Very sad moment. Attending the viewing tonight for Ian Jerry, Sr. , at Galzerano Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia. Ian was most recently a member of Polish American String Band. The band is here tonight to serenade and support the family. Stephanie and the kids will always have a large Mummers family to lean on. Members of other clubs are filing through the home, remembering Ian’s humor and regretting that he was taken at so young an age.
It’s the people poll and the people have now spoken. The viewers of the 2015 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade have chosen the best String Band and best Fancy Brigade performing on New Year’s Day, 2015.
Quaker’s excellent music, busy scrap yard, great performance by Captain Good, interesting mirror effect, and of course, the big hug of Scraps the dog at the end, wowed the audience.
Polish American String Band came in second in the Viewers’ Choice voting. Fralinger String Band, which won the official judging on New Year’s Day, finished in the top five in the poll.
The number 1 Fancy Brigade in the Viewers’ Choice poll: Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars and its theme, “The Mysterious Island” with its big green spider, plant people, amazing full but fluid costumes, well executed choreography and a big scary bird finished first in the poll.
The Stars finished 2nd in the official judging on New Year’s Day, but first in the eyes of the viewers. Congratulations to Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars Captain Michael Adams and President Brian Smith.
South Philly Vikings, which took first in the official judging, finishes 2nd in the VC poll.
SugarHouse Casino General Manager Wendy Hamilton and PHL17 Senior Vice-President and GM Vince Giannini tonight at the casino in Fishtown announced the results of the voting which involved many thousands of votes cast.
A fun time was had by all at 11th and Moore in South Philadelphia Saturday night as Mummers filed by and filled the sidewalks paying respects to the 2015 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade Fancy Brigade Champion South Philly Vikings. Congratulations to Captain Pete D’Amato and all in SPV.
It was great seeing and hearing Ferko, Polish American, Woodland, Quaker City, Fralinger, Saturnalian, the Stars, Satin Slipper, the Spartans(thanks for the pic, ladies!), and more in a warm moment among the competitors of New Year’s Day.
And, Jessica Tursi, of the Vikings, came on over to me and let me know the newest Soup Day champ already has a plan for this December’s competition at the Mummers Museum. So, soup chefs, it’s never to early to warm that stove.
Perhaps MummersTV should come with a warning label. Mummers fans living in the Philadelphia area know that for weeks PHL17 has been airing old Mummers Parades and recently added the 2015 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade to the on-air rotation. Well, thanks to mom Heather Lucas-Wolfinger we now have visual evidence of what that does to impressionable minds.
Check out this video of young James Wolfinger, Jr., armed with homemade costume and toy saxophone, as he watches the parade and repeatedly, watches his Dad perform with the 1st Prize winning Fralinger String Band.
So this is how it all can begin…
The finalists in the 2015 SugarHouse Casino/PHL17 Viewer’s Choice Poll have been announced and SugarHouse is also planning on handing out thousands of dollars to some lucky Mummers clubs Tuesday night, January 20th, at 6:30 p.m.! Here’s what we know.
The 5 finalists in the Fancy Brigades are, in alphabetical order:
Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars
South Philly Vikings
The 5 finalists in the String Band Division are, in alphabetical order:
Each will receive the big Viewer’s Choice trophy and a check from SugarHouse for $1,000.
In addition, each of three lucky “mother” clubs across the 5 divisions will be the recipient of $1,000. To be eligible for those 3 drawings of $1,ooo, a club member has to show up at the Casino and report in at The Refinery area. Say what club you are with. The winning clubs will be drawn during the announcement ceremony.
So, the people’s voice will be heard Tuesday night and a total of $5,000 will be handed out to Mummers clubs. It’s going to be a good night. Mummers are asked to arrive at 6:30. Make sure you check in and let them know what club you represent.
Good luck to the finalists and thanks to all Mummers for a great parade.
Heritage is a part of all Mummery, of course, but the ideas behind the proposed Heritage Division include celebrating historical or traditional aspects of Mummery, and perhaps involving several clubs that could use a break from the intense annual financial commitment. This is not a welfare state proposal. If a club has no support, that’s not what we’re talking about. The presentation time would also have to be different in some cases, in order not to lengthen the parade.
There would be many details to work out, but it’s pretty clear, more discussion would be a good idea. Perhaps the leaders of the various divisions or their appointed representatives would like to meet at the Mummers Museum this month to explore some of these. I’d be happy to help moderate such a discussion.
It’s time for a Heritage Division. The Mummers Parade has historically had 2 to 5 divisions. Currently they are the Comics, the Fancy, the Wench Brigade, String Band and Fancy Brigade. Let’s postulate that it’s time to create a new division that does NOT add to the length of the parade, but which preserves the historical significance of the parade, allows some clubs an opportunity to have a less financially stressful year and gives the public more of what they want. There’s a poll question for your input below. UPDATE: Poll results so far are 78 percent in favor of the idea; 22 percent opposed.)
The 21st Century has brought with it financial stresses, city regulations or goals, changing ideas of entertainment, and a new reality of how busy families are, including multiple jobs and how far apart we live from each other. Parts of Mummery, contrary to other media reports, are growing. However, some other displays, especially ones that require people spending a lot of their own money, are crunched.
The City of Philadelphia definitely does not want the Mummers to assemble as they did in the 1800’s. It wants to contain the excesses that were problems before the creation of the Broad Street parade. Most officials do not want to get in the way of the freedom to assemble and they see the tourism value. Most Mummers, too, like the idea of parading on Broad Street, being at the Hall, and giving a show for all on New Year’s Day. But, some clubs have been living on the edge of existence, and outside influences, or stresses, are major reasons why. So, what is a non-corporate, people parade to do?
Here’s a starter idea for discussion. Create a Heritage Division of 3 to 10 clubs each year. The clubs in this division would not have to field as many entries and the rules about their size would be adjusted. The time of their performances could also be shortened. They might not even be judged, though a different judging system could be worked out. The Clubs in this division would revel in the history of the parade. Yes, we’d see feathers and back pieces and more. We might be able to start a fundraising effort in conjunction with the Museum, in which part of the proceeds would go to the clubs in this new division.
Maybe Trilby String Band would have fielded a band if it did not need 40 players and did not have to create a Broadway routine.
Maybe another string band or 2 would liked to have saved money for a year and volunteered to be in the division.
Maybe the String Band Association holds a lottery, if there are no bands volunteering, though I think some bands would love to live in this division.
Maybe a brigade from Murray or Goodtimers volunteers to go in.
Maybe Hog Island believes it could return to the Fancy Heritage, if some adjustments were made.
Golden Sunrise could take up permanent residency there, preserving the Fancy within Mummery.
A big wench brigade could take a year in there.
Maybe a Fancy Brigade even takes a turn.
Maybe we have a youth band.
Maybe we have the Hardly Ables.
Maybe there is an open opportunity for a new club to try the parade, allowing new voices to experience Mummery.
Maybe a guest string band from another state comes in.
Maybe a brass band rocks the house for 2 minutes.
Maybe none of the clubs or divisions mentioned above would want anything to do with this proposed Heritage Division, but, I think it’s worth talking about. This is not about artificially propping up unsupported clubs. Clubs have always come and gone in Mummery and that will continue. But, the Mummers exist in a manufactured world where imposed rules affect their existence. This Heritage Division idea is aimed at supporting positive tradition and cultural significance.
Whether it would be 3 clubs or 10, whether they march all at once in line or are sprinkled throughout the parade, whether they only appear on tv or do the whole route, the idea is to ease financial pressure, keep the parade flowing, and retain and enrich the historical display of this great Philadelphia folk tradition.