The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps have roots going back all the way to the establishment of the Kentish Guards in 1774. Back then, the militia consisted of roughly 100 men, and had two fifers and two drummers.
The instrumentation for the Kentish Guards has been altered in various ways throughout the years. In 1966, a regimental sized fife & drum corps was established.
The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps (KGF&DC) plays a variety of fife and drum music; both old and new. There are even some original pieces composed specifically for the Kentish Guards.
A majority of the KGF&DC performances are held in New England, but they also play in other parts of the United States now and then, and have made multiple trips to Switzerland to collaborate with fellow F&D groups there.
Examples of events where the KGF&DC plays or have played
- The ceremonial inspections of the Kentish Guards militia by the Adjunt General of the State of Rhode Island.
- At the Gubernatorial Balls
- Navy Day, an annual event in East Greenwich, RI
- The Bristol Fourth of July Parade
- The re-enactment of Rochambeau´s march to Yorktown
- The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Parade in New Bedfor, MA
- St. Patrick´s Day Parades in New Haven (CT), Savannah (GA), Galway and Doolin (Ireland)
- Fife & Drum musters, such as the Deep River muster, the Westbrook muster, and the Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfes and Drums in Sudbury, MA.
- The Lewis & Clark Festival in St. Charles, Missouri
- Greenfield Historical Village in Michigan
The KGF&DC are available to perform at events throughout the season, which is typically from March to November.
Meeting the Fife & Drum Corps
The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps meet at the Kentish Guards Armory in East Greenwhich on Wednesdays from 7pm to 9 pm.
These rehearsals are open to the public.
Directions: The Kentish Guards Armory, 1774 Armory Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Becomming a member
Membership in the Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps is available from the age of 14.
Already knowing how to play an instrument is not a requirement to become a member.
The uniform worn by the KGF&DC is based on the one worn by the Kentish Guards from the 1790s to just before the War of 1812, and re-adopted in 1928.
It is almost identical to the one worn by the militia, but instead of the bear fur crested infantry helmet, the musicians wear black bicorn hats with black cockades fasted by a brass KG button. Both militia and musicians wear a dark blue coat, a white vest, dark blue pants, and dark blue leggings. The coats have red lapels and white trim, with false-turnbacks on the coat tails, and both pants and leggings feature red piping.
It is believed that the original uniform for the Kentish Guards musicians was the “reversed colours” of the original militia uniform. So, while the militia wore a red coat with green facings, the musicians would have worn green coats with red facings, as were the military custom of the day.
The record “Then and Now” by the Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps
The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps has recorded a CD named “Then and Now”.
- The Minute Troup. A 2005 composition by KG Fifer Chris Lussier.
- Parade Set. A recreation of a marching sequence. Inspired by the English ballad “The World Turned Upside Down”, which is said to have been played by the British Army after the Battle of Yorktown.
- Squizzy’s Lament, a medley of traditional tunes assembled to honor KG Fifer, Steven Squizzero and his bride, Canada, on their wedding day in 1980.
- Biddy/Happy/Garfield is a medley based on Biddy Oats, The Happy Fifer, and President Garfield’s Hornpipe.
- The Blarney Fife Medley is a medley based on The Blarney Pilgrim, Genevieve’s Waltz, and Mustah Foot.
- Georgia Medley is a medley of Marching through Georgia and Sherman´s March. It is a reference to the Union Army´s march through Georgia under the leadership of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
- Gallbladder Medley. A medley based on The Prince of Denmark´s March (Trumpet Voluntary), Twister, Governor King´s March, and York Fusiliers.
- Kentish Guard Jig. A 1996 composition by John Benoit.
- Blood on the Drum. Honors Drum Sgt James Enos, who played with blistered fingers.
- KG Then. Based on three tunes that were among the first ones used when the Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps was established in 1966. The tunes were used during the American Revolutionary War, but this version of them have modern drumming as the original drumming is unknown.
- Nobody´s Gigge / Black Nag. A medley based on the two English 17th century dances Nobody´s Gigge and Black Nag. The drums play modern settings: “The General” and “Burns Moore Fancy 6/8”.
- Farewell My Rebecca. Compoised by Chris Lussier in honor of Rebecca Matthews Corbett.
- Mich Mash Medley. A medley of popular F&D tunes.
- Black Watch Medley. A medley arranged by the Swiss Colonials, who played it together with the Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps in Switzerland in 1992.
- Troop Step / KG March. A march sequence based on the Slow Sotch Troop and the Kentish Guards March (adopted from Road to Boston / March to Boston).
The Company of Fifers and Drummers
The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps is a member of The Company of Fifers and Drummers, an organization established in 1965 to preserve and promote the historical significance and folk traditions of the fife and drum music and to foster fellowship among fifers and drummers.
The Organization was incorporated in the State of Connecticut as a non-stock, non-profit corporation on July 29, 1967.
Did you know that only five Fife & Drum Corps in the United States are part of actual military organization? One of them are the Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps, and the four other are the Pawtuxet Rangers (Rhode Island), the Gloucester Light Infantry (Rhode Island), the Second Company Governor’s Foot Guards in Connecticut, and The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in Fort Myer, Virginia (which are a part of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment).