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About the composer: James Wingerter

James was born in August of 1955 in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. His father was a Presbyterian minister. He was the youngest of five children. All of his siblings were musical, but none of them pursued it professionally, so he did. He began study on the trumpet at the age of nine and had the advantage of singing in a recording choir for Shawnee Press at the age of ten. His mother, having been a competent organist, saw his musical interest and ability and gave him foundational training on the piano. During high school he studied for three summers at the Fred Waring Music Workshops. His father, suffering health problems, took a position in South Fort Pierce, Florida, so he attended two years of college at Indian River Community College followed by three years at Florida State University (Tallahassee), receiving a Bachelor of Music Education degree with an emphasis in Vocal Performance.

James Wingerter

While there James performed leading and secondary roles in "Die Fledermaus," "The King and I," "La Traviata," "Brigadoon," "Gianni Schicchi," "Trial by Jury," "Tales of Hoffmann," and others. His very excellent voice instructor and world-renowned "helden" baritone, Randolph Symonette, was retiring at the same time he graduated. James moved to Yeadon, Pa. (southwest suburban Philadelphia) and taught there for three years while continuing vocal studies with Mr. Symonette in New York. In that time he also studied acting at Villanova University and dance (tap and jazz) in private dance studios.

In the summer of 1979 James visited his Mother in Florida (widowed since 1978) and there met the love of his life. They were married in July of 1980. In 1981 James was hired as Director of Choral Music at Roxbury High School in northern New Jersey. It was a well-established program where the previous director, Bud (Cecil) Beavers, had advanced to Department Head. While there James conducted three performances of "The Messiah" (Handel) with orchestra, one performance of Symphony #9, Movement 4 (Beethoven), three popular music shows, a spring show featuring a one act operetta, and during that time two tours; the first to Oregon and California, the second to Germany, Austria, and Italy including an audience with the Pope (John Paul II) in Rome.

While accomplishing these tasks as a choral director, James was also pursuing a professional singing career, performing the leading tenor roles of Eisenstein in "Die Fledermaus," Ralph Rackstraw in "H.M.S. Pinafore," Frederick in "My Fair Lady," and Fairfax in "Yoeman of the Guard" with a local light opera company. He also did the role of the Leader of the Rebellion in Kurt Weill's "The Ballad of Magna Carta" with Ossie Davis at Lincoln Center in New York.

During all of this time the couple had three children. James estimated to have worked 830 unpaid overtime hours per year. He began to resent the system and chose to leave teaching for Advertising. This was a huge mistake. After a year of job-hopping he went back to teaching at Randolph High School in Randolph, N.J. Since real estate is so very expensive in New Jersey, they ended up buying a home in Pennsylvania and James commuted seventy-five minutes each way for work. Now overwhelmed by his self-made circumstances, James heard from an old college roommate about a Choral Director position open at Colonial High School in Orlando. James took that position August 1986 and remained there until 2004, achieving countless superior ratings for both Show Choirs and Concert Choirs on both District and State levels. He also continued to perform, singing the leading role of Fredrick in "The Pirates of Penzance" with the Central Florida Light Opera Company while continuing vocal training with the world renowned dramatic tenor, Louis Roney.

June 27, 1990 James had a personal revelation experience that permanently changed his life. The family visited Israel for the first time for the "Feast of Sukkot" (a.k.a. "Feast of Booths" or "Tabernacles") sponsored by the International Christian Embassy to Jerusalem that fall. Subsequently, the Lord led them to Fellowship Church; a congregation where Jesus is truly Lord and deep, intimate worship is consistently experienced. The congregation also specifically has identity with Israel. In June 2004 James left teaching to take over the music program for the church. In addition to teaching and leading music, James is composing new music, orchestrating, recording, filming, editing, and producing. More recently he accomplished writing a book entitled "Worship, What Have We Been Missing?" and has been traveling around the United States sharing on the message of the book and helping other congregations consistently experience deep and intimate worship.

Watch a Television Interview of Mr. Wingerter.

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