NJPGC Officers





Former Director/



   Mrs. Dolores Benjamin was born in Norfolk, Virginia to 
  Mamie and Martin Collins.  She graduated from  Booker T. 
  Washington  High School in Norfolk, then went to Virginia 
  State College where she majored in music.  After spending 
  three years at Virginia State, her family relocated to Newark, 
  New Jersey.  In  New Jersey she attended Dana College and 
  later matriculated at Seton Hall University where she 
  received her B.S. Degree.



After arriving in Newark, Mrs. Benjamin was employed by the National Association for Retarded Children, the Fuld Neighborhood House in Newark and Franklin Simon 
Department   Store in New York.  While at Franklin Simon, she organized and conducted a mixed chorus of store employees. She was also active in her spare time as a director for several church choirs in the area.

While working with the mixed choruses, the desire to organize and direct a male glee club was always in the back of her mind.  Hearing the Virginia State College Glee Club as a student had a profound effect on her.  The opportunity to organize a glee club came about when she was involved with a 500 voice chorus in a program at the Mosque Theater in Newark in 1938.  She approached some of the male members of this chorus about forming a glee club.  Their response was most enthusiastic, and in the Spring of 1939, the North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club was born.

  Rehearsals began in her apartment, but as the group 
  continued to grow, they moved to the Court Street 
  Y.M.C.A., and then to the Fuld Neighborhood House.  
  The first concert performed in 1940 was 
  enthusiastically received and the group looked forward 
  to an exciting future.  However, the future had to be 
  delayed due to the beginning of World War II in 1941.  
  One by one glee club members went into the Armed 

While in the service, the men kept in touch with Mrs. Benjamin and often visited her while they were home on leave.  When the war ended in 1945, the group re-organized in East Orange.  In 1946 they began their Spring concert tradition with a performance at Arts High School.  In the ensuing years, these concerts became productions as Mrs. Benjamin organized and utilized a boys choir, the Voices of Tomorrow; a female group, the Harmonettes, and a dance troupe.

 Due to health reasons, Mrs. Benjamin was forced to resign from the Glee Club in 1952.  Since that time she has maintained her strong ties with the Glee Club and has been a constant source of inspiration and support.

  After teaching Special Education for a number of years in 
  Newark, Mrs. Benjamin began employment in the East 
  Orange school system 1950.  Because of her humanitarian 
  nature and her feelings for the less fortunate, she spurned 
  regular education for a career of teaching the handicapped.  
  She taught these students for 25 years and retired in 1975.

  In 1967 she married Joseph Benjamin, a renowned jazz 
  bassist with the Duke Ellington orchestra.  He tragically 
  expired in 1974 as a result of an auto accident.  
  Mrs. Benjamin now resides in Scotch Plains enjoying the 
  fruits of her labor and the rewards of retirement.

It is with deep sense of affection and immense pride that we honor our sister, Dolores, for her splendid reputation, her outstanding contributions to art and culture and her service to humanity.  We continue to sing in dedication to her for having the foresight to start our choral ensemble, for the way she has lived her life and for the love we feel for her.

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