String Band Division Line of March is a Farce

Yes, that’s right, the way the line of march is determined by the String Band Division in the annual mummers parade is a farce, joke and we can add ridiculous and ludicrous and any other term that’s needed. The top bands from the previous year usually appear near the end of the line up and that my friends is an unfair advantage. That is why, in my opinion the Fralinger String Band has won eight consecutive first prizes. How the positions are determined may be a bit difficult to explain but I will try my best later on, but let me first say that the order of march by the other divisions in the parade are the result of simply picking a number out of a hat. Why can’t the String Bands do the same ? What if I told you that the 1927 New York Yankees arguably the greatest baseball team of all time batted in the bottom of the ninth inning of every game they played. Well that’s how it is when the string bands march on New Years Day. As stated before the drawing for positions is weighed heavily in favor of the top bands, here is my attempt to explain it. There are four sealed envelops, with the letters A,B,C and D. These envelops have four or five numbers in them ranging from 1 to 17, representing the number of bands in the parade in 2010. Envelop “C” may have the numbers 16, 12,7 and 2. The envelops are in the hands of city officials. Before the numbers are exposed the bands must pick a letter. After each band has their letter a representative walks over to the city official who has their assigned letter. In this case the four bands with the letter “C” will march in one of those above mentioned positions [16,12,7 or 2]. Here’s the catch. The band who finished higher in the previous parade will select first. Obviously the top band will choose the higher number. So as a result a band such as Fralinger will always march at the end of the String Band Division and the judges know this and as a result scores are held back on prior bands. I’ve listened to the judges tapes and have heard a comment such as; “Yes, that was a great performance, but there’s still a few good ones to come, but I’ll see what I can do.” What they should do is give you what you deserve and not hold back points. In any subjective scoring system such as gymnastics or figure skating the participants who perform near the end of the competition will generally score higher than those who start at the beginning. Let me add that this is by no means a knock against the Fralinger String Band. They are a very strong and hard working band. OK, they still may have won in 2010 but I doubt that they would have won 8 times in a row. It’s only human nature for one to express or write down that something that was just seen was the greatest that they have ever seen. How many times has an individual witnesses an outstanding athletic play and say; “Wow, that’s the greatest catch, dunk or whatever that I’ve ever saw.” In most cases it’s “What have you done for me lately? ” . Here, it’s ; “What have I seen or heard lately? ” Let me know how you feel. Your comments are more than welcome. Happy New Year.

14 Responses to String Band Division Line of March is a Farce

  1. Jaron Breen says:

    I think the pick out of the hat is a great idea. This way of picking it is way too complicated and gives an unfair advantage to the later bands. If I was a judge, I’d give out my points right away because I can’t remember enough to distinguish and I believe holding back points is unfair.

  2. Brian Ramey Jr says:

    I agree with everything you said. What do I know I’m just a bummer mummer lol! You guys looked great!

  3. There are some bands who are working very hard to beat Fralinger, but with that advantage it’s almost impossible. Besides, it’s not fair. Something has to be done, this system is CRAZY. I heard that it was changed a few years ago, and the big bands bitched about it. Ahhh… That’s a shame… John Pribella… Phila

  4. Tom McClain says:

    Wow! I never was aware of this . I thought that the bands picked from a hat. I’m a long time mummer and i know that my club never wanted to go at the beginning. We always hoped that our captain would draw or pick a high number from the hat. Fralinger’s near the end every year. What a joke. No wonder they win every year.

    Tom McClain, Secane, Pa.

  5. Maria says:

    I’m heading down to the mummers museum as soon as I can to find out what the deal is. It’s almost like the String Band division is fixed. It’s very upsetting to hear something like this. How come the press doesn’t mention this? This absolutely must be changed. I think I’ll boo Fralinger at the Show of Shows. All of these years I thought the judging was fair. I can’t believe this. I really can’t.

    Maria, Phila

  6. Now I know why it’s always the same three or four bands near the top. They perform at the end of the parade, that’s why. It’s only human nature to hold back points. Or it’s that last impression.

  7. Cathy says:

    I always thought that it was fixed. No one can be that good for 8 years in a row. Bullshit.

    Cathy, Upper Darby, Pa.

  8. JohnM.McBride says:

    It a shame I looking forward to the string band every year.It need to be look at.No way that this string band was far better than the rest. Let take sports everybody goal is to beat the winner of last year. 8 year is a long time for anything But you think that their was one band better than the band that won it it for the last 8 year coom on I have NOTHING to do with this parade at all Only that I enjoy it . Maybe they should let the people vote too or bring in people that have nothing to to do with the parade LET the BEST be the winner.

    And I in the Heart of the jug) and at the end of the day everyboby can look back ans said the BEST STRING BAND WON It will be good thing.

  9. Angie says:

    I have been watching the parade for my entire life. I mean my whole life I was born and raised with the mummeers. I even marched a couple of years myself. I have been watching them perform in front of the judges at City Hall for probably 30 years..bye the way thats the only place you get the real deal on the Mummers performance. I have watched all the clubs from the Comics to the Fancy Brigades and the String Bands. I have watched many a brigade and band and it is with out a question a disadvantage when you are perfoming in the begginning of your Division. It only makes common sense. The judges do not have the top Bands, clubs or Brigades to compare you against. If you look at the scores of the String Bands you will see that the points are so so close. And you will see that the bands who went behind South Philly string band scored higher. So there you have it. Why can’t the String Bands Pick the order of March like the rest of the Divisions???????

  10. Alma says:

    I have been a mummers fan for many years and never realized that the String Bands line of march was picked the way you described. Froggy you are absolutely right! It’s ashame that the top bands get the advantage every year. I really enjoyed South Philly String bands performance. Hopefully next year you guys can march closer to the end Happy New Year.


  11. ralph says:

    Well, if the parade isn’t fixed. It sure as hell is damn close. That’s a disgrace to everyone involved, whoever they are. Shame on all of you. I guess I’ll just watch the Brigades now.

    Ralph, Phila

  12. C. T. says:

    I thought they are called string bands. How come I never hear them. It seems to be all horns. If you can get them to change the picking order how about asking them about the banjo’s.

    Carl Terlecky,

  13. P. O. says:

    Did I see the word FIXED ? Holy shit. Say it ain’t so.

    P. O

  14. Jaron Breen says:

    Well, good news… the picking out of the hat has occurred and Fralinger is up 2nd. Let’s see what this does!

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