DRAM 2012: The Parade

The Deep River Ancient Muster was one to be proud of this year.   Only 55 corps (and 1 pipe band) — smaller than I remember it — but nonetheless they all descended upon this small CT River Valley town, as they do every third weekend in July, to enjoy two days of good music with fine friends.  Friday’s rain, which made setting up difficult and threatened the weekend’s activities, gave way on Saturday to fine, sunny weather — a welcome change from the usual midsummer heat and humidity.  And thus the festivities began.

A little background for those who may not know:  A muster is simply a weekend gathering of fife and drum corps and friends of same.  While some musters are bigger than others, they all more of less follow a prescribed structure, which may include pre-muster events held on Friday night but always include a Saturday parade through the town led by the host corps, which is followed by an afternoon of performances by each corps in attendance (“on stand”).  The last one to take the stand is a rather free-form en mass group (“F-Troop”) whose stand piece is a spontaneously chosen rousing rendition of a traditionally favored muster tune, after which it devolves into a jam session (“jollification”) lasting into the wee hours of the morn or as long as there are at least 1 fifer and 1 drummer still standing (or until the cops shut us down).  Either way, it’s all good.  Here is the parade, just before turning onto Devitt Field.



The Fyfes and Drumms of Olde Saratoga, listed as from “Upstate New York”. . . hey, you can’t get away without doing the parade — we know where you live!!!

Second Company Governor’s Footguard, New Haven, CT —  Where were you, and where did you hide all those bearskins????

Warehouse Point, I *know* I saw you, but not in the parade. . . ?

East Hampton Fifes and Drums?  Village Volunteers?  Germantown?  Marlborough?   Menotomy?  Where were you?

Our hosts, the Deep River Drum Corps, Deep River, CT, founded 1878.

Deep River Juniors. . .The Ancients believe that we ought to keep our kids ON the streets, where they belong. . .

Connecticut Blues, Durham, CT

Color guard of the Stony Creek Ancient Fife and Drum Corps (near Branford, CT). . . counted a few of the Tobacco Valley Gang in there — congrats to their Little Lawyer Jackie, who made it all the way from California!.

Bethpage Colonials, LI, NY, with friends from the Troopers, NY Ancients, and Coldenham (all of NY)

New Jersey Field Music, once home to the Duke and the Doc. . . if you don’t know who they are, ask an old-timer.

Bluff Point Quahog Diggers Band. . . none of whom are from Bluff Point, because if they were they couldn’t dig clams (aren’t any out there in the Finger Lakes. . . ), mostly from Massachusetts

The Connecticut Patriots Senior Ancients, Plainville, CT. New uniforms!

Grand Republic Fife and Drum Corps from Southbury, CT. Note the first line of fifers, balanced by a Benoit at each end. . .bookends?

Westbrook [CT] Drum Corps, founded in 1910. They have their own great muster every 4th weekend in August, don’t miss it!

Yankee Volunteers, Seekonk, MA

Lancraft Fife and Drum Corps, North Haven, founded 1888, who *almost* lost their Moeller drums some 50ish years ago. . .

No coats???? Is it *that* hot??? . . . but they did indeed don their continentals on stand, playing Sturtze’s Rudimenter.

Color Guard of the Ancient Mariners, Guilford, CT. . .missing so many of their founding members — Classy, Ott, Watrous — and so many others, but most of all Ed Olsen, without whose foresight there would be no Mariners and certainly no DRAM. . .

. . .so when I first saw him break ranks and start jumping up and down, waving his arms, and yelling, I thought it was just part of The Mariner’s Show. . . turns out he parked his car in the tow zone. . .

. . . surprised he didn’t talk himself right into a ticket for disorderly on top of the tow charges. . .nicest cop EVER!

Chester Fife and Drum Corps, Chester, CT, founded 1868. Its leader, Dan Silliman, is said to have been taught to drum by a freed slave. Playing the part of Dan Silliman, Drum Major, today is Frenchy. . . don’t ask “Frenchy who,” it’s just Frenchy.

Adamsville Ancients from Delmar, NY.

Milford Volunteers from Milford, CT, just a few weeks out from their own muster in June.

Camden Continentals, Camden NY. Have to say, missed the sweet, off-pitch sounds of our old friend, Frank N. Fife, but maybe we can coax him to make a cameo appearance come October. . .

Say what?? We’re next????

Yes you are, so beat feet, boy, and get in line! Moodus Drum and Fife Corps, founded 1860. . .

. . . playing the same drums in the same way as did their founders so many years ago.

Taggart Pipe Band, Deep River, CT. Always at DRAM. . . and Westbrook. . .

Yalesville Senior Fife and Drum Corps, Yalesville [Wallingford] CT, founded 1879.

Westbrook Juniors, Westbrook, CT

Colonial Musketeers Senior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, Hackettstown, NJ. . looks like a few juniors are helping out, too. . . seniors??? You mean there IS life after age 18??? Who’da thunk it!

Black River Fife and Drum Corps. . . they say they’re from New England and New York, which is a nice way of saying their members come from just about anywhere. . . and how would you expect anything but “nice” from David and Kathy? Love you two!

Windsor Fife and Drum Corps, Windsor, CT. . . Fran, these kids did you proud today!

Colonial Navy of Massachusetts, Fall River, MA. Counted 2 Bill Harts and at least 1 Walt Sweet in the lines. . .

You can always tell where Jim Smith has been from the drum corps he has left behind. . . Tippecanoe Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, Lafayette, IN. Led admirably by Malcolm Duncan.

Sailing Masters of 1812, Essex, CT

Colonel John Chester Fife and Drum Corps from Wethersfield, CT. . . home to a pile of Masons, until they all grew up and joined the Patriots. . .

Looks like AA Sherman Field Music, Uxbridge, MA. Pay no attention to the Tobacco Valley Gang fifer who snuck in there, anything from Uxbridge means it’s unique Emerick combination of history and quality. . . miss you, Benny!

Kentish Guards, Greenwich, RI. A little out of the Valley, but in an area rich in musical history. . .heard some of that today on stand. . .

3rd Maine Infantry, Yarmouth, ME, with a little help from friend Bruce Syarto, ex-Lincoln Street School and now sunny Florida.

Marquis of Granby, Granby, CT. . . the only fife and drum corps that can say “we were founded by The Pope!”

Totoket Ancients (and friends), Branford, CT

Uniforms from the Civil War, hats from the Quaker Oat Man. . . CT Valley Fifes and Drums, Middletownish, CT.

Speaking of Jim Smith, here he is leading the Monumental City Ancients, Baltimore, MD.

Fifes and Drums of Yorktown [VA]

William Diamond Juniors Fife and Drum Corps, Lexington, MA. . . aptly named, I think!

Ah, the skillful baton-work of the one and only Billy Pierpont leading the Mattatuck Drum Band from Waterbury, CT

Lovely group, interesting uniforms, all the way from Colorado.

Have no clue. . .some type of alumni corps?

Chefs? Admirers of Young Dr. Kildare? Nope, it’s the Ameri-Clique of New Britain, CT

Looks like Sudbury Ancients to me.

From way up north by Middletown. . . yes, a state as small at CT does indeed have a “north,” it just takes less time to get there.

Vic’s Kids all grown up and keeping the spirit alive.

Another one of those northern corps, the Higganum-Haddam Fifes and Drums. . . for whom the trip to Deep River is, oh, I’d say maybe 10 minutes. . .

Don’t know who they are, but their drums look nice, don’t they?

Color guard leading the Colchester Continentals from Colchester, CT. Lots of old Marlborough in here!

Connecticut Rebels, Danbury (or thereabouts) CT.

The 4-Her’s, helped out by their Quahog friends. Not sure exactly where they are from, somewhere around Boston’s North Shore, I think.

Fifes and Drums of the Delaware Militia. Newark, DE.

What looks like a butt-view of people taking pictures is actually the approach of F-Troop. It was huge this year, extending down the road as far as one can see. . .

. . . getting closer, but they still extend down the road as far as one can see. . .

. . . if you look to the left of the speed limit sign past the trees, you can see the ambulance marking the end of F-Troop. . . if you haven’t heard “Downfall” or “Jaybird” or “Rally” played by about 500 fifers and drummers, then you simply must make it to the next DRAM, my friend!

4 thoughts on “DRAM 2012: The Parade

    • Yeah, Bill, I know. There’s also a Bluff Point in NY near Keuka Lake (one of the Finger Lakes). But isn’t the corps itself from some landlocked area in central Massachusetts (like in or around Fitchburg)?

      I’m sure Ellen named the corps for her memories of Groton — my kids were in Nutmeg, too, many (!) years ago.

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