July 14, 2006
Colonial Williamsburg Fifes And Drums Release July Fourth CD
The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg have recorded a new CD of Fourth of July music performed live on Market Square July 4, 2005. The music includes a salute to each of the 13 original colonies and concludes with “The Star Spangled Banner” and the sound of fireworks.
Selections on the recording include contemporary arrangements of pieces dating to the 17th century. Lively dance tunes mix with spirited medleys and favorites such as Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks,” published in 1749. For this recording, the Junior and Senior Fifes and Drums are joined by the New Bern (N.C.) Baroque Trumpet Ensemble for a number of selections.
Fifers and drummers were an important part of the 18th-century military. With the onset of war in 1775, Virginia began to train an army to defend against a British invasion. In addition to enlisting soldiers and stockpiling arms, Virginia trained fifers and drummers to work with soldiers in the field. In the 18th century, fifers and drummers were boys usually between the ages of 10 to 18.
Today, the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums (also known as the Field Music of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment) carry forward this tradition of military music. Boys and girls are drawn from a waiting list of community applicants, begin their education in military music at age 10, practice weekly, and participate in hundreds of performances per year until they graduate from high school.
“The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg 4th of July Concert” is available at the WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers, The Craft House and Everything Williamsburg in Merchants Square, or call 1 -800-HISTORY.