Hearkening back to simpler times, the classic ballads and showtunes filling the theater of Lawrenceville’s Notre Dame High School drew an enthusiastic crowd on a rainy afternoon Sept. 10 for Domestic Church Media’s second annual fundraiser concert.
Jim Manfredonia, co-founder with his wife, Cheryl, of the Ewing-based Catholic media apostolate, seemed to channel Ol’ Blue Eyes with his many renditions of Frank Sinatra favorites, including “New York, New York,” “Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words),” and “My Way.”
Accompanied by Flemington’s Summer Swing Orchestra as well as Cheryl on the piano, Jim shared the stage with his daughter, Angela Manfredonia, who belted out beloved standards like “Cabaret” by Liza Minnelli, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” by Barbra Streisand. The two collaborated for duets like “My Funny Valentine,” and Cheryl and Angela sang backup for Jim’s performance of “That’s Life.”
PHOTO GALLERY: DCM Benefit Concert
Proceeds of all ticket sales went toward the operation of DCM’s four radio stations, which cover much of the Diocese of Trenton as well as portions of the Camden and Metuchen Dioceses and parts of Pennsylvania.
Although similar to last year’s event, a few new surprises lay in store. An accomplished classical pianist who traveled the world for performances as a college student, Cheryl returned to her roots and played “Rhapsody in Blue” along with the orchestra – something she had been longing to repeat for years. And Jim invited his friend and classmate he’d known almost 60 years from St. Peter School in New Brunswick – Paul Nolan – to join him onstage to perform “Send in the Clowns” by Steven Sondheim, another song made famous by Frank Sinatra and numerous other chart-toppers.
Several additional friends from across the years attended the concert as well, including Angela’s first-grade teacher, and two additional classmates of Jim’s from St. Peter’s.
Father John Butler, chaplain for DCM and pastor of St. Michael Parish, West Long Branch, brought a contingent of parishioners with him. Father Timothy Capewell and Father William Dunlap, retired priests of the Diocese, also enjoyed the show.
“Excellent orchestra, well-balanced music and disciplined voices – very enjoyable,” Father Dunlap said during the intermission. “It’s a nice time to come out and listen.”
Michael and Lucia Kennelty, parishioners of St. Mary Parish, Middletown, heard about the concert while listening to DCM Radio. “It reminds us of our youth,” Michael said of the performance.
“It was so exceptional last year, and there are even more surprises this year!” said Marilyn Lecerff, parishioner of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square.