You can call him Tony Terrific, though I know he’ll wince at that. 52-year-old Anthony DiLacqua is a great Mummer and Philadelphian. He’s been a Mummer for 23 years, 21 of them playing saxophone with Greater Kensington String Band. Tony is now Director of Security at SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown. Before that, he served in the Philadelphia Police Department for 29 years. He rose to the rank of Chief Inspector on the force. He joined SugarHouse before they opened and has been a vital part of the early success of the entertainment operation. SugarHouse Casino General Manager Wendy Hamilton says Tony is wonderful with employees and customers. In Wendy’s words, “He’s terrific.” (Thus, my “Tony Terrific.”) Tony Dilacqua had to skip last year’s parade because SugarHouse had just opened but he plans to strut with GK this New Year’s Day, with cell phone in pocket in case he’s needed. But, Tony oversees a large security force, coordinates with the Pennsylvania State Police, who are on site, and with the Philadelphia Police who patrol the neighborhood and the property along Columbus Boulevard. When you’re with Tony you see a guy who’s great with people, pays attention to detail and is very serious about preventing problems. You can see more about him tonight on PHL17 News at Ten.
Jerry Crompton is a fine sax player and he was a great music director for Avalon String Band. Tough. He was tough. Jerry is one of the most recent inductees into the String Band Hall of Fame. Son, Jim, has carried on well in his place as Music Director since 2007, while dad still marches. Younger Jerry is also in Avalon and is showing there’s no drop-off in quality with later versions of the Crompton model. And then, of course, there is Jeff, who is formerly of Avalon, and lately of Fralinger. Jeff is Presentation Director of one of the finest bands to walk up the street. But, more importantly, all the Cromptons are prime examples of the quality of talent, the dedication to Mummery and the great families that are the Mummers. They touched many bands, starting with Aqua. There’s Polish American, Ferko and more that they were directly with or influenced over the years. But the biggest connection is Avalon. It was an honor for me to speak with Jerry and the boys. In this photo the late, “Big Ger”, towers over Jerry and the kids. I talk with the Cromptons Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day, at 11:30 a.m. on NBC10 at Issue. The program also features the great Mummers Chorus, singing Christmas songs, and I highlight the story of Julia Parmisciano (go Jesters!) and Philadelphia’s Firefighter of the Year, Ed Verbitski, of Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars. Happy Holidays everyone! And remember, coverage of the 2012 SugarHouse Casino Mummers parade begins at 9 a.m. New Year’s Day with “Breakfast with the Mummers.”