An Anniversary to Kick Off the Holiday Weekend
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This week, all of us at Polish American are not only getting ready for our usual Independence Day festivities with parades throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area as well as in Massachusetts; we are also getting ready to celebrate our 86th Anniversary!

In 1933, our founder, Joseph Jankowski pulled together a like-minded group of Philadelphians who either were Polish or of Polish descent to put together a Mummers’ string band which would take part in Philadelphia’s annual New Year’s Day festivities as well as act as a communal hub for the Polish community in and around the Port Richmond section of the city. Today marks the 86th anniversary of that founding and finds PASB as a thriving organization which remains a cornerstone of our community and holds a storied legacy within the Philadelphia Mummers’ String Band Association.

If you’re interested in learning more about PASB’s story, visit our History page to see more!

As always, we couldn’t celebrate this milestone without the support of our families, friends, fans, and the most supportive community and neighbors we could ask for from the neighborhood of Port Richmond! Thank you all for your continued support!

PASB Remembers

Yesterday, along with the rest of the country, PASB celebrated Memorial Day, and while the modern incarnation of the holiday is often seen as an unofficial kickoff of the summer season, a variety of services and events throughout the region celebrated the sacrifice of all those for whom the day of remembrance was created.

For those of us at Polish American String Band, this includes our annual memorial services as well as two neighborhood performances.

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PASB’s Memorial Day begins with a small, graveside service at the burial site of Polish American String Band’s Founder, Joseph Jankowski. After paying respects to the man who brought this group together back in 1933, the entirety of the PASB membership meets back at their clubhouse in Port Richmond for a Member Memorial Service in which the names of all of the deceased PASB members are read from their Memorial Plaque which is on display within the clubhouse throughout the year. This is followed by a traditional rendition of ‘In Heaven There Is No Beer’ to conclude the services.

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Following the PASB services, the band then heads to neighboring Bridesburg to take part in the Bridesburg Memorial Day Parade. Marching through streets thronged with revelers donning their best patriotic garb, the band proceeded through the neighborhood performing a variety of classic Mummers’ tunes alongside patriotic songs and the marches of all of the branches of our Armed Services.

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Upon conclusion of the Bridesburg Parade, Polish American returned to their clubhouse and began a march through the neighborhood of Port Richmond to Campbell Square where they are honored to participate in the annual Memorial Day Flag Raising Ceremony. In addition to performing both the Star Spangled Banner and the Polish National Anthem to open the services, PASB also performed the march of each branch of the Armed Services and God Bless America before proceeding back to the club house to conclude the day with a barbecue for the members of the band and their families.

Like so many of the traditions to which we adhere, Memorial Day is a fundamental part of what makes Polish American the fraternal organization that it is, and we are both honored and proud to carry on these traditions. We also are humbled to reflect upon the sacrifice of so many which grants us the freedom to have these celebrations, both in memorializing those who have been lost as well as extending our eternal gratitude to all those who have served as well as their families who have also made such tremendous sacrifices. Thank you all!

We hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend as well!

..next up, look for Polish American String Band performing at the Mummers’ Museum on Thursday, 5/30 at 8 PM!

PASB's Spring is in Full Swing

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting nicer, and PASB is getting ready for the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. To help you get ready, too, we have some great events coming up within the next few weeks.

First, join Polish American String Band for an evening of string band music under the stars as we perform our annual concert at the Mummers’ Museum on the evening of Thursday, May 30 at 8:00 PM. Weather-permitting, we will be performing on the outdoor stage behind the Museum, but even if Mother Nature is less-than-cooperative, we will still perform but move the show inside. Come out for this great annual tradition to support both Polish American String Band and the Mummers’ Museum who continually and tirelessly work to keep our tradition’s history alive!

Following the Mummers’ Museum performance, what says Spring/Summer better than baseball! Come out to support two of Philadelphia’s most storied institutions: the Philadelphia Mummers’ String Band Association and the Philadelphia Phillies! Join us on Tuesday, June 11th as the Phillies take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, June 11th at 7:05 PM. Discount tickets are available for $30 if you go to www.phillies.com/mummers, and half of all proceeds generated go to Polish American String Band if you use promo code POLISHAMERICAN. Enjoy a discounted night at the ballpark WHILE also supporting your favorite string band… what’s not to love!?

We hope to see you at the Museum and at the ball park, and as always, thank you for all of your support!

Kevin Sullivan
Serenading the Champions - 2019

Yesterday, the string band world descended upon the streets of South Philadelphia in order to carry on another storied tradition of Mummery - the Serenade!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

Kevin Sullivan
Dyngus Day!

Polish American String Band would like to wish everyone a happy Dyngus Day!!

…so what the heck is Dyngus Day, anyway?

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Back in the 14th century (interestingly, around the same time as the advent of Mummery), in the countries that, today, are Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, Dyngus Day (or ‘Wet Monday’) came into being. While the origins of the holiday are not fully known and can be traced back to several possible sources, its most cited reason is as a post-Easter celebration of Spring, rebirth, rejuvenation, and a hope for a successful harvest.

Traditionally, Dyngus day was celebrated by all of the boys of a village throwing water onto girls whom they like and citing verses and rhymes that came to be associated with the holiday. Over the years, Dyngus day has changed, now with both sexes equally being given the chance to douse one another, and even more so in modernity as a means of celebrating Polish or Slavic heritage.

Many Polish American communities, particularly our own incredible neighborhood or Port Richmond, have Dyngus Day celebrations focusing on Polish music, food, culture, art, and other cornerstones of Polish heritage. This Dyngus Day, you can find Polish American String Band performing at the Polish Eagle Club on 3157 E. Thomson St. Philadelphia, PA at 7:00 PM as the Polish Eagle hosts an afternoon and evening long Dyngus Day celebration!

Happy Dyngus Day from all of us at Polish American String Band!

Wesołego Śmigusa - Dyngusa!

Spring is in the Air and Vendor Day is Upon Us!

We made it! Winter is finally in the rear-view mirror and spring is in the air! Bird are chirping, flowers are blooming, tables are being setup, totes are being loaded…

That’s right! It is time for Polish American String Band’s Spring Fling Vendor Event! Join us and a fabulous list of the area’s premier vendors at the Polish American String Band Club House at 2727 E. Westmoreland St. Philadelphia, PA 19134.

We have a great list of vendors participating in this Saturday’s Event! Doors open at 12 PM and the event runs until 4 PM!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Vendors including:

Arbonne Avon Beaded Jewelry CB Jewelry Christmas Creations ColorStreet Nails Damsel in Defense Dot Dot Smile Essential Essence Homemade Empanadas Honey Bees Bath Bombs Jade Fallon Crafts JL "Winks" Creations Joanna's Crafty Creations JT Scrollworks Lularoe Mary K Michelle's Wreaths NYC Designs by Sandy Paparazzi!! Perfectly Posh Premier Designs Pure Romance Riah's Sweets Stateside Vodka Thirty-One Tupperware Vinyl Products - Personalized Glassware Wisp Jewelry

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Polish American Launches All-New Web Store

Spring is fast approaching, and it will soon be time to pack those bulky winter coats away for another eight or nine months. What better way to celebrate the new season than with some all new apparel from your favorite string band?

Polish American String Band is proud to launch our new, updated web storefront powered by SquadLocker. Use the ‘Shop’ link in the web page’s navigation bar to find your way to the SquadLocker shop where you can pickup the latest in PASB hoodies, t-shirts, hats, and everything else you could need to represent the Pride of Port Richmond no matter what Mother Nature may throw at you!

Check it out, and if you have any ideas for merchandise you would like, please let us know!

Thank you, as always, for your support!

Kevin Sullivan
One For the History Books

On Sunday, 1/27, Polish American String Band formally kicked off our 86th year of Mummery with our 2019 Open House. A day spent promoting the organization, appreciating our members and their families, celebrating our community, and seeking to grow both our ranks and our tradition, Sunday was spent at our beautiful clubhouse on the corner of Salmon and Westmoreland Streets with a variety of entertainment, refreshments, and good times!

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With a multitude of attendees encompassing current members, family members, neighbors, guests from other string bands and New Year’s Clubs, as well as those brand new to the tradition looking to learn a bit more about how Mummery works, we cannot consider the day anything short of a resounding success.

Throughout the afternoon, entertainment was provided by the fabulous Two Street Strugglers whose signature blend of String Band classics and sing-along favorites were definite crowd-pleasers. We also had an appearance by PASB along with a few of our guests joining us from other bands who sat in on some Mum-classics such as Alabama Jubilee and Golden Slippers.

As is often the case, the day wrapped-up with an impromptu jam session featuring one of our most tenured members, the legendary Ray Malach, on the piano as several other players joined him for some off-the-cuff fun.

Of course, it couldn’t be a proper Polish American party without a taste of home, and once more, we would love to thank John Czerw and the team at Czerw’s Keilbasa (http://kielbasyboys.com/) for donating their always-great product for our event!

We hope all who joined us for our Open House had a great time, and as we kick 2019 off in-earnest, please stay tuned at PolishAmerican.net and PolishAmericanStringBand.com as we announce more great upcoming events.

As always, thank you for your support!

Announcing the New Officers of Polish American String Band

Polish American String Band would like to thank our Officer body of 2018 for their tireless efforts in helping the band succeed and all they have done to support, guide, and lead our organization.

Last evening, following their annual nominations and election process, Polish American String Band is proud to announce their new Officer Board for 2019.

President: Joe Casee Jr.
Vice President: William Murphy
Financial Secretary: Keith Maysonet
Treasurer: Carl Price
Director: Jason Krajewski
Director: Mike Robovitsky
Publicity Director: Kevin Sullivan
Sgt. At Arms: Michael Petrick
Recording Secretary: Steven Hensler
Club Steward: Eric Krajewski

Captain: Nicholas Magenta
Music Director: Rob Carroll
Drill Director: Richard Hagenbuch III

We wish all of our new officers the best of luck in their new positions and can’t wait to see what bright future lies ahead in 2019 and beyond!

Kevin Sullivan
How the West Was Fun

New Year’s Day 2019 is now in the history books, and Polish American String Band performed in our 85th Mummers’ Parade. This year’s theme was Best Western; a cowboy theme deep in the heart of the Old West complete with a roving gang of outlaws, the bounty hunters chasing them, a high-stakes bank robbery, and even a shooting gallery full of the town drunks.

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A year’s worth of effort culminated in a four and a half minute routine of bright colors, shining sequins, flowing plumes, and fun, upbeat, and energetic music. Under seventh-year Captain, Nick Magenta, third year Drill Director, Rick Hagenbuch, and first-year Music Director, Rob Carrol, Polish American moved up a spot from our 2018 finish to take the tenth prize in this year’s parade. Even more important than the standings, though, New Year’s Day was the culmination of a year’s worth of effort, talent, and dedication! The members of PASB worked incredibly hard throughout the year whether rehearsing music, practicing drill, building, painting, and designing props, and the myriad of other tasks that go into making the show possible.

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So now, we begin our 2020 campaign and the process of designing, planning, and perfecting next year’s show. There are some great things on the horizon such as our position selection for the order of march which should take place around late January, the String Band theme submissions which should take place in early February, Mummers Mardi Gras in its new South Philadelphia venue at the end or February, and then right into the heart of parade season which kicks off in earnest around St. Patrick’s Day.

We can’t wait to get started, and if you’d like to join in the fun, yourself, reach out to us to inquire about membership! Come be a part of one of Philadelphia’s greatest traditions!

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Check back for updates and new content coming to our website as we begin our journey to 2020!

…and from all of us at Polish American String Band, thank you for your support!

Kevin Sullivan
For The Love of Mummers

As the sun sets on 2018, and Polish American String Band, along with all of the other string bands and Mummers’ Clubs, completes final preparations to take to Broad Street to ring in the New Year of 2019, we are very often asked about what goes into a string band performance. Recently, our friends over at Quaker City String Band have done a fantastic job of laying out the costs, both financially and in terms of time, which you can find at the linked articles. On this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, though, we at PASB would like to take the time to thank all those behind the scenes who help us to make this crazy hobby happen.

So often, we are asked, “When do you start planning for your New Year’s Day show?” and the answer always comes back “January 2nd.” Often, people believe that we are joking when we say that, but as an organization, it takes every bit of the 364 days available to us to be able to plan, design, build, write, rehearse, finance, and execute a four-and-a-half minute show for New Year’s Day. Throughout that time, there are countless rehearsals, meetings, parades, fundraisers, concerts, drill practices, and a bevy of other events which occupy our members’ time, but behind every single one of those members are folks who sacrifice, inspire, and support us along the way. They are they unsung heroes of Polish American String Band and of Mummery.

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Every step along the way, there is an army of spouses, children, significant others, neighbors, family, and friends who help to keep the tradition of Mummery alive in Philadelphia. They may not wear plumes or sequins, they may not play saxophones, banjos, accordions, or other musical instruments; you likely won’t see them on TV on New Year’s Day, and they never seem to look for the unending gratitude they deserve, but they are there, and without them, we would not be.

With the time and the resources that it takes to put together a New Year’s Day performance, there are countless sacrifices made. Missed parties, family functions, weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries… there are many late nights and many early mornings… whether in the heat of summer or the dark of winter, there are plenty of holiday gatherings which are passed-over in exchange for a parade to provide some much-needed additional financing for a club or band. Yet despite these sacrifices, these very same folks are always still there asking, “What more can we do to help?”

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None of this happens without the support of those we love and those who love us enough to be willing to make those sacrifices so that we may pursue this tradition, this hobby that we care so much about, and no matter which side of the makeup brush we may be on tomorrow, no matter whether on Broad Street or cheering us on from the stands or at home, every single one of us is every bit the Mummer as one another, and without their help, their support, and their understanding and patience which we can never repay, Mummery would be a memory rather than the ongoing Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition that it still is.

We cannot thank them enough for all that they do for us, and for their love of Mummers!

From the bottom of our sequined hearts, THANK YOU!!

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Kevin Sullivan
Polish American's Summer Stroll #2 Tonight

This evening, Polish American String Band sets out on our second Summer Stroll through the streets of the beautiful Port Richmond neighborhood.  Keep your eyes pealed and ears open as we will be parading through the area to the SE of Aramingo and Allegheny Aves between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM!

Kevin Sullivan
PASB Member Spotlight: Rob Carroll

Polish American String Band's Member Spotlight is where we will proudly share information about the accomplishments and journeys of several of our members on a semi-regular basis going forward.

Polish American String Band would like to wish the best to member and Musical Director, Rob Carroll, as he takes his talents to Key West, FL for the next few days!  When Rob isn't tirelessly working to continually improve Polish American String Band, he is also both a professional musician and a professional Benjamin Franklin impersonator and tour guide.  

Rob, along with several musician friends notably including Philadelphia's own Tim Williams, will be taking the stage at the Hog's Breath Saloon each night this week at 9 PM through Sunday 7/8!  You can enjoy the show as well and take in the incredible tenor saxophone stylings of Rob via the Hog's Breath streaming cameras which can be found at: https://www.hogsbreath.com/keywest/hog-cams/ 

 

 

Kevin Sullivan
PASB Member Spotlight: Brandon Hillwig

This is the first edition of Polish American String Band's Member Spotlight where we will proudly share information about the accomplishments and journeys of several of our members on a semi-regular basis going forward.  Our first selection is sure to start things off great!

Polish American String Band would like to congratulate and extend our well wishes to an extremely accomplished young member who has just set off on an amazing experience.  Brandon Hillwig, bell player and three year member of Polish American String Band, is not only an accomplished musician when it comes to playing the bells, but he is also an accomplished vocalist as well.  Given his talents, Brandon is also a performing member of the Philadelphia Boys' Choir and has set off on tour with them bound for both Singapore and Vietnam.  A dedicated member, despite having to fly half way around the world on the afternoon of July 4th, Brandon, along with his father, bass fiddle player Chuck, joined Polish American for the Berlin, NJ Fourth of July Parade in the morning prior to setting off for the airport.

Polish American is honored to be able to count such a talented, dedicated, and diverse musician as Brandon among our membership and wishes him and the entirety of the Philadelphia Boys' Choir a safe, successful, and incredible tour!

Polish American String Band Celebrates 85th Anniversary

Today marks the 85th Anniversary of the Polish American String Band!  The club, founded by Joseph Jankowski, formally started on July 3rd, 1933.  For the entirety of their 85-year history, Polish American String Band has called the neighborhood of Port Richmond home.  With very deep roots in their community which began with a foundation in the neighborhood's heavily Polish demographic but have continued to establish themselves as a cultural identity with the families, friends, and neighbors with whom they have shared their home in these past eighty five years, Polish American String Band has become an ingrained part of the culture of Port Richmond and has served as the soundtrack for many of the neighborhood's shining moments in the last near-century.

Later this year, Polish American String Band will officially commemorate their 85th Anniversary with additional details of the event to be released in coming months.

Polish American String Band would like to thank all of their members both past and present for their contributions to the organization; without the undying passion and love for this tradition, this music, and this hobby that their members have fostered, Polish American String Band could not exist today.  Of equal importance, PASB would also like to thank the families of all of those who have called themselves members of the band; their sacrifice of their time, allowing the band to borrow their loved ones, and the incredible contributions that so very many people have selflessly given to support what Polish American does are beyond measure, and have allowed the band to flourish throughout its storied history.  Lastly, PASB would like to offer their most heartfelt thanks to all of those who support the band; without the best fans in Mummery to perform to, there would be no band.

Please join us in wishing a happy 85th Anniversary to Polish American String Band, and here is to 85 more years!!

Let PA Take YOU Out to the Ball Game

The Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association has once again partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies for the annual Summer Mummer Celebration!

Join us for DISCOUNTED tickets which help to SUPPORT your favorite string band on Tuesday, August 28th as the red hot Phillies take on their division rivals, the Washington Nationals, for a 7:05p start.

Simply go to www.phillies.com/mummers and use the code: POLISHAMERICAN to get your discounted tickets.  Be sure to select Section 146 when using the interactive seat map if you'd like to sit with your favorite folks at PASB!

Half of all proceeds from ticket sales will support Polish American String Band!   Buy your tickets now so its not one, two, three strikes; you're out!

PASB's Summer Season Kicks Off!

If you live in the neighborhood of Port Richmond, summer can mean a lot of things; barbecues, trips to the shore, open fire hydrants, and the sweet sounds of Polish American String Band right outside your door!  PASB has recommenced our annual tradition of taking to the streets of our home neighborhood last night, parading up and down the streets of Port Richmond on the North side of Allegheny Ave.  This is the first of several trips throughout the neighborhood with a future date to be determined for the South side within the next few weeks.

Next up, Polish American gets ready to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the USA right in the birthplace of our amazing nation with several Fourth of July celebrations.  Find us this upcoming Saturday, June 30th, at the Maple Shade, NJ Independence Day Parade, and on July 4th, look for your favorite string band at both the Berlin, NJ and Moorestown, NJ July 4th Parades as well as Tinicum Township's Fourth of July celebrations!

Help us say Happy Birthday, America!  We'll see you on the parade routes!

Kevin Sullivan
Campbell Square - Music in the Park

Join Polish American String Band for a free live concert at Campbell Square in our beautiful home neighborhood of Port Richmond!

Tuesday, June 19th at 7 PM
2535 E Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134

For more information, please see our Event Page and Calendar!

Kevin Sullivan
PASB 2.0 Launches!

Welcome to the brand new website of Polish American String Band!  We've redesigned our site from the ground-up to give you, our patrons, fans, friends, and families better access to all things Polish American String Band!  We hope you enjoy, and we would love your feedback for any ideas you may have around content, design, or media.  

Be sure to check out our full list of upcoming engagements and fundraisers through our Events Page and Calendar, and check back often for updates!  We'll also have all new media coming soon with an updated YouTube channel for all of your PASB video needs and an all-new SoundCloud channel to allow us to share our music directly to you!

Dziękuję Ci / Thank you,

Your Friends at Polish American String Band

Kevin SullivanComment