Jaybirds Day 2017 is in the books, and we are overjoyed to have the event return back to its home at the Company of Fifers & Drummers HQ and Museum in Ivoryton, CT. Jaybirds Day is our annual celebration of our “Old Timers”(technically, anyone over 60 qualifies) in the Fife and Drum community, and this year's event lived up to the buildup.

Dodie McGrath and Jeanie Lyons were on hand to check everyone in

Close to 70 people gathered together the first weekend of October to celebrate our Jaybirds on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day! The morning started with coffee and donuts in the newly reopened bar area. Everyone who came in was registered by Dodie McGrath and Jean Lyons. These two have been doing the registration for years! (Jeanie’s husband Sonny was the chair of the first Jaybirds Committee)

Shortly after people arrived, the jam session started up. It continued throughout the day while people ate food, visited with friends, enjoyed a cold beverage at the bar, and toured the building and museum.

At 3pm the festivities moved inside to honor Jaybirds who were nominated by the community for their contributions to the fife and drum community.

Honored Jaybirds

This year we honored three Jaybirds who have been instrumental in the growth of our Fife & Drum Community. These individuals were nominated by their friends and peers in the community.

 Our honored Jaybirds for 2017 - Dave Tiezzi, Marty Sampson, and Dave McDonald

David Tiezzi has been in the Ancient Mariners since the 80’s. Although not a fifer or drummer, he lends his voice to the Chanteymen and is on the “Boarding Party.” He started a junior fife and drum corps at St. John’s Church in Old Saybrook, CT. Many of whose members went on to become some of the finest musicians in the drum corps world today.

Marty Sampson has a long career with the California Consolidated Fife & Drum Band. She devotes 6 weeks at a time each summer to the organization and maintenance of the Archives.

David McDonald started in North Branford Fife & Drum Corps, then joined Stony Creek, then the Old Guard. In 1976 he joined The Ancient Mariners and the rest is history!

Everyone gathered in the Museum to honor the Jaybirds


Behind The Scenes

Lots of Grilling outside!

This day would not have been possible without the help of dozens of volunteers! A big thanks to the following individuals and all who made the day possible:

  • Master of Ceremonies, Bartender, and Event Organizer - Neil O’Brien
  • Bartender and Food Prep/Organization - Pam Sokolosky
  • Registration & Sign In - Dodie McGrath and Jeanie Lyons
  • Grill - Jan and Pauline Maffesoli
  • Bartender - Kevin Brown
  • Event Setup and as-needed assistance - Dan Riley Jr., Michael Riley, Kyle Forsthoff, George Kubicek, Scott Mitchell, Judy Barrows, Corinne Mitchell


By the Numbers

39 Jaybirds

27 Adults

9 Juniors

Oldest Jaybird: Lee Zuidema


Photo Gallery

It was a perfect day to celebrate our Jaybirds! Mark your calendars for next year - October 6, 2018 - and all the years to come. Jaybird's day is always the first Saturday in October!