Kensington: Duffy String Band a Family Affair

Angelina Morta listened intently to her next instructions from Drill Director Sharon Fetscher.

For five minutes every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, the Duffy String Band struts its stuff down Broad Street during the Mummers Parade. These five minutes are the culmination of a year’s worth of planning, preparation and hard work.

A horn player read music for "Poker Face" during a recent Duffy String Band rehearsal.

It might seem like a lot of time to invest in something that will be over in a few minutes, but don’t say that to the members of the Duffy String Band.

Started in 1945 by the late George Duffy, the band has performed every year for the last 66 years and shows no signs of slowing down. The family atmosphere fostered within the band has been the driving force behind its members’ dedication to working toward their annual five minutes of fame.

Purchased in 1956 by Henry Kunzig Sr., the Duffy String Band is still led by members of the Kunzig family. The current captain is Ted Kudrick, Kunzig’s son. Kunzig’s daughter, Cheryl Crowe, is the owner and operator of the band. Her daughter Sharon is the drill director. The list goes on.

“It keeps my father’s memory alive,” Crowe said.

In addition to the immediate family involved with the band, the rest of the members make up a large extended family. Every New Year’s Day, they come together to show the city what their family has created.

Angelina Morta listened intently to her next instructions from drill director Sharon Fetscher.
With their instruments out of their cases, the Duffy String Band formed a circle during a recent rehearsal.

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