Teri Fiorito was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1961 to Pat and Betty.
Living in Moonachie, next door to her Italian grandparents, she attended St. Margaret’s Catholic School and graduated in 1975, receiving the General Excellence Medal and winning a Citizenship award as well as history and writing awards.
The family moved to Upper Saddle River in 1974. Teri attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale where she excelled in her musical pursuits (Mrs. Malloy in Hello, Dolly and Marian in Music Man) and where her writing was published in the school’s literary magazines. She received honorable mention in the National Scholastic Magazine's ORIGINAL SONG category and also was chosen as a member of America’s Youth in Concert, traveling and singing throughout Europe.
Teri won a talent scholarship and attended Hartt School of Music where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music. She starred in the conservatory’s first musical theatre production, She Loves Me. While at Hartt, Teri played The Girl in Fantasticks, Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and April in Company. In the summer of 1982, Teri starred as Anita in West Side Story at the Highfield Theatre in Cape Cod, MA.
In 1983, immediately after graduation, Teri played Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof at Playhouse on the Mall, was a company member of the Light Opera of Manhattan while studying acting at the Herbert Berghoff Studio. Teri performed in the Candlewood Playhouse production of Sweeney Todd, which received rave reviews in the New York Times. Teri played Maria in The Sound of Music at Shawnee Playhouse in the Poconos during the summer of 1985 and again years later at the John Harms Theatre in New Jersey.
While serving as cantor and soloist at several area churches, Teri was also performing solo cabaret shows throughout New York City including the famous Duplex. Teri also taught private voice and piano lessons. In 1993 she performed a nearly 2-hour one woman show called Listen to My Heart in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she lived, working as a full-time Music Director at Notre Dame Church in North Caldwell.
Teri met her husband, Dr. Robert Bays, in 1994 and married in 1996. She recorded her first CD in 1998 called, Spark of Creation, a collection of inspiring songs. Bob’s work resulted in several trips to England and Australia where Teri promoted Blessing Rites, individually created rituals to celebrate life’s transitions. After eleven years at Notre Dame Church, Teri and Bob moved to CA where she worked as the Director of Liturgy and Music in Carlsbad, CA. During that time they traveled around the world including a safari in South Africa.
Shortly thereafter, in 2002, they moved to Sedona, AZ, where Teri served as the Director of Liturgy and Music at St. John Vianney Church for 15 years. She directed the Interfaith community’s planning of the Interfaith Thanksgiving service, sung for, worked at and served on the team for Sedona’s Mitzvah (Good Deed Day) and International Peace activities, including a multi-media presentation: Perspectives of Peace and Justice, which she conceived and directed. In addition, she had a leadership role in several women retreat experiences including Women’s Cornerstone, Magdala, and Spirit-filled Workshops for women, which again, she conceived and implemented.
While in Sedona, Teri recorded a second CD: Sacred Songs, Sacred Space. Although both she and Bob were in several Canyon Moon productions, she most loved playing Jenny, opposite her husband, in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two. Most recently she has played the roles of Desiree in A Little Night Music, The Witch in Into the Woods, and produced and starred in Closer Than Ever. She is now performing Joan Chittister The Play throughout the country.
Teri wrote her memoir: Through Stained Glass: the priests of my life, an Eric Hoffer De Vinci Award finalist. And as previously mentioned, she wrote the play, Joan Chittister: Her story, my story, our story.
She conceived and created an Archangel Patio for St. John Vianney Church.
In 2013 Teri spoke at the Call To Action National Conference on Changing Church, Changing World: The Holy Spirit Among Us
In 2016 Teri finished her first play: Joan Chittister: Her story, my story, our story, a one-woman play about 2 women for all women. In August of 2017 she began performing this play throughout the country.
Besides singing and acting, Teri enjoys a variety of activities including cooking, yoga, tennis, gardening, ceramics and knitting.
and Georgie, their Timneh African Grey parrot,
and Nowee, a cockatiel, given to her as a Christmas gift in 1993, from one of Teri’s choirs. She is still alive --nearly 24 years old!
Izzie, a German Shepherd/Boxer mix joined our home on October 22 , 2015.
Ace joined our home soon after that!