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For more than a century, New Year’s Day in Philadelphia has been a grand spectacle of music and showmanship in the nation’s oldest and longest folk parade -- the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. Philadelphia sponsored and organized the first official Mummers Parade on January 1, 1901, and today there are over 10 thousand marchers. The parade has five divisions: Comic, Wench Brigade, Fancy, Fancy Brigade and String Band. String bands provide the most elaborate performances and are usually the crowd’s favorite. The oldest continually marching string band, having never missed a parade, is the Joseph A. Ferko String Band, organized in 1922. The Ferko String Band boasts the most successful record in the history of the parade, with more first prize finishes than any other band and has placed in the top 5 in 83 out of 89 parades! The Ferko String Band has performed for people all over the world.
Anthony Celenza is the Captain of the Ferko String Band. He started his career in Mummery in the early 1970s as a clarinet player, graduated to sax player, and in 1975, joined the Ferko String Band. Anthony is a member of Ferko’s Hall of Fame and in 2006 was elected by his peers to the Mummers Hall of Fame. Performing in front of the band has come naturally for Anthony through the years, as he has performed as a dancer for the band for many years and has led the band as drill director on New Year’s Day. On February 23, audiences can relive the excitement of the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day in Boardwalk Hall as the String Band Show of Shows comes to Atlantic City. After the interview, please go to After Hours at Jersey Coastal Live for additional information.
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