|William Corson (Co-Founder, Executive Producer)|
|Lauran Fulton Corson (Co-Founder, Artistic Director)|
|Joanna Hoty Russell (President) has sung with LONJ, performing a range of roles, including:
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Muzzy), The Magic Flute (2nd Lady), and Footloose (Vi Moore), as well
as Savoy Faire, LONJ’s travelling troupe! Joanna directed Amahl and the Night Visitors, co-directed
“Lovin’ Cole”, an Original Cole Porter Revue and was Assistant Director for The Gondoliers. As
Chairman of the Show Choice Committee, she will steer LONJ future season selections.
Joanna teaches private voice in Murray Hill and is the Music Director of The Larks, a volunteer
singing group (sponsor: Junior League of Summit). She serves as Music Director for Footlights of
Martinsville, a children’s theatre program and is the Alto Soloist at St. Peter’s Church in Roseland.
For twenty years, Joanna has sung with The Early Music Players of NJ, a chamber ensemble devoted
to the music of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. Joanna is a co-founder of The Creative
Arts Support Team, a non-profit organization supporting visual/performing arts opportunities in
the Berkeley Heights school district.
|Jamie Baer Peterson (Vice President), soprano, was educated at the Eastman School of Music
and began her career as an apprentice with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has sung leading roles
with opera companies throughout the U.S. and France, including L’Opera de Nice, Santa Fe Opera,
Minnesota Opera, Central City Opera, New York City Opera and many others. Critically acclaimed for
her “voice of shining brilliance” (Opera Now), Jamie has been a soloist with many oratorio societies
and has sung multiple times at Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fischer Hall with the New York City Symphony, Little Orchestra Society, and National Choral. Regionally she has been a soloist with the Dallas, Atlanta,
Hartford, Omaha, Princeton, Westfield, Lake Placid Symphonies and in two national broadcasts with the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She has performed with Ridge Light Opera and Light Opera of New Jersey
since 2004. She has directed Light Night, Operagious!, Don Pasquale, The Old Maid and the Thief
and in April ’17 will direct Barber of Seville for LONJ. Jamie teaches at the Wharton Institute of
Performing Arts and has been on the faculty of Monmouth University. She lives in New Providence, NJ
with her husband and three children.
|Lois Buesser (Secretary) has been with LONJ as pianist and singer since 2004. A graduate of Oklahoma
City University, she has performed in NY, NJ, OK and NC, and in Europe and Asia. Lois is organist at
St. Mark’s in Basking Ridge and Temple Sinai in Summit, and accompanies at William Paterson University.
As music director of LONJ productions, Lois is honored to have been a fragment of the success of cabarets
(Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers & Hart, and Cole Porter) and productions with songs from operas, operettas,
and Broadway—all accomplished alongside the splendid talents of a deeply committed group of singers and
|Michael Baruffi (Treasurer) has been performing with LONJ for several years and recently joined the
Board of Directors. Michael is retired from the Mars Chocolate Company where he served 29 years in
Cash Management, Budget and Planning and Sales Forecasting roles. He holds a BA in Political Science
from Penn State University and an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University. Michael resides in
Randolph, N.J. with his wife Rebecca.
|David L. Clark received an undergraduate degree from North Texas University, Denton, TX, and
completed his graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. During Mr. Clark’s business
career, he has been active in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), currently a Hall of Fame member,
and the Advanced Association of Life Underwriting (AALU). He has earned both the Chartered Life
Underwriter and Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designations. This dual certification
places him in the top 1/10 of 1% of insurance professionals in America. Mr. Clark spent the first ten
years of his career after University as a professional opera singer, spending three seasons at the
Santa Fe Opera Company, Santa Fe, NM. For the last thirty years, he has been in the insurance
industry and is currently a practicing Reinsurance Intermediary. Outside of business, Mr. Clark has
been active in the Metropolitan Opera Society, the Boy Scouts of America, served as Chairman of the
New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis Society (10 years), and as a board member of the Marilyn Horne
Foundation (15 years). He is currently serving as a Trustee of Light Opera New Jersey (LONJ) after
being instrumental in the founding of this Organization.
|Laura A. DeFelice is the owner and co-founder of CapaGia Properties, LLC, an owner and manager
of multi-family and commercial real estate and Stonegate Advisors, LLC, an advisory firm focused on
renewable energy and energy efficiency project development. Prior to becoming an independent
entrepreneur, Laura was a senior partner and head of the global structured finance practice at
Latham & Watkins, LLP, New York, NY. Laura earned her JD from Columbia University School of Law
and her BA from Tufts University. Laura is a member of the U.S. Green Buildings Council and the
Brookings Institution Council. Laura also has a passion for music and the performing arts and participates
in local music and performing arts groups.
|Tom Donelan is a long-standing member of Light Opera of NJ having appeared in Lovin’ Cole,
Footloose (Rev. Shaw Moore), The Mikado (Pish Tush), The Pirates of Penzance (Samuel), Amahl
and the Night Visitors (King Melchoir, King Kaspar), and has been featured in several September
Song productions since 1999. Tom has also been a member of the New York Gilbert and Sullivan
Players professional repertory company since 1996, having performed nearly the entire G&S canon.
He is proud to direct such a fine ensemble as Savoy Faire! By day, Tom works in IT for Madison Square
Garden, and resides in Whippany with his wife Donna Lee and daughter Sophia who are both active in LONJ.
|Steven M. Fulda is Managing Director at Fulda Business Planners, where he specializes in creating
and developing winning business plans, in creating long-term financial plans, and in redirecting strategy
and operations to enable businesses to succeed. He has fifty-five years of executive management,
consulting and teaching experience spanning all facets of business strategy, planning, business analysis,
development and financing. Mr. Fulda combines management consulting experience as a business
planner with earlier senior executive responsibilities in systems engineering and technology development.
Utilizing his multidisciplinary background in management and technology, he has been successful as a
change agent, implementing new strategies and tactics which have not only averted problems but
increased operational effectiveness, hence profitability. Over the years Mr. Fulda and his colleagues
have identified, exploited and managed growth opportunities for over 200 emerging businesses. Mr. Fulda
is an experienced director, currently serving as a member of three Boards in both the corporate and
non-profit sectors. He has chaired the Audit Committee and also co-chaired the Strategic Planning
Committee of a public biotech company. Mr. Fulda holds two Masters’ Degrees, one in Systems
Engineering and the other in Quantitative Business Analysis. His undergraduate degree is in Engineering
Physics and Applied Math.
|Elaine Gennaro began her affiliation with Light Opera of New Jersey as a soprano performing in nearly
all of LONJ’s productions from 2000-2009, including September Song, OPERAgious, and Plays in the Park.
Some of her favorite productions include Hansel and Gretel (Sandman), Pirates of Penzance (Isabel),
Iolanthe (Leila), Orpheus in the Underworld (Juno), and The True Story of Cinderella (Fairy Godmother).
She studied classical voice with the late Maestro Garyth Nair and Lauran Fulton Corson and was employed
as the principal cantor and soloist for twelve years at Our Lady of the Lake RC Church in Verona. Elaine
earned a BA in Economics from Rutgers University, an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of
Business, and an MAT (Masters in Teaching) in Secondary Mathematics Education from Fairleigh
Dickinson University. She is a former math teacher and tutor for college and high school entrance
examinations. Elaine has served in many varied volunteer leadership positions in her community of
New Providence over the past 30 years, including PTAs, Scouts, the Municipal Alliance to Prevent
Substance Abuse, and the Summit Chorale. She currently also serves as an elected party district
committee representative and on the Advisory Board of the Academy at Our Lady of Peace RC
Church (grades PreK-8). She and husband Michael have three children and two grandchildren.
|Susan Kirkland teaches choral and vocal music at New Providence High School. She has also taught
for Durham Public Schools in NC, UNC-Greensboro, and The Actors Institute in NYC. She has
performed with New York City Opera National Company, Liederkranz, Di Capo, and Des Moines
Metro opera companies, American Opera Projects, NYGASP, Opera at Florham and Opera at the
Algonquin in NYC. She currently sings with Harmonium Choral Society. Susan earned a
Bachelor of Music Therapy Degree from Shenandoah University and her M.M. in Voice Performance
from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has enjoyed performing with LONJ since
2005, most recently in the role of the Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
|John Lamb has been a member of LONJ since its earliest days, having performed in the first and
nearly every subsequent production of September Song, every production of OPERAgious!, every
Amahl and the Night Visitors, several Plays in the Park and many Savoy Faire shows. He has performed
with many other local ensembles, including Harmonium Choral Society, The Early Music Players and
The Eclectic Consort. He is a soloist and the bass section leader at Christ Church in Short Hills. John
holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Electrical
Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. A former member of technical staff at Bell
Telephone Laboratories and Telcordia Technologies, he served as LONJ’s first webmaster and
still helps out with the website. John resides in Randolph with his wife Kristine. Together, they
operate the family business Boxwood Music Incorporated.
|Amy Liu spent several years as Light Opera of New Jersey’s stage manager. She has worn many
hats behind the scenes in box office, crew, house management, sound design, and other roles with
theater and concert companies. Professionally, Amy is an Operations Leader with Marsh USA, working
with the firm’s global risk management clients and colleagues. She is an EMT with the Long Hill First
Aid Squad. Amy has a BA in Economics from Cornell University. She lives in Warren with her husband and son.
|Mindy Lynch is a fundraising professional, volunteer, and active supporter of wildlife conservation
and the arts. With a fine arts background and 25 years of experience working for New Jersey nonprofits,
Mindy is delighted to assist LONJ with their artistic and fundraising goals. Mindy has been a board
member of the Harmonium Choral Society, Morris County School of Technology’s Academy for Visual
and Performing Arts Education Foundation, Randolph Middle School PTO, and she was Co-founder
of the Ironia Elementary Schoolyard Habitat. Mindy lives in Randolph with her husband Timothy
and son Ethan, a theater student who has performed in several LONJ productions.
|Linda Kastner has been on the Board of Light Opera of New Jersey for many years. Linda brings
her vast business experience for the last 30 years in product and service management for such profit
companies as AT&T and ADP as well as non-for-profit arts organizations as Harmonium Choral Society,
where she is the part-time business manager. Linda has a BS in Economics from Cornell University
and an MBA from NYU. Mrs. Kastner has held volunteer positions with management and fundraising
for the New Jersey Youth Chorus and also assisted with program sales and fundraising for
Trilogy Repertory Company.
|Marylea Schmidt has been involved with Light Opera of New Jersey for over 10 years. While
providing assistance with costumes and overall production support for many of the September Song
and Cabaret performances,Marylea was instrumental in developing the ‘artistic company in residence
agreement with St. Mark’s Church. Marylea’s passion for theater took shape in New York with
St. Bart’s Players and Blue Hill Troup. Love of local theater developed with her sons’ middle & high
school musicals as well as summer theater with Light Opera of New Jersey and Trilogy Repertory.
Professionally a Marketing Director at AT&T, Marylea is also a moderator for local and statewide
political forums. Marylea and her husband Bill are residents of Basking Ridge and have two sons
who share their enthusiasm for great musical theater.
|David D. Simon has performed several roles with LONJ including the Chairman in The Mystery
of Edwin Drood, The Judge in Trial By Jury, and the comic baritone role in their Savoy Faire
outreach troupe. David has been performing and directing musical theater and light opera for over
30 years with various groups in New Jersey and New York. David earned his JD from
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
By day, David manages attorney professional development at an international law firm. He lives in
Berkeley Heights with his wife and 6-year old twins.
|Heath Weisberg is General Counsel of CAM Capital, a single family office and investment firm that
engages in both trading activities and fundamentally driven investments spanning all parts of the
corporate capital structure in both the private and public markets. Heath is also an officer of the
Kovner Foundation, and is responsible for both firm’s legal, regulatory, and compliance matters.
His substantial legal and business experience extends to investment management, private funds
and mergers and acquisitions. As a performer, Heath has most recently appeared with Light Opera
of New Jersey, Mystic Vision Players, Berkeley Light Opera Company, and Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan.
He has also served as music director for Berkeley Light Opera Company productions, and as a
guest conductor with the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Heath earned his J.D., cum laude, from
New York University School of Law and his B.A., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania,
with distinctions in Music and Philosophy. He joined the board of LONJ in 2016.