The Gathering of Legends Past & Future

It’s how I see every Mummers gathering and so it was this past weekend when I attended 3 events, the Wench Brigade Association Banquet, as well as Golden Sunrise Fancy Club’s 50th Anniversary Banquet, and the annual

Courtesy Sharon Merlino-Kurczewski

Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Congratulations to the Lucas family and all involved with Golden Sunrise, continuing the Fancy tradition that brings beauty to Broad Street each New Year’s Day. 

Congratulations to Cara Liom’s Jimmy Daniels, O’Malley’s Ed Smith, “Monk” Bryson of the Bryson Brigade, Stanley Visack, Jr., of Riverfront, “Chily” McQuilkin of Joey Howlett, Jr., Saints entering the Wench’s Hall of Fame and Brian Giffear being named the Pirates’ 2010 Man of the Year.  It was great seeing  “Monk” doing so much better.

Congratulations to Fralinger String Band and Captain Thomas D’Amore, honored at the PMSBA gathering at the Union League for their First Prize finishes on New Year’s Day.  I served as Master of Ceremonies for the awards. Aqua String Band won for most creative and most improved string band.  Some great  Mummers were also inducted into the String Band Association Hall of Fame.

Courtesy Brian Hamburg

As is tradition, current Hall of Famers come up front and welcome the new inductees.  (For the record, though he may one day be admitted, the Durning Duck was not inducted. In his dreams he was there. No truth to the rumor that was looking for assistance from one of the attorneys in the room.)  The real inductees?  Joe Leso and Joe Bujonowski, both of Polish American SB, were inducted. Also entering, the great choreographer, designer, and all around witty fellow, Dennis Quaile.  Two good guys, Donald Reeves and Al Koenig, were inducted into the Old Timers Hall of Fame.  There was one other person admitted to the Hall of Fame and for only the second time in String Band history, the person inducted was  not a past or current member of a club.  Congressman Bob Brady was inducted for his years of support for the Mummers and the New Year’s Day Parade.

Vice-President and General Manager of myphl17 Vince Giannini presented the Viewers Choice Award to Polish American Sring Band.  The Union League honored the band, too.

Unity and Fun at 2nd and Washington

On a unusually but pleasantly warm early spring night, Mummers gathered outside the Mummers Museum Saturday evening ahead of the annual New Years Shooters and Mummers Association Banquet.  President Bob Shannon had prepared a wonderful lineup for recognition and former Durning Captain and NYSMA officer Jerry LaRosa was primed to honor the Hall of Famers.

Carm & John

The good feelings then flowed inside as members of the Comic, Fancy, Wench Brigade and String Band Divisions gathered as a large family with great talk, food and dancing.  The night also honored the top finishers in the 2010 parade and installed new members in the Halls of Fame.   Jim Dotzenroth and Joe D’Urso, both of Goodtimers Comic Club, were welcomed, respectively, into the Old Timer’s Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame.

Michelle & Gabrielle

John, Palma & Deb

The generations of Mummers were well represented, from teens to the folks that have, well, been wearing feathers and sequins for awhile.  1st Prize recognition was also extended to Bryson NYB and Ed Bryson in the Wench Brigade Division and to Hog Island and the Hog’s Captain, Kenny Medeiros.  Murray Comic Club and Murray Captain Dennis Pellegrino were honored for their 1st Prize finishes.  It was a festive evening with Mummers united for a good time and a common purpose.

Jessica & Rich

Rusty Martz and the late Frank Conforti were honored for their entrance into the Hall of Fame from the Fancy Division.  Dennis Quaile, Joe Bujonowski and Joe Leso were honored for their admittance into the Hall from the String Band Division.  Don Reeves and Al Koneig are Old Timer’s Hall of Fame entrants this year in the String Band Division.  The NYSMA Banquet honored Fralinger String Band for its 1st Prize in 2010, the band’s 8th in a row, and honored Fralinger Captain Thomas D’Amore, for his 1st Prize finish. 

Karen & Thomas

 It was a great moment when Thomas and Anthony, Thomas’ father, who has been in the band for  decades and got to march with his Captain son this year, came up on behalf of the band to accept the 1st Prize recognition from the Association.  I want to extend as well appreciation to Tom’s mother, Karen.   A special honor went to George Badey, of Fralinger, and an officer with the String Band Association.  George received the Heller Cup Award, named after the late Al Heller, who was as much as anyone the heart and soul of Mummery.

Caution: Strut in Progress

I’m ready for spring.   The whole long-cold, water-logged region is starting to utter a big sigh.  It must be what that first moment after getting out of prison feels like.  Well, anyway, as enjoyable as winter can be, we’ve served the sentence and we’re set for a Phanatic good time.  And, there is also much strutting in progress, too.  I look forward to the New Years Shooters and Mummers Association awards banquet this weekend at the Museum.  The following weekend the Wench Brigade Division has its banquet and the next day, Sunday, the String Band Association breaks bread and hands out trophies.   Meanwhile, the String Bands are making summer plans and putting meat on the bones of their themes.  Below are themes approved for most of the bands.  I’ll update the others listed as TBA as they inform me their theme has been approved, but it gives Mummers fans an idea what the bands are working on and what New Year’s Day, 2011, will look and sound like.   Here they are in scheduled 2011 Order of March.

 1.   Pennsport——————“Marching With the Mummers”

2.   Fralinger——————-“Stagefright”

3.   Woodland——————“A Bayou Blast”

4.   Broomall——————“Tin Can Alley” 

5.   South Philadelphia——“Showboat Jubilee” 

6.   Durning——————–TBA 

7.   Irish American———–TBA 

8.   Greater Kensington——TBA 

9.   Aqua———————–“Aqua Has A-Peel” 

10. Polish American——–“The Pirates of Port Richmond” 

11. Trilby———————-“Court of the Demon King” 

12. Uptown——————–“Table For Two” 

13. Hegeman——————TBA 

14. Duffy———————–“Trains” 

15. Quaker City—————“Clownin’ Around” 

16. Avalon———————“Southern Religious Revival” 

17. Greater Overbrook——-“Overbrook 3011”

18. Ferko————————“Out West-Prospecting for Gold!”

Go Phillies!