Fife and Drum Corps
preserving ancient field music."
The Oregon Fife and Drum Corps (OFDC) is one
of the premiere fife and drum corps in the United States. They participate in
many events each year, performing at Civil War period events and also for modern
engagements such as the Portland waterfront fireworks on the 4th of July. Their
favorite events are parades and they often steal the show. Every year they
play at the Salem Pioneer Cemetery (Cityview Cemetery) over the Memorial
Day weekend. They often collaborate with the Washington Fife and Drum Corps and
occasionally travel to California parades and events. They were even invited to
perform at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
- The OFDC includes musicians of all levels, though
they must be at least 12 years old to go onto the battlefield at
reenactments. Though a background with music is very helpful it is not
- These musicians memorize their music since they
cannot carry it with them on the march. They are given a basic group
of songs to begin with and expand their repertoire with time. This is
easier than it may seem!
- Drummers use the traditional grip (left hand palm
up) and play rope-tension drums. Fifes have only six open holes rather
than the modern keys on a flute. Other than those differences, Civil
War instruments are very similar to their modern counterparts.
- Musicians are the time-keepers of the army. They wake the
soldiers up and tell them when to eat, drill, break camp and when
to go to sleep again. They also keep morale up by playing on long
marches. Many soldiers find that their load feels lighter and their
marches shorter because they enjoy the music so much. One of the
116th's favorite traditions is to march into the sally port at Fort
Stevens and wait while the OFDC plays its loudest.
Contact our Chief Musician,
Sgt. Beth "Ben" Miller, for
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