts, is once again proud to present “The Heights of Talent,” an intergenerational showcase of talent to be held at Governor Livingston High School on Friday evening, May 11. People of all ages who live, work or attend school in Berkeley Heights are invited to show off their skills and abilities.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Auditions for Ridge Light Opera

Ridge Light Opera will be holding auditions for their upcoming season on:

Friday March 23rd from  7-10pm 
Saturday March 24th from 10am to 2pm 
Friday March 30th from 7-10pm  for additional auditions/call backs

Season includes: 

My Fair Lady, semi-staged concert with orchestra ,  on May 11th and 12th 2012
"September Song"* operetta and musical theatre highlights  Sept 20th, 21st, 22nd  2012
Amahl and the Night Visitors... (date tbd)

*September Song (now in its 18th year) will include scenes from: 
  • Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience
  • Opera selections from Marriage of Figaro and/or Elixer of Love,  Donizetti
  • Musical Theater selections from Man of La Mancha and State Fair (royalties pending)
Auditions are held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 140 So. Finley Ave in Basking Ridge, NJ and are by appointment only. Please email to request at time. Send a photo and resume if available. 

No calls please.  New Jersey residents favored. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Summit Playhouse: Audition Notice - Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the River and Through the Woods by Jo DiPietro

Directed by Julia Frieri

Production dates: April 27 – May 12, 2012

Audition Dates:
Sunday, January 22 at 7 pm
Monday, January 23 at 7 pm
Callbacks on Wednesday, January 25 at 7 pm

Sides will be provided.

All auditions are at The Playhouse, 10 New England Ave, Summit, NJ (directions:

Nick is a single, Italian-American guy from NJ. His parents retired to Florida. He sees both sets of grandparents every Sunday for dinner. The dream job he's been waiting for -- marketing executive -- would take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. How could he betray his family's love to move to Seattle for a job? In this delightful and touching comedy they do their level best to make him change his mind.

Character Breakdown:
Nick Cristano
Late 20s-Early 30s. High-strung, excitable, loyal grandson. Trying to find a way to honor the past while growing up and moving toward his future.
Frank Gianelli
Can look 60s plus. Maternal grandfather and husband of Aida. Patriarch, family is the center of his world. Worked hard to provide a better life for his descendants and he does not want to slow down. Straight shooter.
Aida Gianelli
Can look 60s plus. Maternal grandmother and wife of Frank. Shows her love through her cooking. Caregiver. Well-meaning but overbearing.
Nunzio Cristano
Can look 60s plus. Paternal grandfather and husband of Emma.  Wisecracking and loud but full of heart. Great storyteller, charismatic, strong.
Emma Cristano
Can look 60s plus. Paternal grandmother and wife of Nunzio. Loud and strong woman. Tells it like it is. Schemes to keep Nick around. Loves her husband.
Caitlin O’Hare
Mid to Late 20s. Irish, envies that all of Nick’s grandparents are around. Charming, opinionated. Wants to find love.

Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Playhouse? Want to work backstage? Help with costumes and make-up? We are always looking for assistance in our productions. Contact Sally Ponzio at 908-273-2192 or send mail to

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts Announces First Ever Spring Musical - Into the Woods Jr.

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts is thrilled to announce its first ever Spring Musical!  For our first full-length musical theater production, we have chosen to produce the Sondheim/Lapine classic INTO THE WOODS JR. 

The Brothers Grimm "go Broadway" as Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine offer up a cockeyed fairy tale where all of your favorite characters – Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk) and The Witch – meet and interact on their journeys.  With unforgettable roles, INTO THE WOODS JR. showcases an ensemble of talented singers and actors.  The sophisticated score has been adapted to make it easier – though still challenging – for young performers.  INTO THE WOODS JR. is a funny and engaging way to get young people to think about the stories with which they've grown up and the ethical issues raised therein.

Students who would like to participate in INTO THE WOODS JR. will have to register for “Elefante Spring Musical Workshop” in the Spring 2012 semester.  This class will meet Thursdays from 5:30-7:00pm from January 26 – May 24, and dress rehearsals will take place May 30 and 31.  The performances will take place June 1 and 2 at the Oakes Center in Summit, NJ.

There’s nothing like putting on a show!  This class is a great opportunity to take part in a unique and exciting musical theater performance experience.  In addition to performers, we’ll also be looking for talented set builders, painters and stage crew members who want to be part of this fun production. 

In addition to INTO THE WOODS JR., we'll also be offering a roster of fun performing arts classes at our studio in New Providence.  Our classes this spring will include: 3-in-1 Acting/Dancing/Singing, Acting the Song, Musical Theater, Acting Onstage, Drama Fun, Tap and Broadway Baby.

For more information or to register, contact Stefani at (908) 464-5928 or, or visit

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Well-Deserved Honor for Nelson

Our very own Nelson Popp was named a Road Rep of the Year by School Music Dealer magazine. Congratulations, Nelson!!! Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Note from the Artistic Director

With the Holidays just around the corner, now is the ideal time to register for or inquire about spring performing arts classes. The spring semester starts Here are the classes we're offering this coming spring:

3-in-1: Acting, Dancing, Singing
Karen Cantor, Greta Martin and Laura Chaneski

Acting the Song
Joe Elefante & Stephanie Kurtzuba

Musical Theater
Karen Cantor

Clare Dill

Drama Fun with Miss Clare
Clare Dill

Musical Theater Dance
Laura Chaneski

Beginning & Intermediate Tap
Laura Chaneski

For more information or to register for classes, please visit our Performing Arts Classes page. Happy Holidays!

Joe Elefante
Artistic Director
Elefante School for the Performing Arts

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Note from the Artistic Director

Another fantastic summer is winding down! We had three sessions of Music Theater Camp and a week of Jazz Camp. This week, we are in the midst of Rock Camp, and next week we conclude our summer performing arts camps with All-Girl Band. Come by and see the final Rock Camp performance at Crossroads this Friday, August 19th, followed by the internationally acclaimed Joe Elefante Big Band (led by Yours Truly).

Now is the ideal time to sign up for Fall Lessons and Classes. This fall we're offering 3-in-1 Acting/Dancing/Singing, Acting the Song (our by-audition-only music theater performance class), Musical Theater I & II, Acting I & II, Musical Theater Dance I & II, Beginning & Intermediate Tap and Broadway Baby (for 3-7 year-olds). These classes are, of course, in addition to instrumental, voice and dance lessons with our roster of first-rate private instructors. Contact Stefani at or (908) 464-5928, or just visit for more information or to register.

Thanks to all of you for making this yet another summer to remember.

Artistic Director
Elefante School for the Performing Arts

jack menashe photography - affordable actor headshots

Jack Menashe is proud to be bringing professional and affordable high quality headshot photography to Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts!

A veteran of the entertainment industry and former president of one of New York’s leading talent agencies, Jack Menashe has developed the careers of many of Hollywood and Broadway’s leading performers. He has been known to have photographed Golden Globe, Academy Award, and Tony Award celebrated artists. Having shot thousands of beautiful headshots, his work has been seen on CD covers, America’s Next Top Model, and inVanity Fa ir.

Jack will be offering an exclusive rate to all members of Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts, and is available to shoot either within the location of the school or at your home. If you give him a call or send him an email, he will discuss with you how he may provide you with great quality, highly effective headshots!

All of Jack Menashe’s sessions include make-up, consultation and a CD of your photographs. He will guide you in your selection of which pictures will work best for you, and will provide you with information on the process of having your photographs duplicated and/or retouched.

Jack’s website can be viewed at

You could also reach him by telephone at (917) 837-3020, and by email:

He is extremely excited about hearing from all of you, and hopes that he may provide you with everything that you need to continue on your path of success!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Elefante Music Theater Camp

With Session I of Elefante Music Theater Camp now over, we have been having a blast at Session II so far! Next Friday, July 22nd, we'll be at the beatiful RidgePAC performing music from Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Candide, Mack & Mabel, Dreamgirls, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Footloose, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Guys and Dolls, How 2 Succeed in Business without Really Trying, 1776, South Pacific, Sunday in the Park with George, Lucky Stiff and The Most Happy Fella - not bad for only two weeks of camp, right?

If you can't make the performance (or if you just want an encore), you can always check out video of student performances at the Elefante Facebook page.

Believe it or not, there are still slots open for Session III (July 25 - August 5). Visit for more info or to register.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Session I Comes to a Close

We had so much fun at RidgePAC last Friday at the Elefante Music Theater Camp Session I performance! Here is some video of the closing number:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

EMU Newsletter 6/11

EMU Newsletter 6/11
  • Summer at Elefante
  • Student of the Month
  • Thank You!
  • Teacher Feature
  • Elefante Represented at Duckfest 11
  • Joe Directs Little Anthony and the Imperials

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Customer Appreciation Day/Open House Video

Thanks to everyone who came out the Elefante Customer Appreciation Day/Open House last weekend. Enjoy some video of the day's events:

The Elefante All-Stars perform "Grenade."

Joe Elefante performs "Up on the Roof" with Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts faculty.

Al Elefante performs "Summer Wind" with Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts faculty.

Kelly Bennett performs "Piece of My Heart" with Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts faculty.

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts faculty perform "All the Things You Are."

And, as always, check out all of our student and faculty performance videos at

What's on Our Minds...

Michele is now blogging regularly for New Providence Patch. Check out her latest installment here:

Joe is still writing Elefante on Entertainment for The Alternative Press. His latest entry can be found here:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Clarinet Mania

Elefante Music is pleased to be presenting

Clarinet Mania
Monday, May 23

sponsored by Rico Reeds

Performances by the J.P. Stevens H.S. clarinet choir and clarinet quartet, and many more T.B.A.

Featured clinician/performer: Dr. Edward Joffe

Versatile woodwind artist Dr. Edward Joffe has been a vital part of the New York music scene for 40 years. He has performed in every type of musical situation including jazz bands, orchestral & ballet work, Broadway shows, recording dates, chamber music ensembles and solo recitals. He has offered numerous clinics on woodwinds and jazz at music education conferences and universities over the last two decades. A graduate of the Juilliard School and the first person to receive his doctorate in multiple woodwind performance form the Graduate School of the City University of New York, Dr. Joffe has studied with some of the most respected woodwind artists including Joe Allard, Eddie Daniels, Thomas Nyfenger, Paul Dunkel, Michael Parloff, Joseph Rabbai, Peter Simenauer, Ronald Reuben, Keith Underwood, Bob Porcelli, and Bob Mover.

For the past 20 years, he has been a professor of music at New Jersey City University, where he acts as Coordinator of Jazz & Woodwinds Studies. Under his guidance, New Jersey City University has engaged a faculty of adjunct instructors who are among the finest performers in America and have helped attract a high level of student performer. The jazz band that he conducts has been hailed as one of the best in the country by greats such as Maria Schneider, Charles McPherson, Randy Brecker and Eddie Daniels. He has authored two books on woodwind studies—Woodwind Doubling and Beyond The Notes—and is a popular clinician at music education conventions and schools throughout the U.S. This summer he will be presenting a lecture/performance at the International Clarinet Association Conference in Los Angeles on the legendary woodwind teacher, Joe Allard.

Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts
1790 Springfield Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"What Music Means to Me"

Okay, so I didn’t get any responses to my plea for your personal experiences with music. Just for that, you’ll have to hear about mine.

"What Music Means to Me" - The Alternative Press

Friday, April 15, 2011

Summer at Elefante

Summer at Elefante - the April '11 Elefante Newsletter

Teacher Feature: Anthony Sanacore

This month's feature is on Anthony Sanacore, guitar teacher.

Anthony Sanacore has been teaching private students for nearly 20 years. He is also an active guitarist, composer, and lyricist. Anthony studied at The New School and Piero's School of Music and privately with Dave Ferrara, John Olin, Ross Barrata, Sheila Mendel, and Kevin Gallagher.

Anthony has performed as a guitarist for over 20 years. He was a member of Young and Fabulous, which performed at Woodstock and the Kiss Expo, and No Future, which played over 300 shows in the New York area at such venues as The Lion's Den, CBGB's, The Scrap Bar, Mother's, Obsessions, Connections, Love Sexy, and the Birch Hill Nightclub. Anthony performs and teaches classical, rock, blues, funk, bebop, swing, ragtime, R&B, reggae, standards, and contemporary pop.

EM: What do you feel is one of the more important aspects of teaching music?

Anthony: Enlightening each student about the connection between art and music. There have been many wonderful compositions written (especially in pop music) that I feel have never resulted in true art. It's a methodology that requires an understanding of public sentiment. This is fine, sociologically speaking, but usually does not express the unique essence of the individual.

Many beginners assume that the guitar is fairly simple to learn because pop stars seem to play effortlessly. They have yet to realize how asymmetrical the guitar is. One challenge of teaching this instrument is demonstrating its esoteric symmetry via its idiom in association with other instrumentation. The aesthetic is eventually revealed as it facilitates inspiration and passion: the platform to a healthy work ethic and the prime ingredients for lifelong satisfaction of musical knowledge.

Who are your favorite performers?

Louis Prima and Yamashita (classical guitarist).

Who has inspired you?

Over the years I’ve gone through a transformation where my inspirations have become intrinsic. There’s a dichotomy I live on everyday: when to be technical, when to throw it out the window for the sake of originality, when to shed the influence. My early inspirations: Keith Emerson, Randy Rhoads, Bob Dylan, Sex Pistols.

Also studying classical guitar with Kevin Gallagher and jazz guitar with Jack Wilkins has done wonders for my overall musicianship as they are of the best in their field.

What are you working on now?

I’m recording a CD which will summarize my abilities. Outside of programming the drums (which is a lot of work), I am playing all of the instruments and writing most of the songs. My friend, who has sung professionally, will do most of the vocals. I estimate it will be done before 2012. The compositions that I don’t write will be classical pieces or jazz standards.

What advice can you give?

Dare to be different and be true to yourself. Some of the best music, at one time, was unusual and unpopular.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Music Theater Camp Song List

As you may have already heard, this year's summer music theater camp theme is All Roads Lead to Broadway. We'll take a look at the different places shows come from: movies, the library, the radio, and real life.

Here is a list of some of the songs we'll be performing throughout the summer:

Library: Masquerade (Phantom of the Opera), For Good (Wicked), Make Our Garden Grow (Candide), Willkommen (Cabaret), Get Me to the Church on Time (My Fair Lady), Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat (Guys and Dolls), Ease on Down the Road (The Wiz), Solla Sollew (Seussical the Musical), Ragtime (Ragtime).

Movies: Butter Outta Cream (Catch Me If You Can), Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors), Let's Go Fly a Kite (Mary Poppins), Without Love (Hairspray), Fame (Fame).

Radio: Mamma Mia (Mamma Mia), Yakety Yak/Charlie Brown (Smokey Joe's Cafe).

Real Life: Sunday (Sunday in the Park with George), Movies Were Movies (Mack and Mabel).

Summer Camp Performance Venue

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Note from the Artistic Director

I'm really, REALLY excited for our summer camps.

In addition to our old favorites, Jazz Camp and Rock Camp, we're bringing back All-Girl Band Camp for a second time around. If you haven't seen last year's performance videos from the Crossroads and the Oakes Center, they're all up at the Elefante YouTube Channel.

Our Music Theater Camp theme this year is All Roads Lead to Broadway. I got to thinking about all the recent Broadway shows that have been based on movies, and how that was a relatively new phenomenon. It reminded me that shows come from all sorts of sources, but most of them come from four places - the movies, the library, the radio, and real life.

So that's the theme of this year's MTC performances. Each section of the show will feature songs from either film, books and plays, popular music, or history. I can't wait to start putting the show together.

Speaking of which - I know it seems like a long time away, but there's no better time than the present to sign up for summer camp. Contact Stefani at (908) 464-5928 or for more information or to register. Or visit the Summer at Elefante page.


Joe Elefante
Artistic Director
Elefante School for the Performing Arts

Elefante Feature Article

Here's a great feature on us from

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jersey Voices

I've forwarded a message from my friend Bob Denmark at Chatham Community Players.

Joe Elefante

Hello New Jersey Playwrights

Hope it has been a good year for all of you. It is once again time to be thinking about submitting one-acts for Jersey Voices. For those of you who have already sent along submissions for Jersey Voices '11 - thank you! For those of you who have not, I want to remind you that the deadline is coming up soon - this years DEADLINE is MARCH 15th. So please put the finishing touches on those plays sitting on you desk/desktop and send them along. This year we are only accepting submissions by e-mail to the address listed below. This transition has been a few years in coming and now it's here.

Play submissions of any genre (including short musical and dance pieces), style and length up to 20 minutes running time will be accepted through March 15, 2011. Selected pieces will be performed in our Black Box Theater in Chatham on the last weekend in July and first weekend in August.

If we've not chosen your work in the past, please don't give up on us. Each year we have produced new pieces by an author whose work we've passed over in the past; it usually has more to do with trying to balance 6 separate pieces for an enjoyable evening of theater than it has to do with the quality of the piece which has been passed over. In fact, under these circumstances, we have often held over a piece we've liked and given it consideration in the following year. Some of these 'holdovers' have subsequently been chosen, produced, and favorably received.

I'm looking forward to seeing your work this year and, as I know that many of you come to see Jersey Voices, to seeing you again this summer. If you have not already introduced yourself, when you're in the audience please stay for the reception we have after each performance and introduce yourself. We'd love to meet you.

If you have any questions, visit our website at or send me an e-mail at We're accepting scripts this year by e-mail only to:

Best regards,
Bob Denmark, Producer
Jersey Voices '11

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Too Much Public Theater?"

Latest column in Elefante on Entertainment: "Too Much Public Theater?"

Brand new National Endowment for the Arts Chairman and perennial firebrand Rocco Landesman made some typically controversial comments at a conference in Washington last week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Joe Elefante Big Band Returns

The Joe Elefante Big Band Returns

Sunday, January 30th, 7:30-10:30pm

Trumpets Jazz Club & Restaurant
6 Depot Square, Montclair NJ
(973) 744-2600 *
$10 cover/$5 min.

After a hiatus or nearly five years, the Joe Elefante Big Band is returning to Trumpets, one of the venues it played frequently before becoming the house band at Cecil’s Jazz Club for three years. From 2001-2006, the Joe Elefante Big Band was featured on ABC’s Nightline and the Fine Living Network. Nat Hentoff of the Wall Street Journal wrote: “During the evening, I could barely stay in my seat at times and often shouted in sheer pleasure...The crisp, charging brass section of the Elefante band would have delighted Duke Ellington, and the surgingly cohesive reed section recalled the sound of the Benny Carter and Thad Jones big bands...If the Joe Elefante Big Band gets booked into rooms for dancing as well as listening, there might be a revival, across the age spectrum, of transcendent romance on the dance floor.”

Come celebrate the re-emergence of this internationally acclaimed, original jazz orchestra. Be sure to make a reservation at (973) 744-2600 – it should be a MADHOUSE!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Happy New Year, Music World"

Our latest entry in Elefante on Entertainment:

"Happy New Year, all! Here’s to the dawn of another great year in the music world. There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year so, with no further ado, let’s get started:" click here to continue