The Greater Overbrook String Band was awarded the prestigious “Most Improved Band” Trophy by the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association.
Greater Overbrook won the award for its production of “Brazilliant!” in the 2015 Philadelphia New Year’s Day Parade. Arranged and produced by Rich Johnson, the show took the audience on an exciting rhythmic musical journey to Brazil — Latin drums, energetic Samba syncopations, conga lines and sensual Bossa Novas created the perfect Latin mood — only to be heightened by the fun and frivolity of Carnival and a whimsical Rio Finale.
Six years ago, Greater Overbrook was struggling to survive. But after moving from Philly to the suburbs, the Band has grown and prospered. Last year, Johnson, a renowned musical director with over 50-years experience with mummers, military and jazz bands (he studied with the famed Jerry Nowak) was asked to come out of retirement to help Greater Overbrook up its game. He brought along Jen Dillon, an accomplished saxophonist with a Music Education degree from West Chester University. Together they worked on improving musicianship.
“Continued improvement is basically very simple. If all members come to rehearsal, learn their music … and recruit!” says Johnson. In his opinion, the Most Improved Band award is better than the prize awarded by the judges on New Year’s Day because “the Band’s hard work and improvement were recognized and appreciated by its peers.”
The Trophy was awarded to the Band’s Captain, Bill Razzano, at the Association’s annual gala banquet on Sunday, March 1 at the Union League in Philadelphia. “The thrill of accepting this award on behalf of the Band was a moment I’ll never forget!” said Razzano, “this did not just happen overnight — I want the Band to take pride and understand it is a reflection of their hard work, dedication, and commitment to this wonderful tradition and to each other — this award demonstrates we are going in the right direction and we will continue to improve for a better prize in 2016. We are on the move!”
Greater Overbrook practices every Tuesday at the American Legion Post at 1112 Steel Road, Havertown, PA, from 8:00 to 10:00 PM. They are actively recruiting new members. “If you play the saxophone, banjo, guitar, mandolin, accordion, upright bass, violin, drums or other percussion, we would love to hear from you!” says Band President, Bob Pennock, “we are also recruiting dancers, prop builders and parade marshals as well.”
Contact: Bob Pennock firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell Ph: 610-716-3945