Fralinger String Band’s 2012 Parade Officers
This year Fralinger String Band will be led by Captain Thomas D’Amore, Music Director and Arranger John Wernega, and Presentation Director Jeff Crompton.
Thomas D’Amore, Captain
Thomas officially joined the band in September 2000 as an alto saxophone player. His first year as a costumed performer was 2002 where he debuted as a dancer. For the past 9 years, Thomas played his saxophone during the year and performed as a dancer on New Year’s Day. He was elected Captain in March 2009, following Bill Bowen’s retirement after 27 consecutive years of leadership as the “winningest” String Band Captain in Mummers history. Needless to say, Thomas is excited about the opportunity to continue Fralinger’s winning ways. The entire D’Amore Family will also lend their support as Mom Karen D’Amore cheers her sons Thomas, Anthony III, Christopher, and husband Anthony Jr. on New Year’s Day.
Thomas’ election as Captain is a major accomplishment. In his first parade as Captain at 21 years old, Thomas became the second-youngest captain in Fralinger history behind Joseph A. Ferko (1915-1921). He also became one of only a handful of Captains in String Band history to win first prize in his very first year as Captain, taking home first prize honors in the 2010 New Years Day Parade, also making him the youngest to ever achieve such an honor.
Thomas has plenty of support as he leads the talented Fralinger organization of 150+ members to achieving an unprecedented ninth-consecutive first prize.
“I continue to enjoy the challenge of leading a great organization and being part of something very special. Fralinger has many great members, musicians and marshals, who dedicate their time and effort to produce a spectacular show. I am honored and excited to be part of the Fralinger experience”.
Happy New Year!
John Wernega, Music Director and Arranger
John Wernega wrote his first musical score for Fralinger for the 2002 Mummers Parade. On Music Director Emeritus Herbie Smith’s retirement in 2003, John was elected Music Director. In addition to writing the musical arrangements for each New Years 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 23 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with 17 years at Fralinger. He primarily plays the banjo and accordion with the band, but has many other musical and artistic talents, such as photography.
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.
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 18 years of experience as a String Band Mummer, with two 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!”