Updated Story: Broomall String Band Retiring in 2019: A New Band Forming For 2020
Earlier this summer, The Peter A. Broomall String Band announced that they will disband after the 2019 Mummers Parade. The 2019 Mummers Parade will mark their 89th and final march on Broad St. The Broomall String Band is the third oldest consecutively-marching String Band today, having organized in 1930, and having first marched in 1931.
Below is Broomall String Band’s statement about the 2019 Mummers Parade being their last.
Gone are the days of original music and beautiful back pieces. The props are too large and it lacks overall tradition. I grew up with the mummers. My grandfather strutted with Hegeman for years. It’s sad what the parade has become.
Somebody here post a picture of yourself at the parade. I’m guessing most of you weren’t even there. If you weren’t there then you’re part of the problem. I was there and always will be. Check it my work and tell me how dead it is. @karlkamera
I totally agree with these comments. Big clubs have all the money. I also noticed it’s more about props than plumes, which are almost extinct. That to me is mummers. A lot of the music I don’t recognize. It’s sad. I love the mummers. My ex-husband lived in mark o.k. and knows Pete.
As a former member of the Broomall string band, I am sad to see it will no longer be an integral part of mummery. I marched under the tutelage of the great Peter A. Broomall. Thank you for the great memories.
For too many years the parade has ceased to be a “parade”. Rather it has become a staging area for the “judges”, who, for the most part, don’t have a clue about what a string band is supposed to be. We devote almost ALL of our time, talent, and treasure into a four and a half minute presentation on NYD in order to win NOTHING except bragging rights. In our zeal to emphasize saxophones, we have done very little to recruit new banjo , bell, accordion and violin players which created the incredible string band sound of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and even ’80s. We have eschewed back pieces in favor of gigantic wheeled “props”, which block spectators’ views and are discarded after the above mentioned four and a half minutes. I’m sorry to see Broomall bite the dust, but the handwriting is on the wall. The mummers parade as I knew it is dead and as the younger people know it, is dying. And the city is not to blame. We are committing slow suicide. Trilby and Broomall will not be the last to give up.
I agree. I think this is the reason that crowds are so sparse along the route. For more than 30 years, I stood in the cold and even if I wasn’t at an official judging spot, I still saw a good show and plenty of wonderful music. The bands would play all the way down Broad St. Now, it seems as if the bands spend most of the time dragging their paraphernalia and very little time actually playing. Maybe I am a fogie, but in those days, the streets were packed and the crowds were enthusiastic. Something has been lost along the way, and I think the clubs should take another look and re-evaluate.
I’m sorry to know that the string bands are dying. IMO they are the best part of the parade. I look forward to this every New Years Day! I’m originally from central NJ. The first time I ever heard about the Mummers when a captain strutted in our town’s Labor Day parade. Fast forward to 1997 when I moved to the Lehigh Valley and discovered the Mummers Parade on PHILLY 17. Love them! I don’t like the comics or fancy’s.
I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment. I have been saying it for years how the parade has changed. There is definitely something different now then it was years ago. I don’t know how they judge but it gets tiring seeing the same ones win over and over. I feel like the smaller bands never stand a chance.
As I watched the String Bands on TV (I have not gone since the parade was taken away from the community where it thrived), I wondered where the Banjo’s were. As it happens, the bands that were in the top five at least had some banjos. The music being played today has so many changes it is hard to get in the groove and just enjoy.
The smaller String bands like Broomall cant compete with the heavy hitters like Woodland, Quaker City, Ferko, etc. Prize money needs to come back. Same thing happen in the Fancy Division. There was three mother clubs all way up to 2011 then Oregon and Hog Island went Wrench and the only one left is Golden Sunrise. I would love too see more string bands. I mean if the Fancy Bridages can add two clubs (Spartans, and Purple Magic) then it can be done. As an organization the mummers need to become even more creative in attracting fresh new faces. I marched from 2009 until I koved out to Pittsburgh in 2015. I miss it and when I return back to the Philadelphia area I want to get back involved. What need to happen is one of the smaller String Bands this year take first place and maybe this will inject some fire into folks to do something.
You must keep the traditions alive. The String Bands need help and the city of Philadelphia is doing everything in its power to let them vanish. The officials should be helping the string bands and stop helping the other parades that they fund. Wise up Phila.
The association should get together and really find out what the problems are within. It’s so sad to see our Philadelphia truditions being slowly destroyed. I am sure it’s not just one thing but many including the people running our city.
how to tell the economy is bad – a string band ends its mummery
Your should actually check the facts on the economy and the unemployment rate.
This is only the beginning. Trilby disbanded a short while back now Broomall. You can expect more bands to follow. Since the money making show of shows ended, the main income source for many bands dried up.
Why don’t you publish the string band schedule for the Summer at Ocean City, N. J.?