Yesterday, the string band world descended upon the streets of South Philadelphia in order to carry on another storied tradition of Mummery - the Serenade!
Like a handshake at the end of a hockey playoff series, swapping jerseys after a World Cup match, or lining up to applaud the winner of The Masters, the Serenade is the ultimate Mummer form of sportsmanship. Every club gets together to celebrate the club which won the parade. This year, those honors went to Quaker City String Band!
It was a fun-filled day with all of the sights and sounds you would expect from a Mummers’ event, and Quaker City, as always, were a gracious host and dignified champion as they packed their club house on the legendary ‘Two Street’ and the surrounding blocks to take in the performances of all of the other bands including your very own Polish American String Band.
The tradition of the Serenade goes back to the days of the storied Show of Shows at Convention Hall in Philadelphia. Over the years, a tradition developed of all of the bands serenading the top 4 finishers following the official on-stage performances. As the tradition of the Show of Shows changed venues and formats over the years, it was eventually decided to host a formal celebration of the first-place finisher at the Mummers’ Museum each year. The first of these Serenades occurred in 1995 for the Hegeman String Band. This trend continued into the early 2000’s at which time it was decided to move the Serenade location from the Museum to the winning band’s clubhouse. Nearly two decades later, this tradition continues.
The Serenade is a phenomenal opportunity for the Mummers community to informally compete with one another, impress one another’s clubs, and show what they’ve been working on in the time since New Year’s Day. It is also a great time for members of clubs to spend time with one another and continue to build and strengthen the bonds of all Mummers with a sea of different colored jackets up and down the street simply having a good time playing the music which we are so passionate about with and for our fellow Mummers and the folks who support us.
Yesterday also saw another great, more recent tradition carried on with the ‘Under 21 Band’ kicking off the festivities. The ‘Under 21 Band’ is comprised of youth members of all of the other clubs who come together to practice and play together for special events such as the serenade. Also, yesterday was the first Serenade to include the all-new Jersey String Band who impressed as they prepare for their first New Year's Parade in 2020!
Always ones for a big surprise, Quaker had one final trick up their sleeve as the day ended with an actual camel parading up ‘Two Street’ as well to officially announce their upcoming Egyptian theme which they are planning for 2020.
From all of us at Polish American String Band, congrats to QCSB on your awesome win this year! We hope all of the clubs have a great 2019, and we can’t wait to see you all lined up in Port Richmond sometime in the near future!