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BOB SHANNON Quaker City String Band

Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award by JOHN NACCHIO


eople from the City of Brotherly Love know the excitement of a Mummers performance. Mummers also bring a sense of nostalgia to the City. Quaker City String Band’s longtime Captain Bob Shannon Jr. retired in 2008 after almost 38 years of service. At 6’10” tall, Shannon had been a soaring figure in the parade since 1971, when he became only the second captain of Quaker City String Band. Shannon and his brother Jack were inducted into the tradition of Mummery by their father Bob Shannon Sr., a member of Quaker City String Band for more than 67 years. Shannon is committed to his yearlong passion to bring happiness and smiles to all he meets, especially to children. He has pushed others and himself to burst through personal barriers and reach new heights in physical, mental and spiritual milestones. He knows people are at their best when challenged. Each year, the challenge of arriving at a new string band theme, creating elaborate costumes made of brilliant materials, sequins and feathers, as well as selecting an integrated musical score to which the band members can perform under a strict time limit, is a daunting test. Although he has held an administrative position at the Naval

Shipyard for the past 40 years, (retiring July 3rd) he always has time for Mummery, family and friends, says Susan Ryan-Shannon, his wife of 22 years. She has witnessed the intense effort required by band members to fulfill the obligations of band membership. Things like practices, band jobs, charity benefits, committee meetings, prop-building, costume design and a variety of functions booked by the band throughout the year. Approximately 125-150 days a year are dedicated to everything Mummers. Costumes, alone, cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 for an average 64-member band, with the Captain’s costume costs climbing as high as $10,000. Member dues, raffles and yearlong performances help cover some of the expenses but passion and commitment to preserving this 117-year-old Philly tradition is the foundation for its ongoing success. For the last 10 years, Shannon has served as President of the Philadelphia Mummers Association. He provides others with sound advice, keen insights and colorful commentary during the parade’s live coverage on New Year’s Day. He says his greatest contribution was helping others discover their untapped potential and his ability to make people smile with Mummery. Bob Shannon, Jr. lives his passion. “When you smilin’, when you smilin’ The whole world smiles with you. Yes when you laughin’ oh when you laughin’ The sun comes shinin’ through!”

Q&A A: Not everyone means everything

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: Major League Baseball player. Q: What was your first job? A: I graduated from the University of Delaware and held jobs at a bank, car dealership and then the US Navy -Department of Defense.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

A: Hanging out with my Dad at

they say. This is a tough life lesson to learn, especially to those people like me who grow up taught the principles of honesty and integrity. Think about this saying, “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.” Learn to trust those who deserve your trust and know the one who doesn’t.

Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile?

City String band, Ray Endriss. My father and the men who went up Broad Street before me were certainly the most influential. We wouldn’t have been able to get to Broad Street without their support!

Q: What lesser-known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia? A: The Mummers Museum on Washington Avenue at 1100 S. Second Street.

A: “When You’re Smiling” by

Louis Armstrong and sad goodbyes played to fellow Mummers recalling warm memories, “My Buddy” and “We Will Meet Again.”

Q: Tell us something no one knows about you. A: I feel awkward to dance and one year, the Cuban theme string band routine took some funny spins. But I mastered it!

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2018?

Mummers practices, events and gettogethers. They were like family.

A: Philadelphia Phillies games.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

happy place/your favorite place in the whole world?

A: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

A: Baseball stadium and Mummers on New Year’s Day.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave?

Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols?

Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

Q: What do you consider your

October / November / December 2018

A: One time Captain of Quaker

A: Italian! My wife and I are Irish but she had friends who showed her how to cook the best “gravy” for spaghetti, meatballs and sausage and sides of roasted peppers.


PRH Fall 2018  

Our annual Salute to Service issue. Honoring: Lombardi's Prime Meats, Steve Highsmith, Bob Shannon, Bobby Rydell, and Leon Huff.

PRH Fall 2018  

Our annual Salute to Service issue. Honoring: Lombardi's Prime Meats, Steve Highsmith, Bob Shannon, Bobby Rydell, and Leon Huff.