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Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Summer Camp Open House Friday, June 1

BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Summer Open House on Friday, June 1 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. The open house will feature demo classes centered around summer camp offerings and light refreshments will be served. Campers can take advantage of a 5% tuition discount on all camps by registering at the Open house or before the Early Registration deadline on June 1. For more information visit

For kids ages 4.5 to 15, Wharton’s summer camps span a continuous spectrum of performing arts programming, from beginning music and theater explorations to intensive musical theater camps as well as instrument-specific and orchestral experiences. Families have the flexibility of enrolling in one-week programs as well as multi-week. In addition to summer camps, Wharton’s Performing Arts School continues to offer private lessons on all instruments and voice. Summer is a great time for students to make huge progress on their instrument, or to learn a new one. 

The Summer Camp Open House will feature Story Time: A Young Children’s Book Reading with author Jennifer Brown Stone. Stone will read her children’s book, Mirabel and the Magical Music Shop, at 6:30 p.m. Also featured is Magical Musical Adventures for children ages 3.5 to 4.5 with Margaret Persing. Explore music, experience fun, and take your imagination to the woodlands, the stars, and the ocean in this half-hour demo at 7:00 p.m. Additional  demos include Theater Explorers with Timothy Maureen Cole, Music Explorers with Aurora Mendez, and Hip Hop Dance with Nia Jackson. View the entire Open House schedule below. For more information, call 908-790-0700.

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Summer Camp Open House Schedule

5:30-8:30 p.m. Student Services in Welcome Lobby

5:30 p.m. Tour of Facilities
Musical Theater Demo with Timothy Cole: PAS Theater
Music Explorers Demo with Aurora Mendez: Room 22

6:00 p.m. Tour of Facilities
Hip Hop Demo with Nia Jackson: Room 13 (Dance Studio)
Music Explorers Demo with Aurora Mendez: Room 22

6:30 p.m. Tour of Facilities
Young Children’s Book Reading with Author Jennifer Brown Stone: Room 22
Drama Demo with Lilli Markey: PAS Theater

7:00 p.m. Tour of Facilities
Early Childhood Demo with Margaret Persing: Room 22
Hip-Hop Demo with Nia Jackson: Room 13 9Dance Studio)

7:30 p.m. Tour of Facilities
Theater Explorers Demo with Allie Arnold: PAS Theater
8:00 pm Tour of Facilities

*Light refreshments will be served throughout the evening in the Conference Room.

Margaret Persing holds a Master of Music degree in Classroom Music from Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from St. Olaf College. Former NJ Director and Teacher of MARY ANN HALL’S MUSIC FOR CHILDREN & Beyond™ for 12 years, she currently teaches OUT OF THE BOX MUSIC™, a new branch of MUSIC FOR CHILDREN. Persing grew up in a musical family and studied violin and piano from an early age. She fell in love with choral singing while in high school choir under the baton of Dr. James Jordan, now of Westminster Choir College. While at St. Olaf College, Persing spent three years performing and touring with the St. Olaf Choir. She also played violin in the St. Olaf Chamber Orchestra. She has sung with the Pro Arte Chamber Singers of Connecticut and the Harmonium Choral Society of Morristown, NJ. She is currently a violin soloist and part-singer/soloist at Garden State Church where she also conducts the children’s choir. Persing believes that music is essential to the well-being of the whole child, that every child is born with music intelligence, and that the child is the most important instrument through which music flows and grows.
Jennifer Brown Stone, author of the children’s book, Mirabel and the Magical Music Shop, lives in Berkeley Heights and is a local playwright, producer, dramaturg, and actor. She recently wrote an Off-Broadway play, The Diorama at the Lion Theatre. Other regional work includes Fefu and her friends (Producer), Broadway Cabaret (Producer), and as an actor in Big River, Urinetown, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Robber BrideGroom, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and Evita. Ms. Stone has a Master of Arts degree in Theatre from Villanova University. She is founder and CEO of Fantasia Creative Co., a production and marketing company, and Juliet's Confession, a theatrical workshop devoted to the development and production of new theatrical works by and for women. She has worked for NBC’s television production, “The Marriage Ref,” and has held positions in marketing with an extensive background in advertising. She is a member of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Women's Association and volunteers for many organizations supporting women and children. She supports The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and The Connection for Women and Children, both in Summit. She is a member of The Newcomer's Club of Summit, Berkeley Heights, and New Providence and is on the Events Board of the local Mom's Club. She is a member of the Summit Junior Fortnightly Club and is co-chairing the Tot-Trot this spring in Summit. Stone is involved in several philanthropic organizations in the tri-state area, including Special Gifts, a non-profit that helps special needs young adults find jobs and career opportunities, and Bedside Poetry, an organization that helps children in hospitals cope with illnesses by writing poetry for a magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her two-year old son, Eliot, baby Lucas, and Watson, the dog.

Wharton Summer Camps

Music Explorers
Ages 4.5-7
Full Day 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Morning Session 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Theater Explorers
Ages 7-13
Full Day 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Morning Session 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m

Audition Workshop 
Ages 12-18
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Optional add-on 1:00-3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday

Hip Hop Dance Camp
Ages 7-11
9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Triple Threat Musical Theater Intensive
Ages 7-11
9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Show: The Aristocats

Summer Musical Theater Company

Ages 10-15
9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Show: Once On This Island Jr.

Drama Kids

Ages 7-11
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Show: James and the Giant Peach

String Camp

Ages 8-15
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
This camp takes place at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence.

Jam Band Camp
Ages 8-15
1:00-5:00 p.m.
This camp takes place at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence.

New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestral Camp
Grades 4th–9th as of September 2017
This camp takes place at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence.

New Jersey Youth Symphony Junior Winds Camp
Grades 3-8 as of September 2017
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
This camp takes place at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.


Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.


Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, low-tuition musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. Students study a primary instrument (violin, cello, viola, bass, clarinet, flute, trumpet, or percussion) and participate in ensemble practice and instrumental sectionals. Students perform frequently for the school and community. PMP also offers a Saturday Community Music Program which includes a city-wide orchestra, intergenerational choir, and an Afro-Fusion percussion ensemble. PMP now serves almost 300 students in grades 1-8 from five Paterson Public Schools including the Community Charter School of Paterson, School 1, School 26, School 15, and Norman S. Weir Elementary School. For more information, visit


Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.

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