Warren Helms, 1961-2020


Warren A. Helms, age 58, of West Milford, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 20, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. His loving wife, Andrea, was at his side.

Warren was born to Warren H. and Antoinette Helms (nee Vitetta) in Paterson, NJ, in 1961. Warren lived all over New Jersey throughout his life, including Saddle Brook, Fair Lawn, Mount Olive, Boonton, Mount Tabor, and Pompton Lakes before moving to West Milford about two years ago.

He attended Morris Catholic High School where he was a member of the Instrumental Music Program and played trombone. He graduated from Mount Olive High School with the Class of 1979 where he was Drum Major for the Marching Band. Warren attended County College of Morris and William Paterson University where he received his Bachelors of Music Education. He received a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he attained his Master’s Degree.

Warren’s musical career began with performances in local venues such as Lovey’s Showcase in Cranberry Lake, NJ. Two months after graduating from Manhattan School of Music he was hired to be part of their accompanying faculty. He soon began teaching at The Juilliard School as well. Warren was passionate about teaching and worked at Kinnelon High School, followed by many years at William Paterson University in Wayne, and Caldwell University in Caldwell. He served at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Wayne from 1998-2019, first as the Choir Accompanist and then as Director of Music and Liturgy. Most recently, he served as Minister of Music at of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Sparta. Notably close to his heart were his years with the IHM Church Choir, his work at Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ, and the Coro Lirico choral group, based in Madison, NJ.

Warren was a virtuoso pianist who worked on- and off- Broadway for years. He accompanied legends such as Aretha Franklin and international stars like Susan Boyle, Clay Aiken, and the Irish Tenors. He appeared on The Today Show and The View, as well as at Lincoln Center. In 2015, he worked with Broadway legend Hal Prince.

Warren met the love of his life, Andrea (nee Brown), at the Manhattan School of Music and they began dating in 1993. The two married on October 14, 1995 and honeymooned in Ireland, their favorite place in the world. Warren and Andrea enjoyed twenty-five years of loving and devoted marriage and had two beautiful daughters, Fiona and Julia, whom Warren adored.

Warren will be lovingly remembered as a giant in the New York/New Jersey music and theatre world, having played for some of the most talented (both known and unknown) as well as some of the most promising singers. He was kind, selfless, talented, compassionate, and a friend to everyone. It is often said, but could not be truer in Warren’s case: he was a wonderful husband, father, and friend. He loved his work deeply and was one of the hardest working people you could possibly meet. Warren had a robust laugh, a radiant smile, a great sense of humor, and an ability to make anyone feel important when he talked to them. For many years he has been a member of Cosmos Club, his beloved Italian-American social club, in Fair Lawn.

Warren is survived by his wife and daughters; his sisters, Diane Miller of Atlantic City, and Rosanna Fox (Michael) of Nashua, New Hampshire; his niece, Jennifer Battista (Brian), her sons Michael and Braedan; his niece and nephew Elizabeth and Matthew Fox; his mother-in-law, Kathy Brown; as well as many treasured family members, in-laws, friends, students, and fellow musicians and performers. He is predeceased by his cherished parents.

Friends are invited to visit with the family from 3 – 7:15 PM on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne.

Due to Covid restrictions and the number of people anticipated that we ask you to please: wear a mask, maintain social distancing, greet the family in a timely fashion, and respect the 7:15 PM conclusion of the public visitation hours.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the upcoming Warren Helms Scholarship Fund, which is currently being established at William Paterson University. More information and details will be posted soon. Thank you.

Coro Lirico – Porter to Piaf Concert

Concert, Video

In December 2017, Coro Lirico under the direction of Warren presented their “Porter to Piaf” concert, showcasing a wide variety of classical and popular songs.

C’est La Vie
“Can-Can” Medley
Chemins De L’Amour
Hymne L’Amout
La Vie en Rose
Les Bicylettes De Belsize
Les Miserables Medley
Non, Je Ne Regrette
Thank Heaven For Little Girls
The Poor People Of Paris
Under Paris Skies
Where Is Your Heart
The Windmills Of Your Mind

A Big Band Valentine, February 2003

Concert, Video

In 2003, Warren had been working at The Barn for six seasons and wanted to give something back, so he put together a big band made up of various players who had made up his pit orchestras, favorite vocalists from shows he had worked on and he developed “A Big Band Valentine” – an evening of standards from the American Songbook to act as a fundraiser for the theatre.

The band featured on reeds, Joa Concalves, Mary Lou Irvine, John Kubowicz, and Carl Sabatino. The low brass were Don Ball, Jon Ferrone, Barbara Garrison and Bill Woodworth. The trumpets were Willy Carmona, Ed Garguilo, John Schumacher, Pete Sciaino, John Schumacher, and Glenn Ware. The rhythm section was Warren on piano, Jason DePope on Bass, Jerry Ficeto on Drums and Frank Digesere on guitar.

The vocalists for the evening were Joan Agosta, D’Angelique Grecco Dopson, Jeff Dopson, Cindy Jung, Jay Mills, Alice Regan Moynahan, Stuart Scheer, Tom Schopper, Larry Wilbur, and Andrea Brown Helms.

The setlist:

1. Opus One – The Band
2. Stardust – The Band
3. It Don’t Mean A Thing – Joan Agosta
  • American Patrol
  • It’s Only a Paper Moon (vocals: Warren Helms)
  • Jumpin’ at the Woodside
  • I Got It Bad (vocals: D’Angelique Grecco)
  • Little Brown Jug
  • All the Things You Are (vocals: Larry Wilbur)
  • Solitude
  • Makin’ Whoopee (vocals: Jay Mills)
  • All of Me
  • Beyond the Sea (vocals: Tom Schopper)
  • Sing Sing Sing (Part 1)
  • Leap Frog
  • Sway (vocals: Jeffrey Dopson)
  • Mean to Me (vocals: Alice Regan Moynahan)
  • You Made Me Love You (vocals: Warren Helms and Barn audience)
  • Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (vocals: Andrea Helms)
  • Pennsylvania 6-5000
  • A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (vocals: Stu Scheer)
  • Chattanooga Choo-Choo
  • Fly Me to the Moon (vocals: Warren Helms)
  • Moonlight Serenade
  • Orange-Colored Sky (vocals: Cindy Jung)
  • I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo (vocals: Cast)
  • In the Mood

A Remembrance


THE BARN THEATRE (MONTVILLE NJ) – It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of our friend and collaborator, Warren Helms.

Warren was a gifted teacher and a brilliant – a TRULY brilliant – musician. And quite simply, he was one of the best musical directors you could ever hope to work with. His talents at the piano spanned so many different genres of music: classical, opera, jazz, big band, musical theatre, and so much more; he was equally as gifted at all of them. He played for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Susan Boyle, Clay Aiken… he played on Broadway… he taught at Manhattan School of Music, Julliard, and William Paterson College… and to our great fortune, he played for and with us here at The Barn Theatre, and we are a better community theatre because of him.

Warren first came to The Barn as Musical Director of our 1998 production of “Man of La Mancha” and since then was MD for an incredible 15 of our mainstage productions, along with numerous big band and Valentine’s Day cabaret special events. Among his many Musical Director credits at The Barn were shows like “A Little Night Music”, “City of Angels”, “Once of This Island”, “Most Happy Fella”, “Kiss Me Kate”, Jekyll & Hyde”, “Cabaret”, and the New Jersey community theatre premier production of “Ragtime.” The pit orchestras that Warren assembled and led were among the best in the land, and that is not just hyperbole. If you were appearing in a Barn musical and Warren was your MD, you could be assured that you were going to be singing in front of one of the best pit orchestras you could hope to hear. And you also knew that Warren was “with you” when you were out on stage and performing; it was like he was connected with you and breathing with you as a singer – always in sync with you, always right there with you at every beat. It was a joy to rehearse a show with Warren; but it was an honor and a privilege to perform one with him.

Our deepest condolences and all our love go out to his treasured wife Andrea, to their beautiful daughters Fiona and Julia, and all of his family and friends.

Godspeed, buddy. You will be sorely missed and are greatly loved.