Rehearsing for their New Year’s Day strut down Broad Street, the Avalon String band gathered outside the Front Street home of Delores Kubiak late Sunday afternoon. As they have for the past five Decembers, the band presented her with flowers and serenaded the mother of band member Michael Kubiak, Jr., a 17th District Philadelphia Police Officer who died of suicide in 2012.

The Avalon String Band rehearses for their strut down Broad Street by marching down Second Street toward their clubhouse.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Avalon String Band rehearses for their strut down Broad Street by marching down Second Street toward their clubhouse.

A year earlier a high school student Mummer with the JhJ Saints Wench Brigade also died of suicide and the Mummers organized to fundraise scholarship money for suicide awareness. Every year, they award two $2,500 scholarships to high school students. The awardees are selected from a pool of essays written on topics dealing with depression, bullying, and suicide.

Sandy Crouch records the Avalon String Band as they stop to preform for friends and family outside their clubhouse. Crouch's husband Sean, her brother Keven, and nephew Noah all play alto saxophones with the band.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Sandy Crouch records the Avalon String Band as they stop to preform for friends and family outside their clubhouse. Crouch's husband Sean, her brother Keven, and nephew Noah all play alto saxophones with the band.

The Avalon String band then marched to Washington Avenue, then down Second Street, stopping to perform for friends and family outside their clubhouse at Tasker Street. They continued their rehearsal by marching down to Synder Avenue, finishing up in time to watch the second half of the Eagles game.

Mummers around the region are preparing for the 119-year-old New Year’s Day tradition, which starts at 9 a.m. from the judging area near City Hall, heads down Broad Street, and ends at Washington Avenue.

The Avalon String Band marches down South Second Street Sunday as they rehearse for the 2019 New Year's Day Mummers Parade. The band's theme this year is "Hillbilly Hootenanny."
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Avalon String Band marches down South Second Street Sunday as they rehearse for the 2019 New Year's Day Mummers Parade. The band's theme this year is "Hillbilly Hootenanny."