Who’s Marching?

Irish American String Band IS marching.  After hearing rumors that IA was not going up the street, I called John Kates, Founder and President of Irish American String Band, and he tells me they are definitely going up the street.  They have the membes and they have the costumes, says John. 

Cahill’s Fancy Brigade, however, is taking a sabbatical.  The Fancy Brigade has decided to skip the 2010 parade for financial reasons.  Fancy Brigade bylaws allow for 1 year off.

I got a chance to see a couple of bands at rehearsal this weekend and they are looking good!  Folks are working ’round the clock to finish the costumes, especially the Captain’s suits, and to fine tune the drills and compositions.

6 Responses

  1. Years Day without the mummers!!!! NO WAY it not New Years.

  2. I now live in upstate New York. I used to live in the Philadelphia area. I was a member of several string bands for 40+ years. I was a musical director, president, assistant drill instructor. My father was a mummer with string bands for over 25 years. Over the years I’ve seen the mummers parade go down hill. I understand that at some point the parade could stop. I come back every New Years to see the parade and friends that still march. I have thought about it and would like to suggest a few things.
    1st every group should be limited to the number of people who march. I know the string bands can only have 64 musicians. What about the comics and fancy. They should also be limited.
    2nd If the fancy and comics started at Broad and Washington at a certain time and have the string bands and brigades start from Marconi plaza at the same time. Hopefully that would shorten the time of the parade.
    3rd I know with the string bands a lot of people use to come out and watch them perform, but now the string bands walk past everybody because of the time factor. Maybe at the odd blocks the odd number string bands could at least stop and play a song or two. They do not have to do their whole routine and at the even number blocks the even number string bands could do the same. They could still do their routines at the hospitals like they always do.
    4th The string bands need to go back to the basics. Over the years there were many bands but because of high costs they had to disband. Why not put a cap on the amount they can spend. It use to be you would design and build your own props. They came up with ideas to make their own suits. This is not a Broadway play. It was great to see how people came up with ideas and built on their ideas. It should be about imagination and creativity. Bands do not have to spend a lot of money to be creative. The costumers and professional dance instructors make a fortune from the bands.If each band had a limit they could spend, like maybe as an example $30,000 dollars. If the bands used band members and family members to help with the suits and props and even the drill, It would go back to being family oriented and just maybe it would be fun again. They could judge the bands by music, originality, creativity and how the suit and music fit the theme. There is no ultimate surprise at the judging area anymore because they come in and set up all the props before the band begins.
    I hope something can be done because this has been a Philadelphia tradition. I don’t care who the mayor is, but apparently he is not a true Philadelphian. Maybe he’ll want to move Billy Penn to another state or even the Liberty Bell. Get with it, TASTYKAKE, PHILADELPHIA SOFT PRETZELS, PHILLY CHEESESTEAKS and the MUMMERS should always be.

    A former mummer from NewYork


    • I am not sure if we are related or not. My grandfather was a mummer who passed away directly after a parade when he was a mummer. I have been told that back then they had a 4th of July Mummer’s parade as well. I do not know my father’s side of the family, but I am sure there aren’t too many Butz’s around!!

      • What was your grandfather’s name? My mother’s uncle was John Butz. He was a mummer in the 30’s & 40’s. His wife’s name was Marie.

  3. Hello Steve

    Thank you for the great coverage of the parade. You and your coanchors put on a class act.

    Have a safe and prosperous New Year.
    Dan C.

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