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April 14, 2009

CW's Fifes and Drums joined by units across the country for Drummer's Call Weekend May 15-17

Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums and guest fife and drum units from across the country perform military field music during special programs for Drummer’s Call Weekend, May 15-17.

The weekend kicks off 8 p.m. Friday, May 15 with Successful Campaign at Colonial Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre. The Fifes and Drums and the Connecticut Valley Field Music present a concert of patriotic fife and drum music from the 18th and 19th centuries. Cost is $8 for adults and youth ages six to 17 and children under six are free.

Tickets can be purchased at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet or at the Kimball Theatre, which is located in downtown Williamsburg’s Merchants Square. The Kimball Theatre box office is a half-hour prior to any program. For more information, contact the Kimball Theatre Box office at (757) 565-8588 or visit

On Saturday, May 16, Colonial Williamsburg honors Armed Forces Day with a Grand March featuring fife and drum units from around the country from noon to 12:45 p.m. from the Capitol to Market Square on Duke of Gloucester Street. Immediately following, guests will enjoy performances from fife and drum units from around the country during the Grand Review at 12:30 p.m.

Later that evening, Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums host fife and drum and military units from across the county in a torchlit march from the Governor’s Palace to Shields Tavern at 8 p.m. during the Williamsburg Military Tattoo. The program signals the end of a soldiers’ day.

No ticket is required for the Grand March, Grand Review or Williamsburg Military Tattoo.

Drummer’s Call Weekend concludes Sunday, May 17 with To Arms at 11 a.m. at the Magazine. The program features a demonstration of soldiers and their field music from various military units active during the American Revolution. A Colonial Williamsburg admission pass or Good Neighbor Card is required to enjoy this program.

The Fifes and Drums are comprised of boys and girls ages 10-18 from the local community. Nearly 100 youths perform as members of two units: a junior and a senior group. Junior group members train while waiting for a “front-line” vacancy in the senior group. Each member on average receives two periods of instruction and participates in two full rehearsals each week. The senior members enjoy a busy travel schedule as well, performing at special events outside the Historic Area.

A quasi-military unit, the present Fifes and Drums follows 18th-century practice by recruiting school-aged children with the exception of the drum major. Members pass tune and marching requirements to advance through the rank system that begins at recruit. Field musicians were vital to commanders as the sole means of relaying orders during battle. Whenever companies were mustered into regiments, company musicians were similarly massed into Field Music. In this formation they were responsible, under the drum major’s direction, for marching the regiment in proper cadence and for beating daily ceremonies – Reveille, the General, the Assembly, the Retreat and the Tattoo.

The world-renowned military musicians have represented Colonial Williamsburg throughout the country, including performances at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Lexington and Concord 225th Celebration in Boston and the New-York Historical Society, visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and His Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and America’s 400th Anniversary Weekend, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Basel Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121