The other night in South Jersey, 400 people gathered at the American Legion Post in Brooklawn, New Jersey and dreamed of Jeanne.  Shortly before Jeanne Koppen passed away 7 months ago, she asked that if folks were to do anything, that they get together to help her favorite Mummers club, Avalon String Band.  Jeanne watched the parade every year, kept meticulous notes on the performances and would  judge who she thought was best.  She had a soft spot for a couple of bands, but the softest was for Avalon and Handsome Jack.  Avalon Captain Jack Hee, Jr., and Jeanne’s son, Brian, had known each other when they were kids, and Jack and his band were there when the Koppen family had needed them for two special events, a wedding and Jeanne’s funeral.  So, Jeanne’s sister, Donna, and others got to work, planning a celebration.  The tickets sold out almost immediately.  They could easily have issued twice as many.  The family, Jeanne’s siblings, her children and in-laws, all worked the event this weekend at the American Legion Post:  Donna and Bobby,  Brian (seen with Jack in the photo to the left), Jennifer,  Maureen, Doug,  Sandy, and Paul.  Jeanne’s husband, Albert, prepared most of the food.  The retired postal worker made a career of “delivering” and he sure did as chef and main host.  (Albert is in the photo below, standing in the back row on the left.)  He and I stood in the vestibule of the Post, looking at a picture of his wife strutting with Jack Hee.  Albert misses Jeanne more than words can say.  He talked her love of Mummery, and about her life.  Mummers are family and fans of Mummers are family, too.  Jeanne Koppen shows it’s so.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you, Steve Highsmith, and a huge thank you to everyone that supported Avalon String Band in memory of the biggest Mum & Handsome Jack fan around!

    • The positive comments we continue to hear about this benefit are a tribute to Jeanne and Avalon’s family and friends. 400 people, so kind and so respectful, it was an honor to be in their presence! When we lost Jeanne in September, we knew the holidays would be tough ~ but ironically, it was New Year’s Day that we would dread the most. Thanks to a really kind gesture, Jack Hee and the Avalon String Band turned a tough day into a beatiful memory. The benefit was meant as a token of thanks to a really terrific group of people who are the Avalon String Band. Rest assured we’ll be rooting for you in 2012 as an “Avalon Angel” surely watches your performance from a much better seat. Thank you, Steve, for allowing others to read about this special night. It was really nice talking to you!

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