Music Educators Association of New Jersey

Serving teachers and students since 1927

Celebrate Composers!


This meeting featured eight MEA members performing their own compositions.

MEA Hospitality Chair Karen Dann Sundquist served in a very different capacity today: as the Celebrate Composers! Coordinator, she planned the recital, personally reaching out to each participant before setting the program. The printed program included the participants’ biographical information. Well done, Karen!

Following is the list of performers along with the titles of their compositions as they appeared in the program on April 19th:

Nancy Modell’s “Lakeside” was inspired by an Israeli work of kinetic art that seems to change as you move before it. This was reflected in subtle changes in harmony in this generally serene piece.


Karen Dann Sundquist’s “Etude in Asymmetrical Meter (7/8) was a lively piece of moderate difficulty.


Cinder LeDell played excerpts from several of her compositions and presented an annotated list of titles of her teaching pieces. Cinder performed “Blow Spring Breeze.”


John Blasdale performed his “Elegy in E Minor, Op. 6a. Derived from the theme in the last movement of Beethoven’s Sonata, Op.109, the Elegy was written in a classical contrapuntal style that required legato playing of an advanced pianist. It received its world premiere performance on April 4, 2018 by The Manhattan Chamber Players in Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch College.


Jazz pianist Dan Crisci then played three works, improvising on the structures of the compositions: “BioRhythmic,” “Voices of Angels,” (inspired by voices of the Triad Arts Ensemble choir that raises money for three HIV/AIDS charities), and “Runaround Bop.”


The next two composers offered contemporary works. Katsuko Kamihiro’s “Three Abstract Drawings (1987)” were inspired by three drawings, one light, one darker, and one very colorful.


Clarinda Lin commented on her “Epiphany” and “Impasse.” She spoke of the “savage study of piano” related to “Epiphany,” which has a tame beginning but is followed by tone clusters all over the keyboard. “Impasse” employs a motif that is repeated, an idée fixe.


Nancy Modell then sang her romantic ballad, “Last Night’s Morning.” The lyrics were accompanied by flowing music. Another ballad, Karen Dann Sundquist’s “Mary’s Face,” told of a poor, needy woman, and of the singer’s awareness that hundreds more share Mary’s sad story.


Danette Whelan presented music from her collection of ten teaching pieces, Welcome to the Big Apple: “Stuck In Traffic On the Harlem River Blues,” “Misty Moon Over Manhattan,” and “The Teacher.” Finally, from a collection, A Cat’s Life, Danette played “Mittens Versus the Shifty Shoelace.”


The audience thoroughly enjoyed the music, and the conversations that followed. The refreshments, arranged by Karen Dann Sundquist, Hospitality Chair, with the assistance of Cherwyn Ambuter and Yelena Rybalskaya, included cupcakes “freshly defrosted” from our splendid 90th Anniversary Celebration at Drew University on April 8th.


Bertha Mandel, writer
Nancy Modell, photos and page design
Lisa Gonzalez, photos
Karen Dann Sundquist, Hostess