Joyous Mass

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A happy strut through Sacred Heart Church today as Father James Otto led young children on a joyous celebration of life in the annual Wench and Comic Brigades Memorial Mass.

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New Sound Brass Band played. You should hear them in a church. The Mass honored all who left us but particularly Joseph Monk Bryson, of Bryson NYB and John Power,  of James Froggy Carr, NYB.  A great start to Hat Day, less than a week to the annual Philadelphia tradition of the Mummers Parade.

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Nostalgia, New Kids, Apocalypse & Dynasties

Lori Wilson and Me in the Broadcast Booth

Nostalgia ruled the 2010 Comcast Mummers Parade and a changing of the guard proved reassuring for the future of Mummery. The new kids on the block, the first year captains and drill and music directors, showed they are up to taking the baton from the legends who preceeded them.  A view of the battle after Armageddon won the day and two powerful Clubs redefined the word “dynasty.”  All that and the pageantry and the music of Mummery were the 2010 Comcast Mummers Parade!

The Mummers shock-trooped the senses.  Grand Marshalls Michael and Kevin Bacon and Bunny Sigler added spice up Broad Street.  From Landi’s opening with “Time of Our Lives” through the rise of the mighty Wench Brigades to Jim Driadon and Greater Overbrook’s homage to the “Memories of the Way We Were,” the roots of Mummery were honored and the times in which we live were recognized with humor, sometimes a little edginess as Mummers can do, and with openess and honesty, sprinkled with a good measure of inspiration.

"Dancing with the Czars"

All hail the dynasty that is Murray Comic Club which grabbed a record 12th 1st Prize in a row and Captain Dennis Pellegrino has now captured his 8th 1st Prize. Dennis’ “Mummers on Mars” was not only fun but the rocket ship was well thought out and its landing and take-off very effective. The club’s “Dancing with the Czars” took 1st Prize Brigade.  Goodtimers did nicely in the float category, a 2nd, with “O’s Dozer” and a great 3rd in the Brigade’s with “Field of Dreams.” Harry Kalas is smiling.  Congratulations to the Laing family in Landi for taking 1st Prize float.

Jetson's Theme

They did so with the excellent “The Jetson’s Zooming In The New Year.”  The oversized likenesses were really cool.

1st Prize in the Wench Brigade Division goes to Bryson Brigade and Eddie “Gootch” Bryson gets top Captain. Bryson Brigade has been marching since the 1970’s and sprouted a good win with the theme, “Pops Secret Garden Goin’ Green.” The garden headgear was righteous.

Mr. Detail reigned surpeme again in the Fancy Division. Kenny Medeiros won 1st Prize Captain with his “Barnyard Boogie.” The man who started with Lobster NYB is swimming in butter. Fine performance, Mr. Detail. Congratulations to Mandy and friends making their debut and finishing 2nd in the Fancy Trio category with “Polynesian Tiki Gods.” In Handsome Trim, “Guardian of the Crown” took 1st. Smooth performance, Jesse.

"The Old West Saloon"

While Golden Sunrise finished second to Hog Island, there were some outstanding moments for GS. The first and most emotional to fans was witnessing John Lucas reprise his former role as Captain for the 30th time and on the 50th anniversary of the club. In a magnanimous gesture at the clubhouse a couple of nights earlier, current Captain Matt Glovacs asked John to take the helm one more time. The club can also be proud of its many presentations, especially capturing the top three prizes in the Handsome Costume Category. 

"Firestarter"

That includes Jacky Bam Bam’s igniting 1st Prize performance of “Firestarter.” Third place Oregon Fancy Club’s Handsome Costume entries, “Wicked” and “Dancing with the Stars” were excellent and finished high, as did “Bye Bye Blackbird” in Handsome Trim. In the String Band Division, nostalgia did very well.

"Feudin', Fussin' & Fightin'"

They have owned the 21st Century.  Fralinger showed what successful organizations do: they remain strong even in transition. 8 1st Prizes in a row now for Fralinger for its Hatfield and McCoy-like theme. With Bill Bowen, Jr., and Mike Rayer stepping aside from Captain and Presentation Director positions, who knew what could happen?  Well, co-directors Jack Mills and Joe Ferry showed what can happen, as did Captain Thomas D’Amore.  And Thomas put an exclamation point on it when he also took 1st Prize Captain. Respect should also go to music arranger John Wernega, who for 9 years in a row now has taken first in the judging category of music effect.

Congratulations to Charlie Roetz for a 2nd place finish the year after he took 1st prize. Denny Palandro and Jack Hee and all the rest performed excellently. Jim Tatar, Jr., of Greater Kensington may have tried the toughest routine of the night and showed us some moves we’ve never seen before. Ryan Radcliffe and all the new Captains enhanced their band’s performances.  Even the “Old Heads” were on their game, among them Pete Broomall who was as energetic and multi-faceted as ever.  Aqua and Ron Iannacone were awesome as were John Baron and Hegeman.  Durning was hilarious.  84-year-old Jimmy Buck was a sight to see in “Good Clean Fun.”

Still, the competition was tight. Less than 2 points separated Fralinger from 3rd Place Quaker City. Ferko, led by Anthony Celenza, on an upward trend, finished a strong second with its nostalgic hobo theme. Quaker City also performed at a QC level, handling a serious, respectful Spanish theme with precision. Charlie Roetz sold that fountain scene. It’s a positive memory that will last. Just another note, among many I could do with each band, and this note concerns Polish American String Band. Polish American finished 7th in the official judging and while that is a good spot, I think more recognition should be given to P-A’s outstanding execution of “Joker’s Ball” which they did in the spirit of a generation ago.

And this word: The winner of the annual Custard’s Last Stand Award is…Quaker City String Band with “Mums of La Mancha.”

In the Fancy Brigade Division, two powerhouses ruled: South Philly Vikings takes 1st Prize Brigade and Shooting Stars Captain Mickey Adams, takes 1st Prize Captain. Mickey has been doing this for some 20 years as Captain with a lot of wins in those years. For the Brigades, it was a tigh race, especially between 2nd and 3rd in the Captain’s category.  Jack Hatty of Saturnalians got the nod by one point over Pete D’Amato of the Vikings.  In the overall Brigades category, the Vikes won by a point and a half over Shooting Stars.  South Philly Vikings’ vision of a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., was powerful.  The human race will be safe if the Vikings are in charge.

Thanks to all who hit the street on New Year’s Day!