Fralinger String Band’s 2017 Parade Officers
In 2017, the Fralinger String Band will be led by Captain Scott Wray, Presentation Director Jeff Crompton, Music Director Shawn Decky, and Arranger John Wernega.
Scott Wray, Captain
NYD 2017 will be Scott’s fourth year leading one of the “winningest” Mummers String Bands as Captain of Fralinger. He is a seasoned, twenty-four year veteran of the band, and has paraded as a musician, dancer and marshal.
He has the full support and respect of the members of Fralinger 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, has previously played saxophone with both Fralinger and 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 preparations for New Year’s performances as Captain, Scott takes it all in stride. He calmly says, “I can’t wait to march and compete again 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 23 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with seven 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 and son Jeffy in Wynnewood, PA. Both manage Something Creative LLC, a boutique marketing company and Fuel Cycle Fitness Center based in Ardmore, PA. 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!”
Shawn Decky, Music Director
NYD 2016 will be Shawn’s second year as Music Director of the powerhouse machine that is Fralinger. A third generation mummer, Shawn will be marching in his 28th parade and 20th with Fralinger. Shawn plays saxophone in the band’s dynamic and bombastic Tenor Section, known for their “wall of sound” and graceful technique that drives Fralinger’s musical arrangements. Along with assisting previous Music Directors for many years, Shawn has served as a member of the Costume Committee and Board of Trustees (2001-2013).
Shawn resides in Philadelphia with his wife Alison and son Caden. He works as a Technology Manager for Chubb in Philadelphia and also as an independent Technology Consultant. Shawn enjoys giving as much time as possible to the Fralinger team during the year through performances and fundraisers. Shawn credits his father, Mike, with bringing him to string band rehearsal at age four. “Holding that toy saxophone, sitting next to my Dad, is what made me love Mummery”.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be a member of the Fralinger String Band”. This phrase, uttered by Fralinger legend, Joe Quattrone many years ago has stuck with Shawn throughout his time in Fralinger. Shawn thanks the previous music leadership, Herb Smith, Bill Garton, Warren Rivell, John Wernega and Ken Niewinski for creating and continuing the band’s musical excellence into our 102nd year.
Looking forward to the 2017 NYD performance, Shawn says “the energy, excitement and work ethic of this band is second to none. I cannot be more proud of the men of Fralinger. This band is a big part of my life and seeing it flourish as one solid Team is nothing short of amazing. Win, lose or draw I take immense pride that these gentlemen trust me to fill the shoes of those who came before me. There is no better feeling than that first note on New Year’s morning. The talent in this band is incomparable”.
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 28 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with 22 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.