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Strutting towards judgment day

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Avenuers

Captain: Bob Fitzmaurice, 29th year Theme: Steampunk

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

We wanted to do something fun and funky and push ourselves a little more outside of our comfort zone.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

If I had to choose a favorite performance from the last 20 years in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, it would have to be “Arabian Nights” from 2004. It was a high-energy performance. The choreography was great and the costumes were fantastic.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade:

Like everyone else, we hope that the judges reward us for our creativity and imagination, the challenging choreography executed so well by our membership, and the effective portrayal of characters displayed in our costuming.

Clevemore

Captain: Ralph Tursi, 23rd year

Performing Captain: Rocco Tursi, first

Theme: Oh The Places You’ll Go …

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

Ralph Tursi: This was suggested by two members of our brigade as a dream sequence for an uplifting, fun and energetic theme. We are trying utilize the youth of our brigade, and have created a strong theme that is fun and upbeat.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

Ralph Tursi: “Tribal Voodoo…Mysteries of a Hidden Treasure (2002).” Our theme that year was very powerful, and I felt as a captain that our brigade was able to incorporate and execute all that we set out to do that year. Everyone felt the energy that flowed through our performance that day. It still makes me smile and happy when I watch it again.

Rocco Tursi: “Swinging with the Strings” (Marionettes 2004). The show was filled with high energy, the music was upbeat, and we had a great use of production.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Ralph Tursi: Hopefully they like our twist on Dr. Seuss and the characters he created [that] we make come to life. We have some creative moments planned and also this is a high-energy perform ace that our brigade has worked very hard with this year.

Rocco Tursi: Our show is very unique and different this year. We are showcasing the youth of our brigade, as well as the energy with lots of props and characters that make it a fun production.

Downtowners

Captain: Anthony Stagliano Jr., second year

Theme: Rio: Festival of Animals

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

The concept derived from doing something Latin related since it would be fun and very colorful. With this being the first year and commencement of having women in a club historically all male for 57 years, the membership also felt that putting a flare with animal-esque costumes would really give it that extra energy and spunk we are looking for. The theme evolved from there … It’s a celebration of animals, “Rio style.” So where most themes with animals in them show people dressed as animals, we are showing people celebrating animals. We wanted to be over the top in simulating Brazillian authenticity … The culture of their festivals and the feeling of celebration. It is a new era for our club, and we wanted to do it with style and energy.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

I would have to say hands down, my favorite performance was the very first performance we had under the late great Jim Julia called “Open Sesame.” We built the first animatronic walking elephant that the parade has seen in the center. This thing spit water, raised up on its hind legs, moved its head side to side. I truly believe we were ahead of the times with this presentation.

Putting that aside, in my 25 years of marching, it was my favorite finale. The dance routine was perfectly executed and was so high energy. It gives me chills still thinking about it. It was a cool theme all together and it was fun from start to finish. It was a good way to enter the center and as the parade changed, we changed with it showing what we were capable of building and executing large floats and props.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Every year, you truly believe you have a winning presentation and that you stand a chance as much as any other club. But this year, for the Downtowners, I truly believe you are going to see our game has stepped up even further.

We have a dynamic performance equipped with great color and a few surprises that the crowd will enjoy. In addition to the traditional pageantry and color works of mummery, there is certainly a different spin on our presentation. This is going to be a fun and energetic performance which will have the crowd and the judges dancing along with us.

Golden Crown

Captain: Bob Runowski, eighth year

Theme: Rain Dance

Talk about the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

The inspiration for this year’s theme is the history and culture of the tribes of New Zealand.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

For me, “Golden Crown 2010: Festival in Flight.” We had a great time the entire year and with the performance.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Our goal was to incorporate dramatic and theatrical elements into a fairly typical Fancy Brigade theme.

Jokers

Captain: Joey Gallagher, 19th year

Theme: Dia De Los Muertos. Day of the Dead Celebration

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

We wanted to change it up a bit this year, from our strong and powerful themes of recent years to something totally opposite. We chose the very popular Day of the Dead Sugar Skull concept, which you see in every Halloween or craft store. It’s a fun and festive concept, and the guys are having a blast getting into character on Sundays.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

1998’s Alien Nation would be my favorite performance to date. It was my first win, and we got to go around the hall under the lights. We were then able to christen the Convention Center with a Jokers first prize.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

This year’s performance will feature colorful costumes, an energetic performance, upbeat music, and beautiful sets and props that will portray the Mexican traditional holiday. As hard as it is, we are going be different than the other brigades, and have a celebration that has yet to be seen inside the [convention] center. Hopefully the judges will enjoy it as much as we will enjoy performing this theme.

Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars

Captain: Michael Adams, sixth year

Theme: The Phantom’s Masquerade

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

Broadway! Everyone that watches the Fancy Brigade Finale each year says the same thing. “It’s a Broadway production,” so why not do Broadway? We are combining some of the most successful theatrical shows, such as the “Lion King,” “Cats,” “Les Miserables” and “Wicked” who are all gathered to attend the “Phantom of the Opera’s” masquerade ball. All are dressed to impress and ready to count down to the new year.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

1999’s “Olympus: Myth or Legend”… The horse! The trojan horse! In my opinion, [it was] the best prop/float ever in the convention center. Our goal every year is to top ourselves, and here we are 19 years later and we still can’t top that Pony.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Our performance this year has a little bit of everything. It’s theatrical, creative, risky, but full of energy with a few twists and turns that you wouldn’t expect.

Purple Magic

Captain: Michael Orlando II, first year

Theme: Speakeasy

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

The inspiration behind this year’s Speakeasy theme stems back to when my father, Michael Orlando, was the captain of the original Magic. His first theme back in 1993 was Smooth Criminal, and I wanted to do a theme that was similar for my first year as the captain of the new Purple Magic.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

My personal favorite show at the Convention Center was with the Original Magic back in 2000 when we did Indians. I loved everything about the performance, especially the costumes.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

I hope the judges see in us the diversity that each and every member brings. Every member brings a special attribute to this performance that adds to this already exciting parade.

Satin Slipper

Captain: John Bielec Jr., fourth year

Theme: Closing Time

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

As a club, we are always looking for ways to take themes and do them a way that we haven’t seen before. While Toys is a common theme in the string band division, it hasn’t been taken up the street as often with the brigades. We talked about the idea for a few years, and we came up with some ideas that we thought were cool and different.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

2015’s “Satin Slipper Midnight at the Mansion.” It was a very big year for us. [It was] only our second year with female performers, and we took a huge risk wearing all white suits. Also, [it marked] our first top three in 12 years. It was a big stepping stone for us as a club.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

I always say the judges have the hardest job on New Year’s Day. No matter what, 11 clubs are going to be disappointed to a degree. If it happens that this year they “vote” for us, I’ll gladly accept.

Saturnalian

Captain: Jack Hatty Jr., ninth year

Theme: The Gangs of New York

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

“Gangs of New York” is not only an amazing movie, but it’s based on an iconic time in American history. As we dug deeper and deeper into this theme, we found a lot of elements that can make for a great show. Individuality and pride are key plot lines in the movie that we decided to run with. The Irish Gangs and The Native Gangs each have their own unique way about them, but their commitment and unity to one another is the bigger picture. This translates to our club perfectly. We have a lot of different personalities, but the loyalty and pride of being a member of the club is what means the most.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

Last year’s theme, “VooDoo on the Bayou,” is my personal favorite. Not only was it our best scoring show in the Convention Center, but I feel like our club really hit our stride last year. We all matured in so many ways individually and as a group. It’s a great feeling seeing something like that happen before your eyes throughout the course of a year. Personally watching everyone build off of last year’s success gives me a great deal of pride and satisfaction.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

The guys and girls in our club are working so hard and putting extra time in to make this show amazing. The attention to detail with props and scenery, and the character portrayal is going to be on full display. As always with our club, the high energy and pride will also be second to none. Hopefully everyone enjoys our show, “The Gangs of New York.”

2nd Street Shooters

Captain: Richie Lind, fourth year

Theme: Aztecs The New Fire Ceremony

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

Aztecs is something we have been wanting to do for a few years now. We wanted to get back to doing a high-energy performance.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

“Witch Doctors Exotic Tribes” [2007]. We finished in sixth place as a club and fifth place [in the] captain [category] that year. It was just a really fun time we had that whole year. This is our best finish to date, but we are hoping to change that with this year’s Aztec theme.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Because we are only 35 members we work just as hard if not harder than the larger membership clubs. We do whatever is necessary to be successful and prideful in our presentation. What matters most to us is that we put on the best show we possibly can and have fun while doing it, and that the people who pay to come and see us enjoy the show and have the best New Year’s Day ever.

South Philly Vikings

Captain: Pete D’Amato, 14 years

Theme: It’s All in Your Mime

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

For us again, it’s about the challenge of mixing technology with mummery, and trying to be original within the theme concept.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

It would have to be 2015, our “Elements” show. We marched first and won first prize. In this parade, no one wants that [first] spot, but maybe now clubs will not think their year is lost, if having to meet that challenge.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

Because we believe we will be the most different and original show, and like every other Brigade, we think we should WIN!

Spartans

Captain: Drew Averill, first year

Theme: Tropical Island, Protectors of the Vibrant Utopia

What is the inspiration behind this year’s theme?

This year we are basing our theme off of vibrant colors and consistently having colors blossom from all aspects of our entertaining and elaborate island.

With this being the 20th anniversary of the show at the Convention Center, which has been your favorite performance to date?

I have a lot of great memories, but the most memorable for me has to be our inaugural year. Being able to make the street is no easy task, especially when 50 people barely knew each other. To be a successful club, you must be a successful team and we achieved that. In 2014, not one person worried about winning our losing. All we cared about was having fun and putting on a great show and getting the Spartans ‘name out there. When we walked off the floor that day I had chills and knew we accomplished something great.

Why should the judges vote for your brigade?

I think this year we are really gonna impress the judges. Our choreographer gave us an amazing drill, and our dancers are working as hard as they can to perfect it. Our membership came up with a great idea this year, and our designer made it come to life. The costumer we use created suits identical to what we wanted and “mumed” it up to perfection. On top of that, we have a great group of guys, girls, and kids that work as hard as they can to get us a great prize.

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