Fralinger String Band’s 2014 Parade Officers
This year Fralinger String Band will be led by Captain Scott Wray, Presentation Director Jeff Crompton, Music Director Kenny Niewinski, and Arranger John Wernega.
Scott Wray, Captain
NYD 2014 will be Scott’s first year leading one of the “winningest” Mummers String Bands as Captain of Fralinger. He is a seasoned, twenty-one year veteran of the band, and has paraded as a musician, dancer and marshal.
The members of Fralinger elected him because of his continued dedication to the band, its members, families, and friendships with other Mummers’ group, as well as his natural abilities of showmanship and leadership. Scott is a key member of the band’s leadership team, not only performing in front of the band as Captain, but serving on the theme committee since 2006 and coordinating some of the prop construction activities. He plays the saxophone, and over the years has played the alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones on New Year’s Day.
He is part of a very supportive Mummers family who all share the same love and passion of this time-treasured tradition – the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. His wife, Lisa, and children, Madison and Cole, are all very proud of Scott’s new role as Captain and cannot wait to cheer him on this New Year’s Day from the clubhouse at 3rd and Mifflin to City Hall. Scott dreams of the day his son Cole joins him as a marching member of Fralinger. Scott’s Mother, Lorraine, grew up in a family of Mummers. His Father, Bud, is a Fralinger Hall of Fame Marshal, and key architect of prop design and construction. His late brother, Buddy, was an alto saxophonist in Fralinger. His sister Kelly, marches with the Satin Slipper Fancy Brigade, along with his brother-in-law Jim, who is also President there. And Scott’s brother, Chris, plays saxophone with the South Philadelphia String Band.
Scott has served on the Fralinger Board of Trustees (1999-2003) and was awarded Fralinger Man of the Year honors in 2001. He is employed as a union electrician with I.B.E.W. Local 98.
Reflecting on his first New Year’s performing as Captain, Scott takes it all in stride. He calmly says, “I look forward to competing on New Year’s Day, entertaining the crowds, having fun, enjoying the experience of being part of this great organization, and honor of being Captain. I look forward to making my “brothers” proud of me as their parade leader.”
Jeff Crompton, Presentation Director
Jeff Crompton was appointed Presentation Director in August 2010. His responsibilities include developing and integrating the overall production presentation, including band drills, dancer choreography, and props. Much of what Jeff offers as Presentation Director has been instilled in him by observing mummer greats like Presentation Director Emeritus, Mike Rayer and by watching many marching band competitions and other productions.
Jeff has over 20 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with four years at Fralinger. Jeff plays the alto sax, but has played several other instruments. During the year, Jeff participates in band functions and is always willing to dedicate his time to help better the organization.
Jeff resides with his wife Jen in Havertown, PA. Both manage Something Creative LLC, a startup marketing boutique. His father Jerry Crompton is a member of Fralinger and his brothers, Jim and Jerry are members of the Avalon String Band.
Jeff earned a Bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University. He currently works at SEI as an Internal Service Director.
Regarding NYD performances, Jeff says “I look forward to marching with the great group of men that make up this organization, playing great music, and performing for the people of Philadelphia. That is the essence of being a mummer and a member in a string band such as Fralinger. Winning the competition comes second to those things….but not by much!”
Kenny Niewinski, Music Director
Kenny was elected to his position in 2012, after serving as Assistant Music Director for 10 years under former Music Directors Herb Smith and John Wernega. Being Music Director requires a year-round commitment, and Kenny’s responsibilities include rehearsing and preparing the band musically for not only New Year’s Day, but every parade, concert, and special event in which the band performs. Kenny takes full advantage of the band’s musical skills and capabilities, leveraging his Assistant Music Director, Dave Zagorski, former Music Directors Herb and John, and music consultant Bill Garton Sr., who was also his private music teacher.
Kenny has been playing the saxophone for 30 years and has been involved with Fralinger since the age of 6, when his father, John joined the band in 1979. He experienced his first First Prize in 1987, marching with his father and his brothers, John and Kevin. Always feeling fortunate to have grown up in the band, he is fully aware of the expectations and demands that come with continuing to develop the well-recognized “Fralinger Sound”.
Kenny resides in Blackwood, NJ with his wife Stacy, son Brandon, and daughter Olivia. He grew up in South Philadelphia, where his parents still reside, only blocks from the Fralinger club. Kenny has been employed as a union electrician since 1997, working as a Foreman for most of his career.
Kenny says, “the Fralinger String Band has been an integral part of my life. I feel very lucky to have grown up in such a great organization filled with such remarkable people. They have helped shaped me into the person I am today”. Kenny is especially grateful and respectful to all the members that have come before him to establish the Fralinger legacy. Lastly, the one thing he believes above all else: “it’s always about and for the band!”
John Wernega, Arranger
John Wernega wrote his first musical score for Fralinger for the 2002 Mummers Parade. On Music Director Emeritus Herb Smith’s retirement in 2003, John was elected Music Director. In addition to writing the musical arrangements for each New Year’s production, John is responsible for selecting music that is appropriate for each show, as well as making it challenging for the entire ensemble.
John has over 25 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with 19 years at Fralinger. In 2012, John was inducted into the prestigious String Band Hall of Fame. He has recently relinquished his position as Music Director, but continues as band arranger for the New Year’s Day performance.
He primarily plays the banjo and accordion with the band, but has many other musical and artistic talents, such as photography. John is involved in the Philadelphia Ukrainian community, and has sung and performed music in Ukrainian choirs and at festivals.
John earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education at Rowan College of New Jersey and a Master’s degree at Westminster Choir College. He teaches instrumental and choral music in the Quinton Township School in Salem County, New Jersey, and he is the choir director at Our Lady of Hope parish in Blackwood, New Jersey.