Choral Programs

The Continuo Arts Foundation

The Continuo Arts Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals, communities and cultures through music.  Supporting music education and musicians, Continuo Arts offers New Jerseys most comprehensive Intergenerational Choral Program inclusive of children through adult, senior citizen to professionals.  The Continuo Arts Foundation is known for providing all-encompassing and unforgettable local, national and international musical experiences in concerts, classes, workshops and throughout the education spectrum; leading to a life-long love and support of the arts. Working in partnership with members, patrons, corporate and private sponsors, the Continuo Arts Foundation makes possible the education, performance and composition of music in ways which might otherwise be considered too unique or too expensive to be ordinarily under taken; giving precedence to considerations of quality over those of quantity; to artistic rather than to economic values and to opportunity over expediency.  Continuo Arts is a  501 (c) 3 charitable organization.

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Dear Members, Patrons & Community Leaders,

Welcome to Continuo Arts!  This website is designed to provide you a thorough picture of the many opportunities available to you, your family, and to our communities at large.  As you peruse through our  various program offerings I hope you soon realize that there is a place for everyone at Continuo Arts; whether young or old, experienced or novice.  Our Conservatory structure is designed to offer a comprehensive platform of musical education and artistic experiences that will enrich your lives, further your dreams and create life-long memories.

What this cannot show you, however, is the community that IS Continuo Arts.  Our members hail from many towns and numerous counties across the great New Jersey and New York area.  We sing together, grown together, learn, laugh & love together; we are a family.  Children begin at age 6 and sing through their Senior year of High School, go away to college and return after graduation to join us again!  Four generations of family members stand and sing together, brothers, sisters, parents & grandparents…Continuo Arts is a special place!

A relentless commitment to excellence is what makes Continuo Arts stand apart and insures continued performance opportunities and collaborations of the highest standards.  From serving as Choirs-in-Residence in Carnegie Hall to International appearances in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vatican City; performing world premieres for Disney Theatrical at The Paper Mill Playhouse or historic firsts in the Sistine Chapel, there is no place like Continuo.

Our vocal and instrumental Conservatory students receive instruction of the highest caliber. Young artists seeking a professional performance track participate in both the week-long and year-long programs of The Minuetto Music Festival.  Broadway & Beyond offers workshops, shows, masterclasses and a summer intensive program for Triple-Threats from far and wide!

How is this all possible? It takes: Motivated Members, Inspired Staff, Board Leadership, Committed Patrons, Community Partners & You…so welcome to Continuo!

We believe in the power of music, arts and education; we encourage both individual and corporate achievement.  We understand the importance of family and support inter-generational programs that provide a forum for families to participate together; for the young to inspire the old, for the old to mentor the young.  We know that our culture defines us so we are committed to enrich that culture; to collaborate with other organizations and community leaders….together, we are dedicated to making a difference.

Thank you for joining us!  As a member, patron, sponsor, concert goer…oh, the places we will go!




Candace Wicke, DMA 
Founder, President & Executive Director
The Continuo Arts Foundation

The Vision

The Continuo Arts Foundation believes that exposure to the arts is essential to understanding our culture and heritage.  We believe that music is of primary importance to the survival of civilization, to the health of society and to insuring the highest quality of life. The experience of music allows us to participate in the universal creative process, open hearts and minds, awaken feelings and bring delight and joy. We strive to understand and to promote music across the life span to all generations and around the world.

We believe that intergenerational musical experiences provide an important opportunity to become stronger individuals; to become more unified as a community by experiencing different cultures and backgrounds through music and in the process, make the communities we belong to stronger.

We are committed to innovative music education, exposure, enrichment and programming which engages the young and the old, the sophisticated and the first-time performer or listener, as well as those interested in understanding diverse cultures and genres. 

The Mission

The Continuo Arts Foundation mission is to further musical education, performance, composition, exposure and appreciation from generation to generation.

Continuo Arts Foundation History

The Continuo Arts Foundation was founded in 2007 and since this time, our commitment to procreate the arts through education, opportunity, performance, composition, and appreciation has grown to a global level.

Click Here for Complete Organizational Timeline

Click Here for Major Performances Video Overview



Our Staff

Candace Wicke, Founder, President & Executive Director
Candace Wicke
Candace Wicke, DMA
President, Executive Director & Principle Conductor

Hailed as a ‘true maestro’ conductor Candace Wicke made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2002.  As a champion of new music, Dr. Wicke has premiered new works in many of her Carnegie Hall appearances including the World Premiere of Imant Raminsh’s Symphony of Psalms, Gary Fry’s Sing A Song With Me, and Stephen Edward’s A Carol Fantasy, Requiem for my Mother, Revelation, Missa Brevis and the New York Premiere of the Ave Maria Mass. Featured in the nationwide PBS broadcast of the Requiem for my Mother documentary, the recording of this work conducted by Wicke is currently on Bill Board’s top ten chart.

 Sharing the stage with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling, Wicke appeared on the prestigious Festival Internazionale pro Musica e Arte Sacre Series in 2008, made history in 2014 by conducting the first concert featuring an US ensemble inside the Sistine Chapel and in 2015 served as Chorus Master for the world premiere of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Paper Mill Playhouse.  

 Other major conducting appearances include “Christmas Time in the City” and the Lee Kjelson Memorial “Sounds of Music Series” in Carnegie Hall and two seasons of the Festival Internazionale Di Arte Per Giovani Musicisti in Rome, Assisi and Prague.  Dr. Wicke returned to the International Festival Pro Musica E Arte Sacra in 2016, sharing the series with the Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Metha and other international artists of note.

 Wicke’s international experience also includes conducting the United States representative Wind Ensemble at the Taipei Presidential Inauguration, the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the City of Prague Philharmonic, in Prague and the Waratah Girls Choir in Australia. Ensembles under her baton have received National and International acclaim performing with Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra, the Turksoy Orchestra in Lincoln Center and the Music Center at Strathmore, the Global International Women’s Summit, Musica Mundi International, Legatus International, and the Miami Civic Associations Young Artist Debut. She is a popular guest conductor, adjudicator and master class clinician across the United States.

 Dr. Wicke is the Founder, President, and Executive Director for the Continuo Arts Foundation where she conducts the Continuo Arts Intergenerational Choral Ensembles, is Co-Artistic Director of The Minuetto Music Festival and Manager of the Continuo Arts Conservatory of Music.  Dr. Wicke is a graduate of the University of Miami and Evangel University, majoring in vocal and instrumental performance, music education, and conducting.  She is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni of the Year for Evangel University, New Jersey’s 2016 Women of Excellence in Arts & Humanities Award Winner and has received a 2016 Congressional recognition for dedication and excellence in Arts & Humanities.

Amanda Blutner, Programs Manager
Amanda Blutner
Amanda Blutner, MM
Assistant Conductor and Programs Manager

Mrs. Blütner, Assistant Conductor and Programs Manager, holds a B.M. in Music Education from Westminster Choir College and an M.A. in Music and Music Education from Teachers College of  Columbia University. During her time at Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Schola Cantorum, Williamson Voices, and the Westminster Choir under the batons of James Jordan, Joe Miller, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jacques Lacombe, Alan Gilbert and Joseph Flummerfelt. She has performed in ensembles in engagements around the country including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, The United Nations General Assembly, and the Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Mrs. Blütner is a choral director and music teacher in the Elizabeth Public School District and is on staff teaching private voice at the Continuo Arts Conservatory of Music.  She resides in Roselle Park with her husband Zach and daughter Eleanor.

Lucas Barkley, Staff Accompanist
Lucas Barkley     

Lucas Barkley, MM
Staff Accompanist

Lucas Barkley is the staff accompanist for the Continuo Arts Foundation and holds a B.M. in piano performance from Duquesne University and a Master of Music, Collaborative Piano from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Mr. Barkley lives in South Orange, NJ and works in the New York City area. Recently he was pianist and coach for Manhattan Opera Studio's Winter Festival as well as rehearsal pianist with Regina Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor). He is also a regular pianist for performances at Brooklyn Opera (recent productions include Elektra and Nabucco, with Das Rheingold, Thaïs, and La Gioconda upcoming in 2016). Lucas recently relocated from Pittsburgh, PA where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music and a pianist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also an accompanist and coach for CO-OPERA, a co-production of Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the world premieres of five one-act operas by student composers, and accompanist and répétiteur for the inaugural production (Verdi’s Macbeth) of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh.

As an art song accompanist, Lucas devised and accompanied two all-Schubert recitals (Nacht und Träume in 2013 and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial) as well as a graduate recital featuring works of Schubert, Poulenc and Brahms. With tenor Daniel Arnaldos in 2014 he presented Spain is Different: Spanish Songs and Arias and Sehnsucht (structured around settings of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt) at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2013 and 2014 he studied at the Vancouver International Song Institute, coaching with (among others) Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Cameron Stowe and Arlene Shrut. Lucas holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with a minor in English literature from Duquesne University and a master’s in collaborative piano from Carnegie Mellon. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kerri, daughter Lydia, son Joseph and cat Mädchen.

Samantha Ferrara, Executive Assistant & Musical Theater Director
Samantha Ferrara
Samantha Ferrara, BM
Executive Assistant
Musical Theater Director

Samantha Ferrara is the Continuo Arts Musical Theater Director.Ms Ferrara is a 2014 Graduate of Westminster Choir Colleg with a BM in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theater. Ms. Ferrara is currently teaching chorus and orchestra at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham and is the Alto Section Leader at St. Bernards Episcopal Church.


Teresa Gotanco, Associate Accompanist & Graphics
Teresa Gotanco
Teresa Gotanco
Associate Accompanist

Ms. Gotanco is a graduate from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Music. During her time at Rutgers, she performed as a choir member with the University Choir as well as a trumpeter with the concert band. In the last two years of her undergraduate career, she served as the musical director of Rutgers’ Christian a cappella group, First Light. After her graduation from Rutgers, Ms. Gotanco relocated to the Syracuse area, where she sang with the Syracuse Pops Chorus and served as the Director of Music at Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church for two years.

Upon returning to New Jersey, Ms. Gotanco has been serving as a cantor and choir member at the Church of Saint Catharine in Holmdel, a trumpeter and horn player with the High Sea Brass Choir in Toms River, as well as a freelance pianist around the central Jersey area. She will be serving as Choirmaster for the July 2017 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company. Ms. Gotanco currently resides in Morganville with her family.

Devin McGuire
Maxine Alstrom
Maxine Alstrom, MM
Northeast Campus

Maxine Alstrom graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Lowell) with a B.A. in Music Education, where she performed with Count Basie, Ramsey Lewis, and the College Jazz Band. She was then on the road for years with “Larry and the Exciters”, touring the U.S. and Canada. 

Mrs. Alstrom has taught Pre-school and Middle School Vocal Music, represented Steinway Pianos, demonstrated for keyboard companies around the world, has accompanied countless vocalists, cabarets, and shows of all types; is a Church Organist/Pianist, was Music Director at Camp Deeny Reeback, and Camp Horizons.

She teaches private piano students; and performs frequently at private parties and functions with bands and solo throughout the area. Maxine has performed with many notables including Paul Shaffer, Darlene Love, Ben E. King, Cissy Houston, Bettye Lavette, Bernard Purdie, John Lloyd Young, Steven Van Zandt, and others, playing in concerts at the Apollo, Lincoln Center, and The Bottom Line. 

Beverly Coulter, Artistic Director Minuetto Music Festival

Beverly Coulter

Artistic Director
Minuetto Music Festival

A native of Dallas, Texas, Beverly Coulter holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami. Her recent operatic performances include the role of Elvira in Bellini’s I Puritani, the title role in Arrieta’s opera Marina, Norina in Don Pasquale, Gilda in Rigoletto, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Musetta in La Bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue. Dr. Coulter has appeared in concert in Italy, Canada, South America, England, Poland, Mexico, Greece, and the Czech Republic. She performed in Carnegie Hall as soprano soloist with MidAmerica Productions.  Her South Florida appearances have included performances with the New World Symphony, Treasure Coast Opera Society, Miami Lyric Opera, Riuniti Opera, Coral Gables Symphony and Opera, Círculo Lírico de la Opera, and the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami.

In addition to maintaining an active schedule as a singer, professor, conductor, director, published author, and clinician in the area of vocal music and opera, Dr. Coulter is a winner of numerous awards and competitions in the area of solo piano. She has recently conducted Don Pasquale, L’Elisir D’Amore, La Rondine, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Barber of Seville. Her directing credits encompass a history of numerous opera, operetta, and musical theatre productions. She is the Artistic Director and founder of the Riuniti Opera, which was officially inaugurated in 2000 as an organization designed to help young singers bridge the gap between student and professional by being afforded performance opportunities in which they work alongside established professionals in the opera field. She launched the Riuniti Summer Educational Opera Series with the Alhambra Orchestra, and has presented The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Impresario during recent seasons.

As a staunch advocate of new music, Dr. Coulter has performed in premieres of many new works in the United States and abroad. These include works of Stephen James Edwards, Philip Glass, her husband Fred Coulter, and Canadian composer Imant Raminsch.  She recently she appeared as soprano soloist in the world premiere of Edwards’s Requiem For My Mother, presented by the Continuo Arts Foundation as part of the Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra in Rome, Italy. She performed the role of Mica in the South Florida premiere of Carly Simon’s opera Romulus Hunt.  Dr. Coulter is Director of Music Ministry at Central Presbyterian Church in Miami, Florida. She is Auditions Chairperson of the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is an active collaborator with the Miami Lyric Opera and the Alhambra Orchestra.  Dr. Coulter is Director of Opera and Professor of Music at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.

Daniel Apruzzese
Dan Apruzzese

Daniel Apruzzese

Board of Directors

Dr. Candace Wicke
President and Executive Director
Dan Apruzzese
Jean-Marie Apruzzese
Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of DRA Advisors
Noni MacPherson
Director of Consumer and Market Insights for Twinnings Tea
William Hammond
Vice-President, AT&T
Dr. Suraj Alva
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgery,
Rutgers - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School,
Colon and Rectal Surgery Overlook Medical Center
Dr. Jesse Peterson
President, Tempo Music
Claudia Cardillo
Johnson and Johnson
William Hildebrandt
Assurant, Inc., Organist, Composer
Joe Ciresi
State Representative: Pennsylvania

Events Committee

Mia Andersen

Lyle Brehm

Stephanie Gallegos

Inge Gropp

Lori LaMonica

Ewa Misiewicz

Christa Pescatore

Susan Peterson

Angela Schneller

CAF Opportunities

Volunteer & Get Involved!:

Continuo Arts needs your help & expertise to continue our mission!  

How can you help? 

  • Assist in our offices
  • Introduce your community to Continuo Arts, ask us how!
  • Bring new young people, adults & seniors to experience the joy of music with us
  • Let us know how we can assist in your school or educational program


Continuo Arts is accepting applications for  Internships. Responsibilities are not limited to but will include:


  • Music Library
  • Organization
  • Graphics
  • Marketing
  • Phones

Summer Musical Theater Conservatory:

  • Assist students and staff
  • Music, script, set & costume preparation
  • Schedule & supervise
  • Backstage & technical management

Applicants with experience in choral/instrumental music and/or music theater with an interest in music education are encouraged to apply. This is an unpaid internship that will provide excellent hands-on experience and practicum in addition to a stellar reference. Email resume and cover letter to:


Conducting Fellow:

Continuo Arts is accepting Conducting Fellow applications for the 2014-2015 concert season. Conducting Fellows assist in seven Intergenerational Choral Programs as well as organizational activities, programs and appearances for The Continuo Arts Foundation.  Applicants should have extensive experience in choral music, voice performance and preferably be working on an advanced degree in Choral Conducting.  Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Assist in conducting, sectionals & all organizational aspects for:

Monday Ensembles:

  • Seniors Sing! 
  • Singers
  • Continuos

Tuesday Ensembles:

  • Children's Chorus
  • Chanticleers
  • Civic Chorale
  • Sonare-Professional Ensemble

Serve as section leader for the Civic Chorale and member of Sonare.

Conduct and/or sing as well as assist in organizational details for:

  • All Annual Concert Series
  • Annual Gala
  • Community Service Appearances
  • Other events to be announced

Conducting Fellows will gain extraordinary experience & continuing education in:

  • Hands-on teaching, rehearsing, conducting and managing ensembles of all age groups and catagories
  • Infra-structure and administration of non-profit organization
  • Networking
  • Repertoire exposure
  • Solo opportunities
  • Conducting experience & instruction
  • Podium Time

This is an unpaid Fellowship providing immeasurable opportunity, enrichment & exposure as well as a stellar reference.  Interested applicants should email resume and cover letter to:

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