Religions and Spirituality

Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea Concert in New Providence Nov. 27 Benefits Dominican Nuns of Summit Centennial Campaign

Father Alphonse and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea. Credits: Alessandro Graziano Photography

NEW PROVIDENCE,  NJ - The full, 42-piece Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, 'under the baton' of The Reverend Alphonse Stephenson, will be perform a Christmas Concert benefiting the Dominican Nuns of Summit Centennial Campaign November 27 at Our Lady of Peace Church in New Providence, beginning at 3 p.m.

The Orchestra, which is celebrating its 30th year of music-making, will present a Christmas Concert. The program will include traditional music, popular favorites and holiday classics featuring Soprano Victoria Cannizzo and additional guest soloists.

“The Orchestra is entirely comprised of professional, card-carrying union musicians,” said Father Alphonse, a Catholic priest who is the Orchestra’s founder, music director and conductor. “Every concert we’ve ever done since the very beginning in 1986 has been performed with the excitement of great musicians coming together to make music, and the joy of knowing our efforts help churches, schools, hospitals and social service organizations in their wonderful missions.” 

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An experienced conductor and professionally-trained musician, Father Alphonse is the former music director and conductor of the smash hit A Chorus Line; he conducted over 3,000 performances of the record-breaking musical at the Shubert Theater in New York City.

In addition to leading the Orchestra, Father Alphonse is the Director of the Cecelia Foundation, Inc, a not-for-profit organization that awards scholarships and professional instruments to young promising music students. He has been guest conductor for the Fresno Philharmonic, Delaware Valley Philharmonic, Metro Lyric Opera, the Greater Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra and the Key West Pops Orchestra, and recently retired as an Air Force Chaplain. As a Brigadier General, Father Alphonse was the Air National Guard Assistant to the Chief of Air Force Chaplains at the Pentagon.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Dominican Nuns of Summit Centennial Campaign, a $4 million initiative -- 80% of which has been raised to date -- that will enable them to build a 5,500 square foot new wing and make desperately-needed capital improvements.

“As the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary approaches its 100th Anniversary in 2019, the Dominican Nuns of Summit are witnessing an increase in young women attracted to Dominican life: its joy; its commitment to prayer and study; its preaching of the Gospel through a hidden life of prayer and petition,” said Maryann Cocoziello, Director of Development for the Centennial Campaign. “There is a great need for more space to foster this growing community, to accommodate those coming to discern their vocation, and to offer guests a place of silence and spiritual nourishment. More urgently, there is a need to provide handicapped access to the Chapel and Monastery, and expand the gift shop as a means of support.”

Tickets for the concert must be purchased in advance, and are priced at $50 for General Admission and $75 for Premier Seating (limited). To purchase, visit, or contact the Director of Development at or 201-452-4996

Our Lady of Peace Church is located at 111 South Street in New Providence.

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