Freddie King’s legacy in Garry Warlow’s attitude

Warlow helps Neshaminy High School present The Music Man


Alaina Kass

Garry Warlow instructing Barbershop Quartet members Tyler Stacherski, Cullen McCormick, and Chris Simcox.

The Neshaminy High School Drama and Vocal Music Department have been vigorously rehearsing for the past few months in order to present The Music Man. Both the cast and crew have worked incredibly hard to put on such a show, but the teachers themselves must be highlighted, one in particular being Garry Warlow.

Warlow was a music educator at Neshaminy High School for 25 years, directing the NHS Men’s Choir for 20 of those years. However, in his free time, he has worked steadily at mastering the barbershop style, a type of singing that is identified by its tight harmonies, for over 40 years.

When Warlow overheard that NHS was doing The Music Man this year, he was eager to help. His passion for the style of singing was prominent to both Mrs. Nichols and several of the students he met. Some students even went into detail about his passion for music, one, in particular, being cast member Quinn Goldberg. 

  “His passion adds to us being able to connect more, and it’s easier for us to learn,” Goldberg mentioned 

 Another cast member, Chris Simcox, had a similar opinion on Warlow’s spirit. 

“I think that the passion that he brings is definitely a breath of fresh air,” Simcox stated. 

When speaking to Warlow about the barbershop quartet he has been training for the last few months, his love for what he does is very apparent. So much love, in fact, that he volunteered hours of his time to this production without taking a single cent in return. Hearing from Warlow himself, it is clear that it isn’t just his morals that motivate him, but the legacy of an old friend of his. 

Freddie King is a known name in the barbershop world, teaching former  Baltimore Opera singer Mike Row. Warlow went into detail about his friendship with King and how it taught him something that truly stuck. “Now you’ve gotta know that Freddie King is an Icon in the Barbershop Harmony Society, and I said to him, ‘Would you coach my quartet?’ and he said yes. We went to his house, and he coached my quartet.  I said, ‘What do I owe you?’ and he said, ‘Nothing’- and that touched me,” Warlow remarked.

People’s passion for spreading the joy of music is easily contagious. Soon after this experience with King, Garry Warlow was eager to pass on his legacy and volunteer his time to spread his love of music. 

“I couldn’t even think for a second of taking a dime for it,” Warlow explained.

The love in the room is transparent through hearing the quartet and observing Warlow working with these eight incredibly talented students. You see King’s presence and legacy in the room, being carried on with the tone of Warlow’s voice as he reminds the students of their notes. 

“This is me taking Freddie’s legacy into the next generation, and that’s why I’m doing it,” Warlow expressed.

The amazing chemistry established between the students who love working with a teacher who loves what he is teaching is truly inspiring and will forever leave a mark on them. Cast member Cullen McCormick describes this experience beautifully.

“He really opens his heart and soul to us… he bears his soul, and we listen,” McCormick mentioned.

While the audience sat back and watched the NHS production of The Music Man, it may not be impossible to truly understand the work that went behind the scenes to put it all together. But that work will never be forgotten, especially by cast member Jacob Rice. “Just the connection that we had, and how much fun we have in that room, it’s just a lifelong thing that I will always remember,” Rice said. 

King’s legacy will always be remembered.