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Palmyra/Macedon has a superb fife and drum corps---Towpath Fife and Drum Volunteers. This is an exceptional group of young people and their adult mentors. Here is a little history of fife and drum from Wikipedia... Fifes are an ancient instrument, referred to in Europe as the "Schweizerpfeife", or Swiss flute. Fifes have been in use by armies (in its modern form) since the 16th century. Fifes originally accompanied companies of men providing music on the march, usually songs from home. Drums have always had a military role going far back into history. The rise of the modern army begins in the late 16th and evolves throughout the 18th century. Drilling to precise and increasingly complicated geometric movements, armies adapted and trained drummers and fifers to signal preparatory alerts and execution signals as well as times of days for the troops. It became customary for each company of 100 or so men to be assigned 2 fifers and 2 drummers to sound signals, hours and alarms, as well as play popular music on the march. This pattern was also practiced in the U.S. services from the Revolutionary War up until the late 19th Century. When the companies of a Regiment or Battalion were gathered together, it was customary to assemble the fifes and drums from all the companies into a 'band' to march at the head of the column on parade. When a regimental military band (woodwinds and brass) were also present, the fifes and drums marched at the head, followed by the military band. This is still the custom with British Regimental bands. To this day, the drum major's preparatory command to move a British Army band is, "Band and Drums...". This is referring back to the segregation of the fifes and drums as a separate entity from a military band. Fifes have always been an infantry musical instrument. Assigned at the company level with 1-2 fifes and 1-2 drums per company (or formed as a band at the regimental level), fifes and drums were used to regulate the daily activities of the troops. They signaled when the troops should rise in the morning and retire at night, when to eat, when to assemble, and to sound an alarm. The infantry used the side drums (snare/field, long drum/tenor drum and the bass drum). When detached to the companies, the drummers used only side drums. Cavalry and Dragoon (mounted infantry) units never used them. The only remaining fife and drum corps in the American Military is the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, who are attached to The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, a ceremonial Army unit based out of Ft. Myer, VA.


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