Big Changes

Big changes have come on the power block of 2 Street in South Philadelphia.  Fralinger and Quaker City, two of the most successful string bands of all time, have voted to replace key members in leadership positions.  Fralinger has a new Captain and Quaker City has a new Music Director.

D'Amore 2012Fralinger Captain Thomas D’Amore lost a close election to Scott Wray.  Admirers of this band and folks who know Scott wish him all the best.  However, this is also a head turner to many since Thomas has won First Prize Captain 3 of the last 4 years and the band has won First Prize in 2 of the last 4 years.  Thomas has not only excelled as a Captain on Broad Street, but has been professional in his public role as Captain and giving of his time to charitable causes.

shcfeb11,2012 005Fran Rothwein is no longer Music Director of Quaker City String Band.   QC has selected Michael Spanky Brown for the role.  Spanky is another talented and hard working member of Quaker.  Fran has served as MD for nearly 20 years in one of the most successful periods of the band’s history.  He is a flat-out good guy, and talented, too.  Quaker also recently gave him an award for coming back from illness.

Well-meaning Mummers everywhere should recognize the quality and contributions of Thomas D’Amore and Fran Rothwein, and we should all hope that in whatever capacity they choose and Mummery allows, that we will see and hear more of them.

2013 Viewers’ Choice Awards Finalists


All Mummers are invited to SugarHouse Casino Wednesday night, Jan. 23rd for the PHL17 2013 SugarHouse Casino Viewers’ Choice Awards presentations. The festivities begin at 7pm. However, we can now reveal the FINALISTS in the Fancy Brigade and String Band categories as chosen by the viewers. Thousands of votes were cast by viewers of the parade and here are the finalists.

The top 3 finalists in ALPHABETICAL order, not necessarily final order are:

In the Fancy Brigades,

Shooting-Stars-2013-Mummers-Parade-24-150x150 Saturnalian-2013-Mummers-Parade-2-150x150





Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars,  Saturnalian NYA,



and South Philly Vikings.



And in the String Bands, again in alphabetical order, the top 3 finalists are:

Image ImageSouth-Philadelphia-String-Band-Mummers-Parade-2013-0902

Fralinger, Quaker City, and South Philadelphia String Band.

Congratulations to those six and congratulations to other clubs who finished a close 4th and 5th with the viewers. More will be said about that next week as well.


The Bells of Joe Trinacria

1963-jpg-bmpIt is always special when someone has done something well for a long time.  Mummery by nature respects tenure and accomplishment.  Joe Trinacria hits every note in the above description.

On New Year’s Day, 2013, Mr. Trinacria marked 50 years since he first marched with a String Band.  He is a legendary glockenspiel, or bells, player.  “The bells mean everything to the string band sound. It’s the signature sound,” says Joe. He adds, “When people heard the bells, they knew a string band was coming.”


A half a century of Mummers history flows through this Hall of Famer and former Captain of Uptown String Band.  One of Joe’s fondest memories is taking 3rd prize Captain in 1980 with Uptown. It was a Hawaiian theme.


His Mummers life is a travelogue of performances and parades. Often, his view was from deeper within the bands, where the percussion is often positioned.  He could see much of the show, but it was from the opposite view of fans.  He strutted briefly with Liberty Clowns in the early 1960’s, but would go on to explore string band sounds with Durning, Aqua, Joseph A. Ferko and Harrowgate. His spent 17 years with Uptown String Band, 9 years with Woodland and most recently has been with Greater Kensington String Band.

Funny thing about the bells for Joe is that playing them was more or less accidental. He had gone out to buy a2002 Christmas present for his nephew and wound up liking the “toy”.

From there a love affair with the bells began.  Joe does not read music.  He has a great ear and can bring out the life that is in the instrument.  His is not a “slap-hammer” style.  He tells me, “I know dynamics.”


Joe Trinacria is now 80 years of age and looks back at New Year’s Day from his home in Bensalem and sees great memories. He is one of the living historians of Mummery. He has untold stories of half a century of parading and living the Mummer tradition. Now, however, Joe looks forward with some uncertainty. Health issues make him concerned that more parades for him could be difficult.  But, doctors tell him playing the bells and strutting up Broad have done wonders for him. So, Joe, please keep playing and chart a course up Broad to see us “on the street” in 2014.  We’ll know you’re coming, when we hear the bells.

To the Winners!


The 2013 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade launched the new year, Philadelphia-style! Thousands of strutters celebrating the new year and writing another chapter in the history of the Mummers tradition.

2-2013-Mummers-9906-150x150A salute to the Murray Comic Club for another big win and to Murray’s winning Captain Dennis Pellegrino.

The Goodtimers Comic Club scored in the comic brigade category with Rabble Rousers NYB and their theme, “Scrapitalism.” B. Love Strutters and Jesters take 2nd and 3rd. Last year’s winners, Two Street Stompers finish a strong 4th.


Congratulations to Jackie Bam Bam of Golden Sunrise. The Alice Cooper of Mummery takes 1st Prize for his “Black Magic” in the Handsome Costume category of the Fancies.  John Lucas builds a great suit.

2-2013-Mummers-0556-150x150Hog Island takes first prize among the Fancy Clubs.

Golden Sunrise’s Matt Glovacz with that awesome engine and box car takes 1st Prize Fancy Captain.  The Hog’s “Polynesian Volcano Dancer” with Bryanne Hornung takes 1st in the King Clown category ,“Flight of the Monarch” with Bill Chischnijak wins King Jockey, and “Guardian of the Crown” with Jesse, Tabitha and Shannon win Handsome Trim.


Bryson wins! Congrats Pop, and a tip of the bonnet to Bryson Captain Eddie “Gootch” Bryson for winning 1st  Prize Captain in the Wench Brigade Division. Bryson NYB takes 1st Prize among the wenches for their “Fight Like A Lady” theme in beautiful pink and white. Great job, great cause, heart-felt.

JHJ Saints finish a good 2nd; George Stewart’s Pirates a strong third.

2013-01-01_17-12-13_876In the String Band Division, Fralinger overcame the fire and last year’s un-Fralinger like finish in results and came “Back From the Dead” to win 1st Prize with their haunting, zombie like theme.  However, it was close. Just 6-tenths of a point separates Fralinger and number 2 Quaker City String Band, who delivered a textbook performance that will have fans of each club debating for years. Woodland performed as Champions and finished a strong 3rd this year. South-Philadelphia-String-Band-Mummers-Parade-2013-0916-150x150

South Philadelphia comes in 4th; Ferko 5th.  Hegeman with its exquisite 1960’s London love story finishes 6th. Avalon-7th; Aqua-8th; Polish American 9th and Uptown 10th. Rounding out the field are Pennsport, Duffy, Broomall, Durning, Greater Kensington,Greater Overbrook and Trilby.  Congratulations to Felicia Kaminski and Anthony Mulzet on their engagement!

Congratulations to Fralinger Captain Thomas D’Amore for winning 1st prize Captain again. Jack Hee takes 2nd prize again. Wonderful entrance, Jack, from the elephant.  Denny Palandro takes 3rd. Great performance by Ryan Radcliffe lifts him to 4th. Charlie Roetz takes 5th, followed by Charlie Nicholas, John Baron, new Captain Nick Magenta, and Ron Iannacone who completes the top ten.

Congratulations to South Philly Vikings and to new Captain, Gerald Roccia for finishing 1st in the Fancy Brigade Finale and 1st among Captains with their performance of “RU Game.” Downtowners take 2nd and Saturnalian 3rd. Avenuers are 4th and Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars are 5th.  Bob Fitzmaurice takes 2nd in the Captain’s category; Frank DeVito ,3rd.

Enjoy the moment!