Welcome to The Company of Fifers & Drummers second newsletter!

In this publication, we will cover events that have happened over the past few months, important updates, and upcoming events. We are also including content that is new to the website including Feature Member Profile, Along the Frontier (news from the Midwest), and Remembrances.

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Here's what we have for you:

Special Events

Members of the Company of Fifers & Drummers were busy during the fall, providing tours of the museum to distinguished guests, representing the Company at the Big-E, and celebrating our Jaybird community (60+ years of age) at the Fife & Drum Museum. 

English Percussionist visits the Company Museum

A special tour of the Company of Fifers and Drummers Museum was arranged during the 2017 Westbrook Muster weekend. Paul Patrick, Principal Percussionist for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester, England requested to visit and view the exhibits.

Bill Ralston, docent chairman arranged for Paul Patrick to meet with Scott Mitchell, Matt Alling and Jim Clark at the muster field. Paul had an extended conversation with Scott Mitchell on drumming technique and styles and while at the muster viewed performances by the Connecticut Valley Field Music and Grand Republic. He said he was taken with their bass drumming. The rudimental bass drumming of Don Mason and Brian Watkinson was unlike what he sees in England.

paul patrickAt the museum Paul was shown our collection of historic Brown family drums, the Bunker Hill drum, several French drums and the special Sousa trap drum set. He greatly enjoyed viewing the collection of drums, the archives, historic photos of corps and the new display on the swinging panels. Marty Sampson has curated an exhibit featuring the corps that performed this year at the Civil War Troopers Muster.

Paul was also shown the special drum set of the Yankee Tunesmiths. The artwork on their drums is by noted political cartoonist Fred Wright. His artwork can also be viewed in the muster posters for "Drums under the El." This is an additional new exhibit at the museum.

Jim Clark demonstrated some traditional drumming and presented Paul a copy of his book, "Connecticut’s Fife and Drum Tradition".

Matt Alling provided information on the drums in the museum collection and his restoration, cataloguing and photography. He also provided information on the availability of large size calfskin bass drum heads which Paul was seeking.

Paul was delighted that he was able to see the museum collections and exhibits by special arrangement. He met contacts for future conversations and exchange of information.

The Docents Committee seeks to expand outreach with researchers and musicians throughout the fife and drum community and promote our organization. More volunteers are needed for next summer. Please contact Bill Ralston if interested. 203-453-9187.




The Big E

Over 40 fifers, drummers, and color guard represented The Company of Fifers & Drummers in September at the 2017 Big E Exposition in Springfield, MA. Here are some photos from the event!



Jaybird's Day

Jaybirds Day is our annual celebration of our “Old Timers”(technically, anyone over 60 qualifies) in the Fife and Drum community. Below are our three honored Jaybirds: David Tiezzi, Marty Sampson, and David McDonald. 

2017 Honored Jaybirds

A full writeup on the event is available here: 2017 Jaybird's Day

Along the Frontier

Feast of the Hunters' Moon

The 50th Annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon and the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Fort Ouiatenon was held on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st, 2017. This is a premiere event for fife and drum corps in the Midwest. If you have never been, there is a short video in the article to give you a sample of the event.

A full writeup on the event and a video are available here: 50th Annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon.

Featured Member

The Company of Fifers & Drummers is proud to introduce a new section to our website where we have a biography on a member of our community. Our first featured member is Life Member Don Francisco.

Click the image below to read more about Don!

don francisco banner

From the Archives

The Ferrante Collection

On Friday, October 6, 2017, the Company of Fifers and Drummers received a huge donation from Anne Ferrante Ghosh (daughter) of items from the estate of Dr. Arthur Ferrante. The donation consisted of 32 boxes, 2 storage tubs, 5 briefcases, 1 cardboard file cabinet, several bags of hats, 2 signs, a table music stand, and other miscellaneous items.

About half of the Ferrante donation has been properly accessioned, a thank-you note has been sent to Mrs. Ghosh, and all items are now in the Archives. Our collection of LP recordings has doubled, and many important books and artifacts have been added to our collections. We also received perfect copies of the Ferrante Books (3-Volume sets), which we may sell to benefit the Company.

A catalog of the Ferrnate Collection can be viewed in our Archives area. 

Some items from this donation of particular interest to our members include: First editions of all of the Company Books, first editions of the Ferrante Books, copies of the “Flockton Drum Method”, original LP recordings of Dickerson, St. Benedicts, “Colonial Chowder” by Bethpage, and early recordings by Colonial Williamsburg, St. Joseph’s Juniors FDC, Good Shepherd Lutheran FDC, Nathan Hale, Fort Ticonderoga, Tippecanoe, Nathan Hale, Sudbury, and the Village Volunteers.

Some especially interesting (and out of print) books included in the Ferrante Estate are Samuel Bayard’s “Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife”, and “Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War” by Arthur Wise and Francis Lord, as well as many fife and drum manuals.

Boxes of memorabilia, correspondence, and other items remain to be inventoried, but promise to yield a treasure of information for future generations to enjoy.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer in the Archives, training will be offered in April, 2018. Email acting curator Marty Sampson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


This Fall we mourn the passing of two influential and well-loved pillars of our community. 

Dave King

Dave King

Dave King, age 58, of Bradley,IL passed away Sunday, September 17, 2017.

Read more about Dave King

Jack O'Brien

Jack O'Brien

John J. (Jack) O'Brien, 89, a lifelong Hoboken, NJ, resident passed away on October 14, 2017.

Read more about Jack O'Brien

Company Business / Fall Meeting Update

The "Fall Meeting" for the Company of Fifers & Drummers was held on 11/18/17. 14 Member Corps were present either in person or on the phone. This was enough for a quorum and we were able to vote on a new member corps. 

Items of special note:

  • The Fifes and Drums of the Lincoln Minute Men were approved for membership in The Company
  • The 2018 National Muster will be held by the CT Patriots and occur on July 13/14, 2018
  • The Archives received a large donation (40 boxes/bags) from the Art Ferrante Estate
  • Two fife & drum corps will be visiting from Switzerland in July 2018 - The Rhine River Rebels and The Wild Bunch

To see the full details of the meeting, a draft copy of the minutes and committee reports can be found in the members area

Building / Renovation Update

Epoxy Flooring

The renovation of the ground floor continued with the epoxy resurfacing of the floor completed on September 24th and carpeting of the entry completed October 6th, just in time for Jaybirds day on October 7th! The completion of the flooring makes the ground floor usable for Company and Private events. 

thumb Finished Basement


Beverage Cooler

As progress has been made in returning the building to a usable condition after the flood, one of the items that the flood had irreparably damaged was the beverage cooler in the Bar. With the extensive renovations necessary the replacement of the cooler was not seen as a priority for the integrity of the structure, so a separate online donation campaign was set up to fund the purchase of a new cooler. The cooler was fully funded by donations from corps and individuals! It is due to be delivered before Christmas.


Prep Work for Future Renovations

Now that the main area of the ground floor has been renovated, the Building Committee is focusing their efforts on the Sturtze Room and the Administrative Office. A construction cleanout party was held on November 5th and the Sturtze Room, the Office, and a large Storage Closet were prepared for future work. 


Future of Sturtze Room

During the November Executive Committee Meeting, it was decided that a committee should be formed in order to plan the renovation of the Sturtze Room. Brendan Mason agreed to chair the committee and is looking for volunteers to participate on the committee.


Website Update

New Resources 

This fall saw the most significant update to the Company of Fifers & Drummers website since its relaunch in April 2016. The update consisted of moving some key Company assets - The digital archive of the Ancient Times and a library of resources to help Fife and Drum Corps grow from behind a members only area to a Resources section of the public site. 

Now all members of the community have free access to these important resources!

  • Ancient Times Catalog - The Ancient Times is The Company of Fifers & Drummers own publication, and ran uninterrupted between 1973 and 2014. The Archives Committee has worked tirelessly to digitize over 40 years of this publication for your use online.
  • Corps Resources - Defining Your Corps, Marketing Your Corps, and Recruitment (including member retention)


Research Enhancements

In response to requests by researches additional features have been added to the Index of archives holdings online to make them more useful. 

The indexes, tables of detailed information describing each item, now scale dynamically to maintain readability even on mobile devices. The current archive indexes are organized as follows:

  • Ancient Times Articles
  • Music
  • Books
  • Cassette Tapes 
  • LP Recordings
  • VHS/DVD recordings
  • Interview Transcriptions

In addition, more changes were put in to make it easier to find what you are looking for:

  • The tables are now sortable (just click on the column headings to re-sort by that column)
  • The tables can be filtered by typing into the search box (keep in mind that for very large indexes this is a little slower)

These Archives Resources have also been updated to reflect work done by the Archives Committee over the summer. 


Changes to the News Area

The news area has been expanded beyond simple news and announcements to allow multiple categories of interest to the community. 

  • Recent News (across all categories)
  • Newsletter
  • Building Updates
  • Along the Frontier
  • Featured Members
  • Remembrances


The Company of Fifers & Drummers encourages members of the fife and drum community to submit content on a broad range of topics of interest to fifers and drummers everywhere.

Please submit your articles, photos, videos, and any suggestions you may have to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming Events

A period of winter hibernation is upon us, however, the Fife & Drum community is far from quiet. Here are a few of the upcoming events:

Each Monday Night

Make sure you stop by the Fife and Chat on Monday evenings to reconnect with your peers and talk about all things fife and drum. Hosted by Charlie Terzi, Fife & Drum Music Chat is in its 20th year of online discussion. Be it Ancient, Modern or re-enacting, join the conversation on Monday Nights from 7-9 PM ET.



Community Events

You can see these events on the new calendar on our website and our Facebook page.


Company of Fifers & Drummers Meetings

  • Saturday, February 17, 2018
  • Saturday, April 21, 2018
    • Executive Committee Meets at 11:00 AM
    • General Meeting (Corps & Individual Member) Meets at 1:30 PM

Message from the President

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a very quick end.  I could swear I just said this about 2016.  Anyhow, 2017 turned out to be a pretty good year for The Company of Fifers & Drummers.  All in all the parade and muster season was relatively dry, on the outside anyhow.  The DRAM and Westbrook Musters were well rounded with great music and fellowship.  Add to that the National Muster hosted by the Young Colonials and it was a recipe for a musical good time.

The Executive Committee made great progress this year as the club room at the Museum & Headquarters building was finally finished and ready to accept patrons.  We continued to progress through our strategic plan which is helping to shape The Company’s future.  Many committees were active and helped to move The Company forward into the 21st century.  

We will continue with the same prevailing effort and count on more progress as the work continues.  We are always looking for new faces to help.  There is room for you on the committee of your choice.  Share your expertise and help The Company and its museum to be the best it can be.

In closing I would like to wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season.  May you all be blessed for the coming year as we look forward to the 2018 marching season. Take the time to volunteer and remember, it’s your Company and your Museum.     

In the Spirit,

Kevin Brown, President