South Jersey School goes ‘Old School’

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Data pix.

Salem County, New Jersey--

This next story is about the power of music and the inspiration of a Mummer. Our Steve Highsmith says some young students are finding joy in an old sound.

An unusual sound...

(continued sound of barbershop style singing)
...pores from Quinton Township School in Salem County, New Jersey.



(teacher:)  'Ready go. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.'

44 year-old John Wernega teaches barbershop singing to 3rd graders up to 8th graders.

(John Wernega)    'Barbershop is 4 part acapella singing.'

(John Wernega)'One of the biggest features is that melody line is not the highest voice you would normally hear in a choir.'

Though a teacher for 21 years, Wernega is well known for another kind of entertainment.

(Sound of Fralinger String Band)

He`s music arranger for the often 1st prize winning Fralinger String Band.

(Steve Highsmith)  'And now, music teacher John Wernega`s artistry has his students, the Wildcat Harmonizers,' (the students sing their first names) 'harmonizing.'

(Sung:  harmonizing.)

Harmonizing as the youngest in the ensemble is 8-year-old Seven Stites.

(Seven Stites) 'I have a simple connection that connects me right to music and make feel really good.'

(Jacob Lapp) 'It`s just fun.'

13-year-old Jacob Lapp, who is blind, says it`s a lot of work, but worth it.

(Jacob Lapp)  'It`s a challenge.'

(Jacob Lapp) '...all the moves and stuff. It`s pretty cool. It`s really cool.'

(sound of barbershop style singing)

And now, the Wildcat Harmonizers hope to compete in late January in the big Midwinter Barbershop Convention in Reno, Nevada.

(John Wernega) 'It`s the dream of a lifetime.'

(Jacob Lapp)  'It`s really exciting.  Like I`m really excited about it.'

(Seven Stites) 'We`re not going all the way to Reno, Reno and not win.'

Sound of end of song 'Mary Lou.'

In Salem County, I`m Steve Highsmith.


To get to the Reno convention the students need support. They've started a gofundme site. You can go to and search 'barbershop performance trip'. OR CLICK HERE -->GOFUNDME: Barbershop Performance Trip 




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