976-SING - Version 2

After 976-SING's return from their first appearance in Las Vegas, Rex, Ron and Wayne began to notice that John was showing signs of stress.John had recently received custody of his son and his obligations weighed heavy on his schedule. The other three looked at the situation as serious as their bookings were becoming more frequent and commitment was paramount to their success. It was clear where John's commitment would lie given the choice of traveling with the quartet, or taking care of his son.The four members gathered to discuss the situation. At the end of a very emotional meeting, John Cox left 976-SING.

Sing (25)

Rex, Ron and Wayne were now left with another decision.Would they audition for another baritone or continue on as a “barbershop trio?”Ron had already begun introducing his guitar in several of the group’s numbers.They decided to work on arranging their material for three-part harmony and worked with Stephen Sachs on new staging and presentation.In May 1989, they premiered as a trio at the Normandie Casino for a limited run.The new format worked and the new version of 976-SING took hold.

In September, the group was hired to appear in the sitcom, Chicken Soup, starring Jackie Mason and Lynn Redgrave.There was a bit of a snag, however.The casting director wanted a quartet and did not realize the group had changed.Asking John wasn't an option, but Ron had a solution.He contacted Arthur "Sparky" Johnson from The Undertones quartet and asked him to fill in as the fourth member.Sparky agreed and 976-SING was a quartet again for the one taping.Ironically, Sparky could hardly be seen on camera as the group was crammed in a doorway (see clip here).

At the close of 1989, the trio had racked up a string of successes with appearances in additional venues that included their premier at the famous Ice House in Pasadena.However, 976-SING was about to receive its next big challenge:the loss of another member.

976-SING 2012