~ Ancient Fifes and Drums ~

Westbrook Drum Corps 2012

 ~ ~ WHO WE ARE ~ ~       

Deep River, 1955

              ~ ~ ~ What We Are ~ ~ ~

“I’m not sure what ancient is, but I sure do know what it ain’t.” (The late) Larry Kron, drummer for the Minutemen of Long Island (founded 1938).

Ancient fifers and drummers are not reenactors but are traditional musicians whose music, dress, and drill retain vestiges of their eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century military heritage.    Wooden, rope-tensioned drums  remain a constant in Ancient instrumentation, less so the traditional six-hole wooden fife, but thus equipped, Ancient corps are a welcome feature in parades, pageants, and historical commemoratives  throughout New England and beyond.   Musters, a social musical event unique to the Ancients, are held each summer as well and are free for the public to attend and enjoy.  The Connecticut Valley Shore area, where it all started in the mid-nineteenth century, continues to boast the largest number of resident ancient corps, but they can nonetheless be found in several states in the northeast, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, as well as scattered throughout the midwest and elsewhere.   The ancient style of fifing and drumming has also been adopted overseas, most notably in Switzerland.


Each town in the Valley Shore Area of CT (the Inverted L or T that is formed as the Connecticut River drains toward the Sound,  was once home to at least one if not more Ancient style fife and drum corps, many of which survive to today.  Even upriver towns not shown here (Enfield, Warehouse Point, Windsor, for example) have or at one time had Ancient corps in their towns.

This blog is devoted to a better understanding of today’s Ancient community by identifying and preserving the history and traditions that have made us what we are today.  Read a page, check out the posts, make a comment, and write about your own Ancient experience.   Have a question about an old fife or drum? or an old drum corps?  Ask, and we will try to find an answer.  See something at auction that piques an interest?  Share it with us here.  Got a story or reminiscence of days gone by?  Post it here, we’d love to hear it, even if it is only from yesterday. . . it’s all part of what makes the Ancient community tick.

- - - at a Muster near you!


             ~ ~ ~ all summer long at a Muster near you!

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Oh, Scott, don’t be a silly boy. It’s no secret, I’m Sue (who else would write about this stuff?) 🙂

    Although this blog is open to anyone who wishes to post here. The important thing is to get good, reliable information out to the interested public, no matter who writes it.

  2. I am writing a book about the wife of Dr. Ulysses S. Cook, leader of the Moodus Drum and Fife Corps in its earliest days – 1860s to 1920s. Of course, little is written about women in those days. Does anyone know if wives went with the men to out-of-town events? For instance, when Moodus went to the Washington Monument dedication in 1885 – would the wives have gone too? Does anyone have any information how/if wives were involved in the events? If anyone has information on Dr. Cook, I’d be interested.

    • Claire, I really don’t know the answer to your question. Nonmilitary fife and drum corps were relatively new and few at the time, and it was strictly a male activity. However, that does not preclude wives and/or children attending the events with their husbands.

      Best wishes for your endeavor, and do let me know if you find an answer to this interesting question. Thank you for your interest in my blog.

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