Arts & Entertainment

Continuo Arts Minuetto Music Festival Slated for June 23-28

Erika Papillon-Posey, 2013 Milton Cross Young Artist Winner
The Minuetto Music Festival Symphonic Chorus.

SUMMIT, NJ - The Minuetto Music Festival will take place the week of June 22-28, beginning with a Kick-off Reception for artists and donors at The Grand Summit Hotel.

The week’s line-up includes a Young Artist Showcase on June 24, Alex Kariotis and The Rock Opera Orchestra on June 26, and The Festival Finale Concert with Symphonic chorus, orchestra and soloists on June 28 .  All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and are hosted by Central Presbyterian Church.

The Milton Cross Young Artist Showcase aims to identify young vocalists with a bright future.  Young artists will compete with the winners selected for two levels of awards: The Milton Cross Award Winners and the Rising Artist Winners.  The Young Artists selected will have the opportunity to perform on the Young Artist Showcase Concert and with the Minuetto Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra at the Festival Finale Concert the last week of June.  In addition the top winners will be awarded with solo and duet opportunities.

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As Erica Papillion-Posey, a recipient of the 2013 Milton Cross Award and the 2012 Rising Star Award, says, “I could not have imagined the incredible, lifelong connections I’d make and the industry insiders I’d meet.  My Continuo Arts and Minuetto Music Festival affiliation not only led to my first professional, title role as Carmen with Miami Lyric Opera, but gave me access to some of the best coaches, Metropolitan Opera contacts and audition opportunities with industry agents. The Young Artists Program is well rounded and informative, fun but intense. You can benefit from every aspect of it – I did.”  

As a result of their participation in the competition and the Minuetto Music Festival, last season’s artists have gone on to performance opportunities such as the Chicago Lyric Opera, Miami’s Riunite Opera, teaching and conducting positions, and other openings garnered from the connections and introductions made.  Throughout the festival, conductors, choir directors, artists’ representatives and others who employ and promote young artists are invited and attend the various festival concerts.

The Milton Cross Young Artist Showcase honors the famed radio announcer from the Metropolitan Opera, Milton Cross.  “Mr. Cross was dedicated to promoting the careers of young performers, and The Continuo Arts Foundation is pleased to honor Mr. Cross by naming the young artist program, The Milton Cross Young Artist Showcase,” said Artistic Director Candace Wicke.  Great uncle to Summit’s Janet Whitman, and the original “voice” of the Met for 43 years until his passing in 1975, he debuted as narrator for the Metropolitan Opera on its first radio broadcast, "Hansel and Gretel," on Christmas Day in 1931.

The second concert on June 26 features Alex Kariotis and the Rock Opera Orchestra.  They have traveled the world introducing their unique style of music.  Trained in classical music, Kariotis decided to ”build an orchestra that just might change the music industry as we know it."  Combining the grand arias, recitatives, choruses, duets, trios and the elaborately emotional subject matter of the great operatic composers with his own wizardry on the electric guitar, vocal pyrotechnics, and highly imaginative compositions; he has created a new genre of music.  After spending three years orchestrating and arranging a cannon of work, he found nine of New Jersey's finest musicians, the best drummer in New York and went to work."  John Conte, Continuo Arts' accompanist, and the holder of the Guiness Book of World Records for continuous piano playing, claims his spot on the keys for the Rock Opera Orchestra.

The Finale Concert on June 28 showcases the Continuo Arts Symphonic chorus and orchestra with soloists under the direction of Drs. Candace Wicke and Beverly Coulter, performing selections from Bernstein’s Candide, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy.

Sponsors of the Festival include the title sponsor, The Grand Summit Hotel, as well as Manley Winser Foundation, Investors Bank, Overlook Medical Center, Lakeland Bank and individuals.

Central Presbyterian Church is located at  70 Maple Street, and tickets are $30 for the three concert series.  For further information, call 908 / 264-5324, or visit

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