Newfangled Four

Photo courtesy of Kathy Tickner

Barbershop comedy group Newfangled Four (left to right: Joey Buss, Jackson Niebrugge, Jake Tickner and Ryan Wisniewski) will perform Saturday, Aug. 3, at Excelsior Middle School’s Kathy Flynn Tickner Theater to raise funds for Byron Union School District arts programs.

A fundraiser featuring professional musicians, many of whom are Byron and Brentwood school district alumni, will take place at Excelsior Middle School’s Kathy Flynn Tickner Theater on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m.

The show, sponsored by the nonprofit Volunteer Parents of the Arts Club, features alumnus Jake Tickner’s award-winning barbershop comedy group, Newfangled Four, and other professional musicians of all ages who all have roots in East County. An afterglow party – with more performances and food – will immediately follow next door at Campos Family Vineyards until 10 p.m.

The Newfangled Four’s genre, barbershop comedy, is a modern spin on an old favorite and offers something for everyone. The barbershop style offers nostalgia for the older crowd, while the comedy draws in the younger audience. The quartet, based in southern California, frequently performs to sold-out venues and tours all over the world. They recently placed sixth at the 2019 World and International Barbershop Competition in Salt Lake City.

“It’s just really one of the fastest growing musical genres for young people today,” said Kathy Tickner, CEO of VPAC and the event’s organizer. “It sounds kind of quirky and weird, but it is something else.”

All money raised from the show supports funding for the arts and teacher grants for classroom supplies and arts curriculum in the Byron School District. Their fundraising goal is $10,000.

Tickner said the fundraiser was borne of a goal to showcase homegrown musical talent in a way that dually benefits school arts programs. As an art and theater teacher for 32 years at Excelsior Middle School, she knows how important the arts are for students, and the funding is just not there. The goal is to give each teacher $200 for supplies before the 2019-20 school year.

“There is data for the last 50 years that [shows when] participating in the arts, you score higher on tests. You have better social skills, better retention skills, memory and conversational skills. Especially the social skills aspect — it gives kids more confidence; it teaches them to collaborate and get along better with others. Kids who participate in the arts and have to collaborate with each other and communicate through an instrument or a dance or a song, they do so much better ... with employers; it’s what colleges want. When you’re participating in a theater production or a dance production or a band or choir, you’re gaining so much more than just the grade.”

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $20 for those under 18 and can be purchased at Ticket prices include the show, music and food at the afterglow party. Wine, beer, soda and water will be available for purchase.

For more information on the Newfangled Four, visit See one of their music videos at