“They’re going to know who we are.” Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps heads to Colonial Williamsburg


BRANFORD — It’s the best of the best. It is a spectacle of dazzling precision, moving sounds, shrill fifes, thundering drums.

On Saturday May 21, the Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps will be among elite bands from across the country to perform at Drummers Call at Colonial Williamsburg, the annual showcase for fife and drumming.

The event coincides with Armed Forces Day, which falls the week before Memorial Day.

The Corps has performed everywhere in its 146-year history: at President Eisenhower’s inaugural parade in 1957 and at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. The group won first prize at the International Music Competition in Limerick, Ireland in 1980, performed at the ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Statue of Liberty in 1985 and appeared at Lincoln Center in New York in 2002.

This is without counting the last trip to Ireland in 2018, which included participation in the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin.

But it’s different. For the 26 members who boarded the bus early Wednesday morning outside their home at Seaside Hall in Stony Creek, “it’s huge,” said Ken Avery, Corps spokesman and bass drummer.

The host of the event will be the legendary Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums.

“They’re known for their top-notch musicianship and historical authenticity,” Avery said. “Everything they do is to a T, their uniforms, their music – they play the rightful notes of that period.”

Even the age of the members matches the story.

“Before radios, telephones, or drones, the unique frequencies of the fife and drum were chosen for their ability to carry long distances and cut through the fury of battle,” a passage on www.colonialwilliamsburg.org bed.

The musicians, “generally between the ages of 10 and 18, marched with each company”.

This is the case of the body of Williamsburg.

“Rumor is there’s a waiting list to get into this group from when the kids are born,” Avery said with a chuckle. “That’s how elite they are.”

Not that the Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps members making the trip are intimidated.

They’re used to tough challenges, regularly braving the mind-numbing heat in the countless parades they’ve taken part in over the years.

Not to mention renovating their 125-year-old Seaside Hall headquarters in 2010. Instead of accepting a large state grant, they opted to raise their own funds from various civic organizations, raising the structure with cement pillars, replacing the deteriorated foundation. , and otherwise bring the building up to code.

Above all, they are ready, according to Avery.

With virtually no parades or gatherings for two years, “we’ve had time to sit down and regroup a bit,” he said. “Believe it or not, we are more organized now than in 2019.”

Then there is their unique sound.

“We’re known for our bass drum thunder, so I think it’ll definitely wake them up, for sure,” Avery said. “We’ve got a big running body, so by the end of the day they’ll know who we are.”

While Connecticut has the most fife and drum corps than anywhere else, he says, “when people think of fife and drum corps, they don’t really think of Branford, they think of the Deep River Muster.” , the oldest and largest gathering of fife and drum participants and enthusiasts in the world.

“It could change that,” he said, adding that it would also provide an opportunity to recruit groups for a long-awaited national rally in Branford in August.

Avery said they are expecting up to 35 drum corps, including bands from Ireland and Los Angeles. The parade route will stretch from Eel Pot to Hammer Field.

For now, however, the focus is on Colonial Williamsburg’s famous storefront.

“It will give us a chance to see how we compare to groups across the country,” Avery said. “And hopefully put us on the map.”

To make a tax-deductible donation to Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps, visit https://stonycreekdrumcorps.org/.


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