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 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 Continuo Arts Foundation mission is to further musical education, performance, composition, exposure and appreciation from generation to generation.
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.
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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. Featured as conductor in the nationwide PBS documentary broadcast of Requiem for my Mother, the recording of this work, conducted by Wicke, spent eight weeks on Bill Board’s top ten chart, received a Hollywood Media & Music Award and an IMA nomination.
Sharing the stage with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling, Wicke has appeared twice on the prestigious Festival Internazionale pro Musica e Arte Sacre Series, made history by conducting the first concert featuring an US ensemble inside the Sistine Chapel and served as Chorus Master for the world premiere of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
Most recently seen in Carnegie Hall on April 28, 2019, Dr. Wicke’s latest international appearance was at the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece. The 2021 season includes serving as rehearsal Conductor for the World Premiere of the Opera-Oratorio “Eleni” in both Carnegie Hall and Athens Greece. A Festival Conductor for two seasons of the Festival Internazionale Di Arte Per Giovani Musicisti in Rome, Assisi and Prague, additional international experience 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 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 and serves as a Conductor-in-Residence for MidAmerica Productions in New York City and abroad.
Dr. Wicke is the Founder, President, and Executive Director for the Continuo Arts Foundation where she conducts the Continuo Arts Intergenerational Choral Ensembles, who serve as Choirs-in-Residence in Carnegie Hall. She is the Executive Director of The Minuetto Music Festival and Manager of the Continuo Arts Conservatory of Music. 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 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award for Evangel University, New Jersey’s Women of Excellence in Arts & Humanities Award Winner and has received a Congressional recognition for dedication and excellence in Arts & Humanities.
Mrs. Blütner, Associate 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.
Samantha Ferrara, Director of Musical Theater at The Continuo Arts Foundation, graduated in 2014 from Westminster Choir College of Rider University with a B.M. in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theater. While at Rider and Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Symphonic Choir, as well as performing in six mainstage productions under the direction of Nathan Hurwitz, Robin Lewis, Trent Blanton and Miriam Mills. Ms. Ferrara made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 under the baton of Maestro John Rutter and served as Manager for the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus at the International Festival of the Aegean.
Ms. Ferrara can be frequently found on both the professional and community stage; she spent last spring in the chorus of Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse, and this past summer flying high in Trilogy Repertory Company’s Mary Poppins as the title role. Some of her favorite roles include Niki Harris in Curtains, Ariel in Footloose and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes.
Ms. Ferrara lives in Bernardsville, where she is the alto section leader at St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church and had music directed productions at Bernardsville Middle School. Ms. Ferrara is currently teaching chorus and orchestra at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham.
Ms. Gotanco is a graduate from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Music. In addition to teaching in the Conservatory, she is the Assistant Accompanists and Graphics Manager for The Continuo Arts Foundation. 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 has served as Choirmaster for numerous productions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company.
Ms. Gotanco made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 under the baton of Maestro John Rutter. She was a featured young artist at the International Festival of the Aegean and concertizes throughout New York and New Jersey. Ms. Gotanco currently resides in Morganville with her family.
Continuo Arts Conservatory staff member Craig Sanphy holds a M.M. from Wichita State University and a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Westminster Choir College. At the Continuo Arts Foundation, Mr. Sanphy teachers private voice, tap and is an associate for the Broadway & Beyond Musical Theater Department. He is a member of the Civic Chorale of NJ and Sonaré, a professional chamber ensemble. Mr. Sanphy made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 under the baton of Maestro John Rutter and was a featured young artist at the International Festival of the Aegean
As a featured artist, Mr. Sanphy has performed in the Texas Music Festival, Minuetto Music Festival, Crittenden Opera Studio, and the Festival of the Aegean. Recent stage credits include Light in the Piazza (Giuseppe, Fabrizio U/S), The Gondoliers (Marco Palmieri), The Mikado (Nanki-Poo), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Chorus). In addition to his prolific recital and solo repertoire, he is often seen on the concert stage as tenor soloist including performances of Schubert’s Mass in G, Mozart Coronation Mass, Beethoven Choral Fantasy, Haydn’s The Seasons, and The Seven Last Words of Christ (Dubois, Hadyn, and Franck).
During his time at Wichita State, Mr. Sanphy was cast in numerous revues and full-scale productions, including The Light in the Piazza and Les Indes Galantes. In addition, he served as assistant to the dance department. During his tenure at Westminster Choir College, Mr. Sanphy sang with the Williamson Voices and the Westminster Symphonic Chorus under the batons of Dr. Joe Miller, Dr. James Jordan, Sir Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Roger Norrington, Daniel Harding, and John Adams.
In addition to his work at the Continuo Arts Foundation, Mr. Sanphy serves as tenor soloist and section leader at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield.
Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer is a Cuban-American actress, singer, songwriter and producer. She was last seen originating the role of Fate in the hit Broadway musical Hadestown (winner of 8 Tony Awards - including Best New Musical). She is best known for playing the role of Kiki on the Emmy Award-winning Nickelodeon TV series, The Fresh Beat Band, where she received two Imagen Award nominations for Best Actress in a Television Series.
As Kiki, the lead singer/violinist/guitarist of The Fresh Beat Band, she sold out Madison Square Garden 4x’s, performed in the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, sold out a US Tour for 1 million fans, was on the cover of Pollstar Magazine, rang the Morning Bell at NYSE and had two #1 Albums on iTunes.
An award winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, she has also performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, has sung with Florida Grand Opera, has performed and toured around the globe with artists such as Engelbert Humperdinck, Ne-Yo, Jason Mraz, Wyclef Jean, Gloria Estefan, Justin Bieber & All-4-One, among others. Yvette’s songs have been heard on a variety of films and TV shows, Sirius XM, and various features, including Dan Fogelman’s feature film Life, Itself. She recently won the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest and has been signed to BMG Publishing (Topline) by the multiplatinum hit songwriter/executive-producer Billy Mann.
Some of Yvette’s other television credits include the role of Cha Cha in Fox's star-studded cast of Grease: Live, Soleded Penagos on Madam Secretary, Criminal Minds, Guiding Light, voicing the role of Kiki on Nick Jr’s The Fresh Beat Band of Spies as well as Phyllis on Disney’s Goldie & Bear, to name a few. She has also starred in classic stage productions like West Side Story, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, 3 Mo’ Divas as well as Broadway’s 1st Nat’l Tour of In the Heights and won a Craig Noel Award (SD Critic’s Circle) in the category Outstanding Female Lead.
Yvette is the founder and President of Whitelighter Productions, a production company focused on developing original content for film and television in both the US & Hispanic markets. Most recently, Nacer produced the film Crossroads, as well as International Branded Spots for Lionsgate Studios, Metro PCS and various projects for Universal Music Latino. Under her own banner, Nacer produced Santería, which garnered accolades at the California Int'l Film festival, Sarajevo Fashion Film Festival, Los Angeles CineFest, Barebones Int’l Film & Music Festival and Arthouse Asia. She most recently wrote, produced and co-directed the musical short film Who We Were Before, which was an official selection at the Grace International Film Festival in Berlin as well as the Los Angeles CineFest. She was an associate producer on the film, Always a Thorn and A Holiday Boyfriend and is currently producing/ directing the short film Quicksand, the full-length feature film The Way We Look At Horses and has several other projects on her slate.
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.
Continuo Arts needs your help & expertise to continue our mission!
How can you help?
Continuo Arts is accepting applications for Internships. Responsibilities are not limited to but will include:
Summer Musical Theater Conservatory:
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: email@example.com
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:
Serve as section leader for the Civic Chorale and member of Sonare.
Conduct and/or sing as well as assist in organizational details for:
Conducting Fellows will gain extraordinary experience & continuing education in:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org