Fife & Drum Corps
The Fife & Drum Corps is the field music for The Independent Company of Kentish Guards. In 1774 the Kentish Guards had 2 fifers
and 2 drummers, as befitting a company sized group of 100 or so men. Over time, the instrumentation took on several forms, and was formally reorganized into a regimental sized fife & drum corps in
The Kentish Guards Fife & Drum Corps is also a member of The Company of Fifers and Drummers, an organization devoted to the
preservation and continuation of fifing and drumming in America.
Click here for more information on the history of fife and drum
music, as well as that of the Kentish Guards Fife and Drum Corps.
Membership in the fife and drum is open to everyone, ages 14 and
older. No prior musical experience is necessary, although it is helpful. The fife and drum meets at the Kentish Guards Armory, 1774 Armory St. in East Greenwich, RI on Wednesdays from 7:00 to 9:00
pm. All are invited to stop by the Armory during rehearsals. For directions to the Armory, see the Contact page.
For those wishing to learn more about participating as a member or
arranging for the Corps to appear at an event, please contact the BUSINESS MANAGER.
For those who are not musically inclined, but are interested in the
militia, the Kentish Guards can be contacted through the EXECUTIVE OFFICER.
The uniform worn by the KGF&DC is that worn by the Kentish
Guards during the period between 1790 and 1820, and re-adopted by the Kentish Guards in 1928. The musicians wearing tricorns, and the militiamen wearing the bear fur crested light infantry helmets.
The original uniform of the Kentish Guards, according to the best information available, was a red coat with green facings, white waistcoat and trousers. The musicians would have been wearing
"reversed colors;" ie, green coats with red facings, as was the military custom of the day. The Kentish Guards decided to re-adopt
the Federal period uniform because of the recognition factor of the red, white and blue color scheme.
The corps plays a variety of music from the traditional fife and drum
repertoire, as well as authentic pieces written for the original Kentish Guards fifers and drummers. The Kentish Guards, being a duly constituted military organization, offers the KGF&DC many
opportunities to play in the "military tradition." The KGF&DC plays for the ceremonial inspections of the Kentish Guards militia by the
state's Adjutant General, at Gubernatorial Balls and other official ceremonies. This offers a unique opportunity to experience fife and drum music at its traditional military roots.
There are only 5 fife and drum corps in the United States that are a
part of actual military organizations. The Kentish Guards, Pawtuxet Rangers, Gloucester Light Infantry in 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.
The Kentish Guards is the official fife and drum corps of the Centennial Legion of Historic Military Commands.
In addition to special events such as the re-enactment of
Rochambeau's march to Yorktown, the KGF&DC is available to perform at civic and community events throughout a season which typically extends from March to November. These events have
included: Navy Day, an annual event in East Greenwich, RI celebrating the founding of the Continental Navy in 1775; The
Bristol, RI Fourth of July Parade, "oldest in the nation;" the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Parade in New Bedford, MA; and several St.
Patrick's Day Parades, including New Haven, CT, Savannah, GA, and Galway and Doolin, Ireland in March of 2005.
The Corps also performs at several fife & drum musters including the
Deep River and Westbrook musters and the Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfes and Drums in Sudbury, MA.
SEE VIDEO OF THE 2011 WESTBROOK TATTOO
The Corps has performed throughout New England, has been to the
Lewis & Clark Festival in St. Charles, Missouri, Greenfield Village in Michigan, and has made several trips to Switzerland. Basel, Brugg,
Lugano, and Rheinfelden are just some of the places in Switzerland where the KGF&DC has performed.