The Colonial Williamsburg
Fifes & Drums
The Tricorn Foundation
The Tricorn Foundation was established in 2006 to provide
scholarships for graduating seniors of the Colonial Williamsburg
Fifes & Drums.
The Tricorn Foundation is proud of the current Corps members and their
contributions to the rich legacy of the Corps and to Colonial
In January of 2008, Tricorn awarded its first scholarships of $2000
each. Click here to learn
about the 2008 recipients.
The Corps was formed in 1958
with a handful of fifers and drummers. With the arrival of
George Carroll in 1961 as the Corps' first Drum Major and Musick
Master, the Corps was organized into a Junior and Senior Corps
with a rank structure still in use today. With its beating drums, trilling fifes and colorful uniforms,
the Corps became one of the most
recognized symbols of Colonial Williamsburg. The world
renowned Corps are musical ambassadors for the restored 18th
century town. The Corps consists of a Junior Corps of approximately 40
to 50 members and a
Senior Corps of approximately 40 members.
The scholarships primarily are based on merit within the Corps,
to recognize the hard work and dedication required to graduate
from the Corps. To become a graduate the young men and
women typically will spend eight years in the Corps. Most
enter the Corps at the age of ten or eleven (fourth or fifth grade).
They enter the Junior Corps as Recruits and progress through the
ranks of Private, Fifer/Drummer, Corporal, Sergeant, Fife/Drum
Sergeant and Sergeant Major.
It takes about four to five years to move from the Junior Corps
to the Senior Corps. Junior Corps members receive two
periods of instruction and participate in a full rehearsal each
week. While in the Junior Corps, the members
will perform in hundreds of marches and
Senior Corps members assume leadership positions as reflected in
the ranks of Fife Sergeant, Drum Sergeant and Sergeant
Major. They also train the Junior Corps. While in
the Senior Corps the members will participate in hundreds of marches
and performances each year. Senior Corps members also have
a busy travel schedule, performing in special events around the
country. The Corps has performed for a wide variety of
events and dignitaries including Presidents of the United States
and foreign leaders.
Over the years the Corps also has
produced several recordings of 18th century music.
Currently there are five CDs available for purchase: Marching Out of
Time; Echoes of the Revolution; The World Turned Upside
Down; the 4th of July Concert: The Fifes and Drums of Colonial
Williamsburg and A Grand Entertainment. These CDs may be purchase from Colonial
Williamsburg at the following link, The
Williamsburg Marketplace. Colonial Williamsburg also
has produced a DVD on fifing and drumming in America that went
on sale in May in 2008. Included with the DVD is a 50th
anniversary CD of tunes recorded by the Corps over the
years. During the Drummer's Call weekend of April 18-19, 2007, Corps
alumni recorded several selections that were included on the
50th anniversary CD. Performing on the 2007 alumni recording
were four fifers and two drummers who performed on the Corps'
first record album recorded in 1968.
The uniforms of the Corps represent those of the Virginia State
Garrison Regiment, which was authorized by the Virginia General
Assembly in May 1778 to defend the eastern portion of Virginia,
especially the capital at Williamsburg, during the American
Revolution. Since 1974 the Corps has worn the regimental
uniform of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment. Though often mistaken for British uniforms
because of their red coats with blue facings, musicians of
18th-century regiments wore colors that were the reverse of
those worn by line soldiers so they were easily distinguishable
on the battlefield. Infantrymen of the Virginia State Garrison Regiment
wore blue coats with red facings.
The present Corps follows
18th-century practice of using school-aged children with the
exception of the drum major. Field musicians were vital to
military commanders as the sole means of relaying orders during
battle. Other duties included beating of duty calls
throughout the day, which informed company members of the time
and duties to be performed.
Whenever companies were mustered into regiments, company
musicians were similarly massed into field musick corps.
In this formation they were responsible, under the drum major's
direction, for marching the regiment in proper cadence and for
beating daily ceremonies such as the Reveille, the General, the
Assembly, the Retreat and the Tattoo.
Military musicians served another important purpose during the
Revolution providing evening entertainment for their companions
and at impromptu dances. Today, individual corps members
serve the same role by playing 18th-century music for visitors
throughout the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the
not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and
operates the restored 18th-centurey capital of Virginia.
Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington D.C., off
Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call
toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the
Internet at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com.