RitaBlackerRita Blacker, Composer in Residence
In 2012, as Vice President of the Artistic Committee, Rita Blacker located a piece of music which would work well for one of the NJCS concert programs. There were no written compositions for this piece as it was a traditional song, so she transcribed the piece for NJCS to perform. Later that same year, at the request of Artistic Director Eric Dale Knapp, Rita composed a piece of music for the NJCS Holiday Concert. It was a four part a cappella piece sung to the lyrics of a poem written by Robert Frost. 

Rita is fortunate to have grown up in a musical family, gathered around the piano on the weekends. Formal music training began at age 9 and continued through college, culminating in a degree in Music Performance from the University of Maryland. She has been a member of many choirs, including the Paramus High School Concert Choir and Small Ensemble, the University of Maryland Chapel Choir and she has sung with the New Jersey Choral Society for the past 14 years. Rita also had the privilege of singing with Sirene, a female a cappella group, and many other small groups, performing in various venues in the US and Mexico.

Rita is delighted that in December 2016 NJCS will be performing her most recent composition, Hannah Prays. When she is not composing, Rita is a piano teacher, works in a family-owned residential construction business and has her own interior design firm. She has just completed her latest renovation on a 150 year-old home, where her family is currently residing. Rita is married to Peter Milano, an engineer, and has a daughter, Rebecca, who is completing her graduate work in Structural Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.