The String Bands
The String Band Division is the musical highlight of the Mummers Parade. Unlike the other four divisions, which use recorded music or small and informal “pick-up” bands, the String Bands play – and often compose – their own arrangements of music.
What makes the String Band “sound” unique is the instruments that are used to perform their music. Historically, this “sound” is comprised of saxophones, banjos, accordions, violins, bass fiddles, drums and the glockenspiel. This combination of reed, string and percussion instruments has defined the Mummers’ sound for over 100 years.
One more interesting note: the musicians performing in this division are NOT permitted to be professional musicians, but the level of dedication and talent you’ll find among these amateurs may fool you into thinking they are! Although known first for their signature sound, the String Bands also add elaborate props, precision drilling and Broadway-style choreography to present a four-and-a-half minute production that is anything but amateur.
Today’s String Band productions are influenced by high-level marching band and drum corps drill as well as by Broadway staging, props and choreography. Combined, these modern influences add a new level of showmanship that has allowed String Bands to evolve their performances into the entertaining mini-musicals that define the division today.