Close Captaining

Mark Danielewicz

The leadership, dancing and overall entertainment value of the String Band Captains are  strong in the annual Mummers Parade.  The 2011 tradition provided the stage for exceptional performances.  Polish American String Band Captain Mark Danielewicz took first prize in his role as the Captain of a group of shipwrecked pirates.  Mark’s costume, his interaction with the band and his well-executed dancing were  awesome.  He got the highest score of the day in any category, an 18.950 out of a possible 20.00, in the Design category.  Mark won all three categories of Costume, Design and Effect. (Total score 56.450)  He did tie for first in the Effect category with another great young Captain, Jack Hee, Jr, of Avalon.

Jack Hee, Jr.

Jack was the energetic leader of Avalon’s “Holiday in Havana” theme.  This theme demands fast tempos and real proof of rhythm.  Jack finished a close second in the Costume and Design categories. In all, Jack Hee was behind Mark Danielewicz by 8-tenths of a point.(55.650) I’d give Jack the “cardio award” for the pace he maintained and the quality he maintained at that pace. That is what a Havana theme demands, too.

It was also close between second and third place.  Less than 7-tenths of a point behind Jack was Fralinger Captain Thomas D’Amore.(55.000)  Thomas’s Costuming and the Effect category helped capture third for him.  The competition was so close that only about 3 points separated  5th place from 1st place.  Ferko String Band Captain Anthony Celenza, lead prospector in his band’s Gold Rush theme, claimed 4th prize.(53.750)  Captain Celenza actually scored 3rd in the Design Category.  I was impressed with Celenza’s design and corresponding costume changes, (and not just Clementine), his immersion into each scene.  Hegeman Captain John Baron, sheriff of the day in his band’s western theme, collared 5th place(53.400) and actually scored 4th in the Costume category.

Thomas D'Amore

John P. Baron

Anthony Celenza


Denny Palandro

It is very difficult when looking at Captains to try to rate them.  So much of how you view their performances depends on factors outside of their control, including Costuming and Design.  Knowing this and seeing the work so many of the Captains put in, I appreciate each of them.  For example, I could easily have understood if either or both of the next two Captains in the 2011 Order of Finish had finished higher.  Denny Palandro (52.050), of South Philadelphia String Band, brought back in my mind “Showboat” and

Charlie Roetz

 the entire band performed excellently.  Coming in 7th (50.250) in the Captain’s category was Charlie Roetz, of Quaker City.  Some people are surprised Charlie did not finish higher, since Quaker took first prize.  His tightrope performance was innovative and fun.   I think Charlie’s 7th place finish has less to do with Charlie and more to do with the total design of the routine.  Charlie Roetz performed the role that was designed very well,  but several, perhaps all, of the Captains who finished ahead of him had more up front involvement and dancing.  The judges also looked at the costuming of the first six and scored them higher than Charlie’s.

Aqua’s Ron Iannacone(46.900), Greater Kensington’s Jim Tatar, Jr.(42.500), and Ryan Radcliffe(40.450), of Uptown, rounded out the top ten.  Here’s the rest of the list as determined by the official judges.

11th-Tom Robison, Woodland

12th-Joe Pomante, Durning

13th-Charlie Nicholas, Pennsport

14th-Joseph R. Kaminski, Trilby

15th-Peter J. Broomall, Sr., Broomall

16th-Ted Kudrick, Duffy

17th-Carmen Vitanza, Sr.

Thank you, Captains, one and all.