December 13, 2005

NW Christmas Party

Staff Writer
NORTH WILDWOOD – The city kicked off its 2006 centennial a month early by introducing Mr. and Mrs. 1906 at the city’s annual Christmas party on Saturday. Decked out in turn of the century style were Nancy Cellini, a former wardrobe dresser for the stars in Philadelphia, and Jim MacMillan, the voice of radio station WCMC, who will attend the city’s birthday celebrations throughout 2006. Their costumes were created by Tish Jacoby of Lower Township, and they’ll be donning them at special events throughout the year. As it turns out their first appearance at the Christmas party at Anglesea firehouse was a record-breaking success, according to event co-chair Joe Quattrone
“It was the biggest party ever,” he said, estimating that 300 local kids and their families squeezed into the firehouse for the festivities.
“My God, I thought the kids were coming in from Kansas,” he said.
And why wouldn’t they? The event featured free hot dogs, pizza and treats, entertainment and a chance to get an early sighting of Santa Claus.
Magican Chad Juras also performed for the crowd. Juras, 17, of Ocean City, has performed for audiences across the United States. He recently performed for President George Bush and First lady Laura Bush at the White House, and at the party he wowed North Wildwood’s honorary first couple, while entertaining the children as they awaited the arrival of the big guy.
Every child who attended the party was allowed to choose an early Christmas gift from the hundreds that were donated by local businesses, and 26 very lucky kids won new bicycles, as well.
The party also gave the couple of the century a chance to meet and greet their 21st century neighbors at a holiday party that has been a community tradition for many years.
“They are quite an item” Quattrone said.
As the couple circulated at the event, they listened to Christmas carols sung by the duet Hart to Hart, and they even seemed to enjoy less traditional numbers like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” You can bet they never heard that on their old Victrola. Quattrone said the event is an annual collaborative effort coordinated by himself, Alex Moukas, and a group of 15-20 volunteers, many from the Anglesea fire company.
Volunteers from Crest Savings Bank help out as well by decorating the hall for the event.
“This year they bought us a new Christmas tree,” Quatronne’s wife Peg said.
Refreshments for the event are donated by local businesses, as well, Peg said.
North Wildwood centennial organizers say that the inaugural visit of Mr. and Mrs. 1906 marks the beginning of an exciting year for the city.
Events planned for the upcoming year include a grand parade, an old time picnic at 8th Avenue athletic field, a street festival on Olde New Jersey Avenue, a reenactment of the turn-of–the-century auto races that occurred on Central Avenue, an aerial photo of the city’s residents on the beach, and a time capsule.
“And it’s all free to residents,” Quattrone said.
Before bidding adieu North Wildwood’s now-famous couple had their picture taken with departing Mayor Aldo Palombo and Mayor-elect Bill Henfey.
The couple made a second appearance at a second community event last weekend. They rode on the front of a decorated tram car in the Christmas Parade on Sunday night. The car was filled with North Wildwood residents who had gotten together to celebrated the Christmas season and the 100th birthday of their community.
The centennial Tram Car took second prize in the parade, but the real prize was the celebration of community.
Together participants sipped hot chocolate and sang Christmas carols, accompanied by Quattrone on a banjo, and Mr. and Mrs. 1906 joined in the fun.
“Sometimes you have to be from somewhere else to appreciate all of this,” Quattrone said.

Glenwood Choir

Staff Writer
WILDWOOD – For years, budget restrictions nearly silenced the music program here. But last year a $100,000 grant from the Byrne Foundation resuscitated the district’s band, and the sounds of music could again be heard in the middle school and high school hallways. Now, the influence of that seed money is being felt by some of the district’s youngest students, as well.
This fall, through the efforts of music director, John Hoffman, the echoes of music are being heard at the Glenwood Avenue School. In the early morning hours, when many of their classmates are still asleep, more than 60 third-, fourth- and fifth- graders are already out of bed and on their way to the school’s morning music enrichment program.
Formal graded music instruction is provided during the school day by classroom teachers here. They follow a curriculum based largely on the history of music and the biographies of famous composers, Hoffman said. But the school wanted to provide something more.
Students enrolled in the elementary school morning music enrichment program do not receive grades for their participation, but instead they receive instruction for almost an hour in the morning on the fundamentals in reading music, harmonizing and singing together in a choir, Hoffman said.
“We weren’t sure at first how it was going to work out,” the school’s principal, Dr. Herbert C. Fredericks said, “but the response has been overwhelming.”
According to Fredericks, nearly a third of students at each grade level have chosen to participate.
“We are very pleased with the turn-out,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman worked in the Glenwood Avenue School’s music program in the Eighties before the program was cut, and he said it was nice to come back to work with the younger students again.
“It’s kind of a feeder program for the middle school and the high school programs,” Frederick said, and it levels the playing field a little bit island-wide, since both Crest Memorial and Margaret Mace have an elementary school music instructor, a choir and a band.
“It gives them an advantage when they get to high school,” Frederick said.
Frederick said the number of tardy students has decreased with the introduction of the morning music enrichment program, and participating students get a boost in self-esteem when they realize that each of them play a part in the success of the production.
“They get the opportunity to feel important and to be a part of something,” he said.
The elementary school choir gave its first public performance last week for the Home and School association. They were scheduled to perform for Glenwood Avenue students last Friday, but Hoffman became ill with walking pneumonia and the concert was rescheduled for Tuesday. Tonight, Wednesday, at 7 p.m., they are scheduled to perform in a holiday concert at Wildwood High School in a program that features the high school and middle school choir and the new band.
“It is a good experience for them to play with the high school choir,” Frederick said. “It’s a great way to introduce them to music.”
And according to Frederick, the whole elementary school derives benefits from the new program as well. On cold and windy days when students gather in the all-purpose room before school starts, they get to watch their classmates in the music program practice Christmas carols and gospel tunes together.
Their classmates are very responsive to the early morning entertainment, he said, and “It’s a great way to start the day.”