Meet our Instructors for the current season. Instructor lists are finalized and posted each year prior to the start of Camp.
Erin 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.
Matt began fifing in 2008 as a Civil War reenactor with the 6th New Hampshire Reg't from Peterborough, NH. Soon after he joined the Milford, NH Fife and Drum Corps where he was first introduced to the world of fife and drum and encouraged to attend Junior Camp in 2009.
In 2011 Matt joined the Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band and in 2015 joined the Grand Republic Fife and Drum Corps, both of which he continues to play with today.
Matt attended camp from 2009-2014 where he improved his skills as a musician and made many great friends. In 2015, Matt came back to camp as an intern and in 2017, he became an instructor.
Matt worked at the Cooperman Fife and Drum Company in Vermont from 2014 - 2017 where he worked on fifes, drums, drum sticks, and historic toys and games.
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!
Candy Guastamachio took an unusual route to the world of fife & drum. She's a flute player with a degree in music and she taught for 3 junior corps (from the late 70s to the early 90s) before ever joining a corps herself. In 1994, her family joined the Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes & Drums. In recent years, she's taught for the Marquis of Granby and has played with Ameri-Clique, the Bluff Point Quahogs, Connecticut Valley Field Music and Nathan Hale.
Candy is a retired public school music teacher. She's taught Band, Orchestra, Choir & General Music in Massachusetts, Connecticut & Vermont. Upon retirement, she left behind the program in East Hartford, Connecticut, where she was very proud of her 165 member marching band. She's also a retired United States Army musician, having spent 21 years as a member of the 94th Army Band. Candy tells musicians that the most important part of any musical activity is to, "Have fun & do your best!"
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.
This 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.
Jessica Salazar began playing the fife in 1991 at the age of 5 as a member of the Junior Colonials under the instruction of Heidi Degree, and later, Jason Malli. At age 10, she joined her parents as a part-time member of the Connecticut Blues, and became a full-time member in 2000, where she was instructed by Tishka Musco. Jessica competed with both the Juniors and the CT Blues winning multiple awards for individual, duet and quartet contests.
In 2008, Jessica graduated from Hamilton College with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. In early 2009, she auditioned for, and won a spot with, the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, where she met her husband, Josh. While in the Corps, she served as one of the Production Staff Fife Arrangers and was in charge of the Fife Ensemble. After serving for over 6 years, Jessica (and Josh) decided to leave the Army and take life’s path in a different direction. She and her family moved back to CT to be more involved with the CT Blues where in addition to playing the fife, she is a fife instructor. Since last summer, Jessica has earned a degree in nursing and is a working nurse!
This is Jessica’s 6th time volunteering as an instructor at Camp and is looking forward to working with another group of talented and energetic musicians!
Joshua 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.
Kim Zullo has been playing fife since she joined the Colonial Musketeers Junior Fife and Drum Corps of New Jersey in the seventh grade. While she was in the Colonial Musketeers, she became an exhibition fifer in the eighth grade, and eventually went on to become the fife sergeant of the corps in 2015. She has taught the younger members for years, and enjoys working with a variety of different fifers. Just this past year, Kim also joined the Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band.
Kim was a camp member for three years, from 2014 to 2016, and she was in the ensemble for all three years. Her final year as a camper, she was the lead fifer. Her instructors included Bill Hart, Chris Szpara, and Chris Lussier, among others.
Along with the fife, Kim enjoys playing flute and piccolo, which she has been doing since the fourth grade. In high school, she played in high school bands and region bands, as well as pit orchestra. She is currently a freshman studying Biology at Rowan University with a double minor in Spanish and Music. She hopes to eventually attend Veterinary School.
Snare Drum Instructors
Cliff Barrows started in fife and drum in 1969 with the Junior Colonials of Westbrook CT as a fifer, and later switched to snare drum. In 1976 he joined the Deep River Juniors where he started competing in individual, duet and quartet contests. He has been a member of the Connecticut Blues Fife and Drum Corps since 1979 and has written a number of the drum charts for the Corps. Cliff’s drum instructor through his junior fife and drum years was Ken Lemley, and he later took private lessons from Jim Clark. Instructors for the Connecticut Blues were Paul Cormier and Dan Mullen, who also provided valuable drumming guidance. Cliff has won numerous Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hudson Valley and Northeastern Championships. In 2005, Cliff, along with Don, Brendan, and Colin Mason won the percussion ensemble category at the DCA World Championships. He still plays with the Connecticut Blues with his wife, Judy, Daughter and Son-in-law Jess and Josh Salazar, and when he is on the east coast, son, Peter Barrows. Cliff enjoys helping out at the Fife and Drum camp and feels it is a very rewarding and enjoyable way to perpetuate the fife and drum tradition.
Bio Coming Soon!
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!
Chris Meade has been playing the drums since a very young age and was introduced to the fife and drum world in the 4th grade. He started out playing with the Colonel John Chester Fife and Drum Corps in Wethersfield, CT. After his junior corps days, he joined the Connecticut Blues Fife and Drum Corps of Middletown, CT. Chris has attended the Junior Camp for the past several years. This is his second year teaching at the camp.
Aside from his many fife and drum endeavors, Chris has also played in two Drum Corps International groups, including the Fusion Drum and Bugle Corps of Morristown, NJ and the 7th Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps of New London, CT while in high school. Chris is currently looking to study music education and teaching drummers for as long as he can.
Bio Coming Soon!
Bio Coming Soon!
Bass Drum Instructors
Simon Andrews started learning to play bass drum with the Warehouse Point Junior Fife and Drum Corps when he was only 5 years old. When the corps folded, he moved to Colonel John Chester Fife and Drum Corps where he played with a great drum line under the direction of the Masons.
After some time away from the ancient Fife and Drum world, he picked up trumpet and played for St. Peter’s Drum and Bugle Corps. He also continued drumming periodically with Yalesville Fife and Drum Corps for a few years. He is now a proud member of the Connecticut Blues Fife and Drum Corps.
Simon is excited to teach at the camp after almost a decade of participating in this wonderful program. He is hoping he can impact young drummers the way the camp impacted him growing up!
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.
Bio coming soon!
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.
Bio Coming Soon!
Drum Major Instructors
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.