Meet our Instructors for the current season. Instructor lists are finalized and posted each year prior to the start of Camp. 

Erin Ernst

erin ernstErin Ernst is a native of Succasunna, New Jersey. Her initial interest in fife and drum arose from Civil War Reenacting. Erin began playing fife at age 9 with the Colonial Musketeers Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps of Hackettstown, NJ. Erin was a Northeastern Fife Solo Champion from 2008-2010, a Duet Champion in 2008 and 2010, and a Main Stand Champion from 2006-2010. She led the Corps to their victory in 2010 as the Fife Sergeant.

She has performed in the 2010 Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney, Australia, the 2012 Basel Tattoo in Switzerland, and the 2018 Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland with the Middlesex County Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps. She attended Quinnipiac University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience. Erin has been an active member of the Grand Republic Fife and Drum Corps since 2013.

In 2015, Erin won the audition for the The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps where she currently performs as a Fife Musician. Erin has had the opportunity to perform in several White House Arrival Ceremonies, the 2017 Presidential Inauguration Parade, the Basel Tattoo, the Norwegian Military Tattoo, the Invictus Games, and many other notable performances. Her other Corps duties include Public Affairs Officer, Auditions Coordinator and the leader of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps Fife Ensemble. Staff Sgt. Ernst is also a teacher at the Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Camp hosted each summer in Ivoryton, CT, and serves on the main board of instructors to help arrange the camp.


Silvia Gopalakrishnan

Silvia Gopalakrishnan

Silvia Gopalakrishnan started her musical journey in 2009 when she joined the Deep River Junior Fife and Drum Corps. Since then, Gopalakrishnan became a member of the Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band and Americlique, and is a founding member of the Lighthouse Brigade, whose goal is to shine a light on contemporary fife and drum music. 

Gopalakrishnan's compositions have been commissioned for the Valley Regional High School Concert Band, the Deep River Junior fife line, and other ensembles. She is also featured in Emily Barone's Fife Etude and Solo Book. Currently, she is co-orchestrating a new musical, "Oh Fair Maiden," written by Emma J. Smith. Her creations are on display on her Youtube channel, "Silvia Gopalakrishnan".

Gopalakrishnan is pursuing an IB/M music education degree at the University of Connecticut. She is studying flute with Naomi Senzer, and has performed in various ensembles at UConn on flute, piccolo, alto saxophone, and trombone! 


Bill Hart

This is Bill Hart's tenth time teaching at the camp. Bill began fifing in 1969, when his father joined the Colonial Navy of Mass. His first corps was Barton's Raider's of Tiverton, RI. He has been a member of the Independent Light Dragoons, Colonial Navy, the CT Blues, The CT Rebel's, and  the Sailing Masters and is a founding member and director of Ameri-Clique. He has taught several corps junior and senior corps, and is currently the instructor for Deep River, Westbrook and the Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band. His arrangements have been played by numerous fife and drum corps, including the CT Blues, CT Patriots, CT  Rebels and Black River Fife and Drum. He has published two collections of fife arrangements and an exercise book for fifers. He recorded the Company Book II, the Watrous Book and the Sons of LIberty Book for the Company of Fifers and Drummers. He has won individual, duet and quartet medals in CT and Northeastern competition. With Tishka Musco, he created the ensemble the Muster Bunch and recorded the CD "Planxty Pauline". He created the ensemble the Madison Street Project  and produced the CD "The Last Hour". He has produced three CD's of electronic music.


Nolan Lewis

nolan lewis Nolan’s two favorite things in life are music and history. So when he heard about the fife and drum tradition in 2013, he joined Theatiki Fife and Drum Corps right away and began learning the fife from his mentor and corps leader, Dave King.

Nolan is a commissioned composer of instrumental music and has composed several works for fife and drum, one of which, entitled Quarantine Quickstep, was featured on the 2022 album, Center Street Project. Nolan’s most recent commissioned work, Sauk Valley March, will be premiered August 2nd by the Sterling Municipal Band in Sterling, Illinois.

Nolan attended Junior Fife and Drum camp as a student in 2016 and 2017, and returned as a fife intern in 2018. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2021 and has been teaching music ever since. Nolan currently teaches 2nd and 3rd grade general music in Dixon, Illinois.


Karen McGuire

Karen McGuireThis will be Karen McGuire's ninth year teaching at JRFDC – and she is thrilled to be back!  Karen grew up in a New York fife and drum family and was given her first fife at the age of six.  As a member of the competitive junior corps, Good Shepherd, started by her parents, she grew up playing the Kirk Music selected in 2017 for JRFDC – along with many of the tunes heard in jam sessions at fife and drum musters. 

Karen brought her fife with her to Colorado – where she lives – and has stayed active in fife and drum as the founder and principal musician of the Mile High Fife and Drum Corps.  Karen also plays flute in two community bands and teaches elementary school band. She relates to the challenges of new music, fingerings and rhythms, and is excited to help her fife students master the camp music - as they always do.   

Karen’s Theme: Music brings us all together. 


Joshua Robbins

josh robbinsJoshua started playing the fife in 2004, at the age of eight, with the Voyageur Ancient Fife and Drum Corps of Lafayette, Indiana. While a member of the Voyageurs, he became the Fife Sergeant and shortly after, the Drum Major for the corps.

In 2013, he joined the Theatiki Fife and Drum Corps of Bourbonnais, Illinois and performs with them while in the Midwest. He was a camper for three years from 2012-2014 in the ensemble at camp and became a Fife Intern at camp starting in 2015. While adventuring in New England in 2014, he started playing with the Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band.         

Josh has been teaching young fifers since the age of 15 in his junior corps and continues to work with members of his current corps and beyond to further the tradition of fifing and drumming. The Theatiki repertoire currently has one tune that he wrote and he continues to arrange and write music for the corps. Josh also has been playing the flute for ten years and was a section leader and soloist in groups during high school. He is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree, and wants to go to Optometry School afterward.

Snare Drum Instructors

Kyle Forsthoff

Kyle ForsthoffKyle Forsthoff is the Artist/Teacher in Classical Percussion at the University of Rhode Island. Since moving to New England, Kyle has become highly involved in the Fife & Drum community. He plays with Grand Republic and the Kentish Guards, and is a drum instructor for the William Diamond Juniors. He is the 2nd Vice President for the Company of Fifers and Drummers and is also the Chair of the Archives Committee and Curator for the Museum of Fife & Drum. This will be his first year assisting with the Junior Camp.



Peter Mason

peter mason

Peter Mason is a past member of Col John Chester, Portland Fife and Drum Corps, and a few other corps. He was taught by Brendan Mason, David Fontaine, Tim Cecil, Mike Gagnon, and Bill Rotella. He currently plays with Connecticut Patriots, Americlique, and Deep River Seniors. He is a former pastry chef and now the owner of the Mason Jar Drum Company.

Peter has been a past member of the Junior camp since it started and now as an instructor. Some of his most recent adventures include living in Basel in 2016 for two months and playing with Märtplatz Clique for Fasnacht!


Patrick McHale

patrick mchale Patrick began drumming at the age of 10 in the Colonial Musketeers Fife and Drum Corps from Hackettstown, NJ. He played drum set, multi percussion, snare drum, bass drum and quads in multiple high school and college ensembles. He was captain of the Rutgers Drumline from 2014-2017. Patrick marched in both indoor and outdoor drumlines, including United Percussion Indoor 2014, Cadets Winter Percussion Indoor 2015, 7th Regiment in 2012-2013, and the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2016 (section leader in 2015-2016).

Patrick has been teaching since he was 18, across fife and drum, college band, high school band, WGI and DCI. Currently he is a snare technician at United Percussion Indoor and the Boston Crusaders. He is extremely excited to give back to the community and teach the JRFDC in 2023!


Zack Brym

zack brym Zack Brym is a lifelong drummer and percussionist having received his first Cooperman junior snare at age three. Growing up in Guilford, CT, he had his first drum instruction in middle school. Zack got started with traditional snare a few years later in the Junior Colonials. By 18, Zack joined the Ancient Mariners and soon after went off to college at the University of Michigan for degrees in ecology and natural resource management. Zack marched snare in the Michigan Marching Band where he was awarded a year on graduate scholarship. He wrapped up graduate school at Utah State University where he spent some time as drum instructor and lead snare for the USU Pipe Band. Currently, living in Florida, he tours Miami and the Keys in search of jam bands. Of course, once a Mariner always a Mariner.


Bass Drum Instructors

Aarin Brown

aarin brown
Aarin started playing drums at the age of six. He started playing the snare drum with his first corps, the Junior Colonials Fife and Drum Corps.

Later in his career at the age of 15, he made the jump to bass drum. After aging out of his junior corps, he joined the Ancient Mariners Fife and Drum Corps where he continues to play today. Aarin started going to camp when he was very young and after he aged out of camp, he became an intern instructor and then an instructor.


Megan Cordeau

megan cordeau Megan started learning bass drum at 10 years old with the Chester Fife and Drum Corps, and was in the corps for 12 years. In 2018, after graduating college, she moved on to join the Connecticut Patriots Fife and Drum Corps where she plays today!

She graduated college in 2017 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and another in Psychology. Her passion has always been working with children, and she has taught in a daycare for the past 5 1/2 years!

Megan enjoyed 7 years at camp, and loved meeting new people and learning new and challenging music. Megan is so excited to instruct this year at camp and hopes to share her love of fife and drum with the campers!


Mike Dillman

Bio coming soon!


Olivia Handy

Olivia Handy

Liv started learning how to play bass drum after joining the Deep River Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps in 2010 under the instruction of Aaron Beard and Terry Malcarne. After some time in DRJA, Liv took an interest in competing and began lessons with Aarin Brown. She competed at the United States Association of Rudimental Drummers competition in 2018 and 2019, becoming the first female to win the bass drum champion title in 2019.

After graduating out of the Deep River Juniors, Liv became a proud member of the CT Blues! After many years as a camper, Liv is over the moon to join the instructional side of camp and hopes to impact campers as her instructors have impacted her! While Liv is busy pursuing a nursing degree at Rhodes State College in Lima, OH, she remains dedicated to the art of fife and drum.


Colin Mason

Bio Coming Soon!


Drum Major Instructors

Mark Logsdon

mark logsdon

Mark Logsdon has been director of the renowned 1st Michigan Colonial Fife and Drum Corps since he and his late wife, Mary, founded the group in 1974. He has had a long association with the award-winning Stevenson High School Marching Band Drum Line and just recently retired from the position of senior drum instructor there. As a private instructor, Mr. Logsdon has had as many as 60 students per week. His students are consistent award winners and several have gone on to pursue professional careers. He holds the distinction of having had former students play with every major Michigan university marching band, The Old Guard (U.S. Army) Fife and Drum Corps, and many other out-of-state colleges and universities. Mark began playing professionally in 1961. His "Top 40" band was one of the top five bands in the metro-Detroit area until it was disbanded in 1996. Mark has toured in the UK, Canada and many states, including 39 consecutive tours of the Boston area during Patriot's Day festivities in April. With experience producing and recording, Mr. Logsdon has worked on movie soundtracks, commercials and CD projects. In fact, the 1st Michigan's recordings are available on iTunes and other music download services. Mr. Logsdon is currently the 1at Vice President of the Company of Fifers and Drummers and helped found the Michigan Music Association in 1972. He regularly serves as advisor, consultant and clinician for bands, fife and drums corps and instrument manufacturers on a national and international basis. Besides having founded the 1st Michigan, Mr. Logsdon is very proud of the legacy of Freezer Jam that has been held in the Midwest for over 25 years.Though it is geared toward both Adults and Junior Fife and Drum Corps personnel, Freezer Jam has become a “go to” destination for Eastern Corps and has served as the model for other Junior Fife and Drum Corps weekends held in other areas of the country.