Two Fralinger Legends Retire in 2009

Captain Bill Bowen Jr. and Presentation Director
Mike Rayer

Bill Bowen Jr. – Captain Emeritus

Bill celebrated his twenty-seventh consecutive parade as Captain of the Fralinger String Band in 2009. A phenomenal performer and tireless worker, he has won twenty-six Captain’s prizes including ten first prize awards in this category. He is the most successful captain in String Band history, an esteemed honor.

Bill also served as a Trustee of the band, assistant to the Presentation Director, Theme Committee member and principal coordinator of all prop and scenery production. Previously, he was a longtime member of the Costume committee and is a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees. An indefatigable leader, this captain is equally popular with the older and younger members, musicians and marshals, and is a solid influence in the band operation.

Bill joined Fralinger in 1965 on the same day as another famous leader, Mike Rayer. He is a member of the String Band Hall of Fame, and his continued success as Captain has a direct relationship with his dedication and loyalty to the band and its members.

A general painting contractor, he resides with his wife, Barbara, on South Second Street right in the heart of mummery.

Mike Rayer – Presentation Director Emeritus

Mike Rayer has been the band’s tenured Presentation Director since 1974 and his thirty-four consecutive years in this position is by far the longest of any drillmaster in the history of string bands.

Through the years he has produced some of the most entertaining and astounding string band presentations ever witnessed. If you poured Cecil B. DeMille, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bob Fosse into one pot you would have a Rayer salad, he is that effective. Each year he creates a story line for the selected theme and then develops the drill, dance, staging, props and scenery to creatively integrate these elements into the music arrangement. His abilities are wide-ranging and his artistic skills unlimited, but his superior asset is the fact that he is such a wonderful instructor, organizer and master communicator. No one does it better.

Mike joined Fralinger in 1965 with his life-long friend, Bill Bowen Jr. He is a member of the String Band Hall of Fame, and was a high school teacher in the Southeast Delco School District since 1972, where for over thirty years he has produced and directed stage musicals and plays, thus blending his professional life into his beloved Fralinger avocation. He retired from the School District in 2009.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in American History and Education from Saint Joseph’s University and his Master’s Degree in Counseling from Villanova University. He is a member of the Pennsylvania State Association Board of Curriculum, Development and Supervision.

Mike and his wife, Maryanne, also a high school teacher, reside in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.