To be read to the tune of a thousand banjos playing “O Dem Golden Slippers”:
The Original Trilby String Band, a troupe that has strummed and strutted annually on New Year's Day since 1898, will not march in this year's Mummers Parade because of a shortage of cash, members, and miracles.
"I don't even have words," said Kaminski, 48, who as club captain told members this month he was pulling the plug. There was no chance, he concluded, of mounting a show with unfinished music, no costumes, too few musicians, and but a few props.
"It was," said Kaminski, his voice cracking, "the worst decision of my life."
Trilby may be down on its luck, but the Bridesburg club is no outlier in Mummersland. The same pressures kicking Trilby to the curb are behind a much-shortened parade route this year that eliminates a two-mile stretch through South Philadelphia, where the working-class parade was born.
Declining membership and soaring costs are building a story line of stress within Mummery that goes something like this: If only Dem Golden Slippers could be melted down and sold for cash, the feathered folk tradition might feel more secure.
Read Maria Panaritis’ whole story, Under the gaiety, Mummers are in grim fight to survive, at Philly.com.