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View Full Version : Brass bands or fife and drums?



John Legg
06-27-2006, 03:12 PM
i love fife and Drums

flattop32355
06-27-2006, 08:16 PM
The fewer the instruments, the fewer the sour notes.

I've yet to hear a really good brass band at a reenactment (Yeah, yeah, I know; I'm going to the wrong events). Most likely, it's a combination of not playing together very often and lack of practice on the instruments. It's not like it's their full time job.

Right after I get better at knowing the infantry bugle calls and drum calls, I've got to learn some period songs to sing on the march.

John Legg
06-27-2006, 08:35 PM
yeah, since im a drummer of course i LOVE fife and Drums LOL, but yeah theres is a lack of "good brass bands" in michigan. i meen there is the 5th regimental brass band, but they use too many modern instruments, for example a silver trombone!!! LOL but yeah i would Love to see a Really good brass band!!!


Cheers,

Kimmel
06-27-2006, 08:42 PM
I enjoy a good brass band... me being a trumpeter and a bugler I'm bias toward the band.

theknapsack
06-27-2006, 10:55 PM
I love both, but I'm gonna have to go with Brass Bands, there is a lack of them at local events.

Jari
06-28-2006, 04:43 AM
On Wednesday, June 28, at 6:00 pm (Eastern time), The Federal City Brass Band will give a one-hour concert on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

This performance is free and open to the public for any who are in the area
and want to brave the traffic (and the weather) to attend - keep in mind
that Kennedy Center parking is not free, however. But for those who cannot make it, this performance will also be available on the Internet as a live web cast, and then can be accessed afterwards from their archives of past performances if you miss hearing it live. The web address is
http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/schedule.html Feel free to pass this information along to anyone else who might be interested.

Our performance is in conjunction with the opening of the Kennedy Center summer musical, Little Women, based on the book by Louisa May Alcott. We are very pleased to have been invited to perform authentic Civil War music to set the mood for this special occasion.

The FCBB has been to a number of events. For the most part we do not sleep in a motel and come to play at the event. We have been known to get down and dirty with the boys (Paynes Farm for example) and have enjoyed the support and reception from those who have heard us.

I agree. Not enough brass bands at events. Especially in light of the early war re-enactments. At the beginning of the war almost every regiment had a brass band with them. Congress changed the authorization in 1862 that wiped out about 2/3 of them. We (the FCBB) work real hard at trying to achieve the correct sound and appearance of a band. Not only Union but with our 26th NC Band. Vist our website and check us out.


Best

Jari

Lee Ragan
06-28-2006, 09:40 AM
There is a pretty good Confederate brass band in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Their name escapes me right now, but I've heard them at several Texas events over the years.
Over in New Mexico, they have a federal band, The New Mexico Territorial Brass Band. They are excellent. Both of these bands use period instruments (as far as I know), and both are very good. The New Mexico based unit does use a lot of females dressed as male soldiers which somehow distracts from the "look", but otherwise I like them.

RJSamp
06-28-2006, 10:03 AM
The fewer the instruments, the fewer the sour notes.

I've yet to hear a really good brass band at a reenactment (Yeah, yeah, I know; I'm going to the wrong events). Most likely, it's a combination of not playing together very often and lack of practice on the instruments. It's not like it's their full time job.


Spoken like a true nonmusician....
1. you were at McDowell and didn't listen to the Federal City Brass Band perform? OUCH. And yes, they are professionals and play musical instruments as their full time job.

2. Just heard Saxton's Cornet band perform at Conner Prairie, IN. SUPERB. They were the one's who trooped the Division line at Perryville 2002.

3. Regimental Band played at Wauconda last year, not a bad group. Even campaigned it at the Chick-A-Dusty 1999. Great Musician's.

4. Don Hubbard Field Music school features superb musicianship....brass, fife, drum, (and some bugling...).....as well as infantry guard mounts and skirmish drill by the bugle

Considering the number of high quality bands at lowly farb fests and cph events alike....including Fife and Drum Corps....just what events are you going to?

Their is a dearth of just about everything at events.....horse, mules, wagons, numbers of rifles, and SCALED RATIO's of men, rank, and material. Their isn't a dearth of officer's commanding too few troops. If it's one band per 600+ rifles early war....or 1,400+ rifles after August 1862....then you shouldn't see a band at your local wooly worm festival or cph LH/EBUFU event.

Still waiting for a mounted cavalry band......maybe we can do this at the Morgan's raid? The big problem is the lack of low brass and mounted players......I can get together 6 cornets.....but no oom pah for the oom pah pah band.

Bernie, next time you are at an event that has one of the FINEST American Civil War bands playing several concerts, including one in the battle field near (less than 100 yards) from where you personally were resting on your keister....listen to it! You just flunked listening to ACW brass bands 101 and are at the tail end of the class.


RJ Samp

Brandon313
06-28-2006, 01:35 PM
my unit has a fine brass band, but i have to say i am partial to the ol' fife and drum sounds of the march!

tompritchett
06-28-2006, 01:54 PM
i am partial to the ol' fife and drum sounds of the march!

I agree. I personally enjoy classcial brass and some Sousa but am not a fan of brass during a march. Reminds me too much of a parade which for me means a show Army and not a fighting Army. This is a personal prejudice that goes back to my experiences and perceptions. Most pretty boy officers and sticklers for appearance I encountered were p*ss poor field officers.

Chuck A Luck
06-28-2006, 02:17 PM
The fewer the instruments, the fewer the sour notes.

Truth. However, the more the instruments the less a few sour notes are heard. I've heard Jari's Federal City Brass Band at Ft. McHenry, as well as the contingent they fielded at McDowell and then Payne's Farm last year, and they truly sound wonderful. The Wildcat Band, if you are lucky enough to catch them, are also very talented.

I love a good fife & drum, but I had to vote for Brass, mostly due to the outstanding quality and talent of the FCBB.

flattop32355
06-28-2006, 08:13 PM
Bernie, next time you are at an event that has one of the FINEST American Civil War bands playing several concerts, including one in the battle field near (less than 100 yards) from where you personally were resting on your keister....listen to it! You just flunked listening to ACW brass bands 101 and are at the tail end of the class.

At McDowell on Saturday, I had spent all morning and into the afternoon on guard duty. That was followed immediately by being sent out on a foraging mission so our officers could have honey and butter with their issued rations. While not finding any honey or butter, we did find Confederate bushwhachers, and had to chase them up a very, very steep hill until we drove them down and captured them. Twenty minutes later, we were off to battalion drill, followed by the battle. By the time we were honored with the brass band (while in formation, not sitting), all I wanted to do was get out of formation, off my feet and collapse on the ground and sleep. All work and no rest makes this soldier a pissy soldier.

Jari
06-29-2006, 12:23 PM
my unit has a fine brass band, but i have to say i am partial to the ol' fife and drum sounds of the march!
__________________
Brandon Gadwah
Pvt. 26th NC


The 26th NC Band is like Don Hubbard used to say the Evil Twin of the Federal City Brass Band. When not doing the Union Blue we are portraying the 26th NC Band, a wonderful group of Moravian musicans who had one of the best bands in the CSA. We had a great time with the 26th NC boys at Gettysburg last October when they came up to vist their sacred ground.

and we were the band (in blue) at McDowell.....

We seem to be everywhere......

I will say I personally like the sound of a good fife and drum corps doing the morning Reveille like the group at Ft Delaware. Graet to hear them instructors laying it down!

Jari

theknapsack
06-29-2006, 01:20 PM
RJ,

How'd you like the brass band that was over at Connor Prarie?

Riley

sigman
06-29-2006, 03:02 PM
Mifflin Guard sometimes marches with 28th PA brass ensemble. The fife and drums alternate with brass band on the march. It's pretty awesome as both groups can play well on the march.

Hardtack Herring
07-06-2006, 10:31 PM
I like Fifes and Drums of course!

Perhaps you have heard us play at recent events such as Paynes Farm, Harpers Ferry, Port Republic and this next weekend look for us at Rich Mountain.

To see a few video clips of part our group visit.

www.putfile.com/libertyhall

Mich8th
07-06-2006, 10:56 PM
The Fife and Drum is the most excelent yet fearful thing to hear. Just think you hear the drums first then the sound of fifes, before you know it the enemy is in site. I do however enjoy the brass also but for a battle the drum and fife take it all. Also waking up to a drum and fife gets you right out of your slumber. But after a long days march and a little down time the Brass soothes you to sleep. This is a hard question can you tell? But I did go with the Fife and drums for the vote.

NHVsaxhorn
07-08-2006, 10:29 AM
Being a bandsman in a brass band, actually, 3 different brass bands, my vote in not hard to figure out. However, good fifes and drums are a soul stirring also. Someone said they are " not a fan of brass bands on the march" and " it looks too much like a parade".....and they've " never heard a good brass band"......well, I'm one of those bandsmen who has played on the march. Perhaps he should have been there, or just ask the 26th North Carolina boys who were at Gettysburg last October, doing a living history on the battlefield.....when the band led that regiment back to camp. About a half mile out, we struck up DIXIE and a holler and whoop went up from the ranks like I've never heard......ranks " on the march"........or when we marched towards General Lee's statue playing " Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginia"..........or when we marched towards the North Carolina Monument playing the " 26th North Carolina Quickstep".....BRASS band tunes all!!!!
OR perhaps ask the boys who were with the 151st New York at Paynes Farm last October......five or six mile march, with packs........we played ON THE MARCH......and just as 140+ years ago, we were told that we lifted their spirits, lightened their load...gave them something to think about besides their sore feet, playing " Old Joe Hooker" " General Birney's Quickstep " " Battle Cry of Freedom".........or when we marched out on Sunday morning to line up, Confederate on one side, Federal on the other and the band played " Abide with Me'........grown men with tears running down their cheeks......it's not a ' parade"........it's " Music on the March" as the regimental history of the 114th Pennsylvania is entitled. Written by their bandmaster. 114th Pennsylvania...Collis Zouaves.
having spent the last two years researching at the Library of Congress several days a week, modern day reenactors may have varied opinions based on a weekend in the field, but the real boys, 140 years ago LOVED their brass bands.......if you'd like stories I'll tell you some. Chapter and verse, page after page, regiment after regiment.
Hope you get to read this and I'm not censored again.

Ol'Hickory
07-08-2006, 11:49 AM
I like fife and drums more

NHVsaxhorn
07-08-2006, 12:52 PM
From the diary of Sam Mickey, leader of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band:
" on retreat from Gettysburg, the band serenaded General Lee and other officers. After the serenade to General Lee, Colonel Taylor, his Adjutant came out of his tent and made a little talk. He said he didn't know how they would get along without bands, that they cheered up the men so much, and that he noticed our style of music was different than other bands in the Army. ( Original instrumentation: 1, Eb cornet, 2 Bb cornets, 2 Eb alto horns, 2 Bb tenor horns, 1 Eb bass saxhorn)
From A Johnny Reb Band From Salem by Harry Hall

joe_korber
07-09-2006, 06:22 PM
From the diary of Sam Mickey, leader of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band:
" on retreat from Gettysburg, the band serenaded General Lee and other officers. After the serenade to General Lee, Colonel Taylor, his Adjutant came out of his tent and made a little talk. He said he didn't know how they would get along without bands, that they cheered up the men so much, and that he noticed our style of music was different than other bands in the Army. ( Original instrumentation: 1, Eb cornet, 2 Bb cornets, 2 Eb alto horns, 2 Bb tenor horns, 1 Eb bass saxhorn)
From A Johnny Reb Band From Salem by Harry Hall

fifer, been a fifer for about 25 years, spent two of the coldest evenings in the field one could wish for, as part of the recreated 151st NY (amen)... both nights I was serenaded by my comrades in the federal city brass. That made the cold seem insignificant. Finest mess I ever campaigned with. had more sand than alot of folks. If any brass band had the stones they have and still played like that... Brother I vote brass band...love my fife but stars spangled banner and hail columbia on a cold morning with the mist rising as the frost melts in the dawn sun. bring a lump to a grown man's throat
ask anyone who was there

joe Korber
principal musician 119th NY

RJSamp
07-10-2006, 10:16 AM
RJ,

How'd you like the brass band that was over at Connor Prarie?

Riley

AWESOME. They are extremely 'tight' which is a wonderful compliment for any musical group. They were at Perryville 2002 as well and did yeoman's work for the Divisional Review/change of command of the First Federal Division.

As a trumpeter, you always love the brass bands....and as a former competitor (either to be first chair, audition for a spot in the band, or state competitions for performance on solo or ensemble/band) you learn to discriminate/grade/judge performances. Saxton's is a superb group of brass musician's.

Just finished up with Wauconda IL. Mississippi Valley Fife and Drum (Steve Smunt) did superbly in camp and battle......they really know how to stir the troops blood....as well as get the spectators excited. Rusty Ayers and his Regimental Band performed on Saturday. A couple of our buglers joined them on cornet and Eb Alto. Our own 'woodshed' band played the 26th NC band book and some 1800-1850 hymns and more 'aggressive' orchestral pieces over the weekend.... wouldn't say we are any good (time to stick to bugling and/or our day jobs)...but the troops and spectators enjoyed our spirited efforts and tunes.

Plenty of diary recordings of 'bad' bands at the front ....some being simply quite dreadful.

Good musicians, like good horses, mules, wagons, and horse drawn artillery are in short supply at reenactments.......