Wanted: GDRA Field Musicians!
We are looking for fifers and drummers to function as field musicians within the Georgia Division Battalion. Our goal is to establish an active battalion fife and drum corps to participate with the infantry at living histories and reenactments. This is an exciting part of the Infantry and serves a vital function for the soldiers in camp and in battle. We can also use additional buglers, so any horn players can also join our ranks. So, if you are just learning to play or if you are a music veteran and need a chance to drag out those drumsticks or horn, then here is an opportunity for you. If you have the desire to experience what field music was really like during the Civil War, then please take the time to contact us.
Our current needs include:
A couple of notes:
The field music part of our organization is a very fun, exciting, and important part of our Civil War reenacting experience. Come put your talents to use with us.
Getting Started as a Fifer & DrummerBefore buying a period drum, we highly recommend that a beginner first get a pair of drumsticks and a period drum manual and take private drum lessons. Many music instrument stores offer drum lessons. All beginners need to get a private instructor who can teach them the rudiments or basic techniques of drumming. Just trying to play along at an event will not make it in the long run. We also strongly encourage all drummers to play in their school's concert and marching bands.
Recommended Fife & Drum Manual
The Civil War fife and drum book that every fifer and drummer should not be without is Bruce & Emmett's The Drummers' and Fifers' Guide (1862), which contains the basic cadences, quick steps, duty beats, and more.
On a historical note, Daniel Decatur Emmett was a composer and minstrel show writer from Ohio, who, while working in New York during the spring of 1859, wrote the song Dixie. The song became quite popular in the North but became a national anthem in the South, much to the dismay of Emmett, who was not a Southern sympathizer.
An on-line reference for Bruce and Emmett's can be found on The Drill Network's website at:
Getting Started as a BuglerIf you are just starting out playing a brass instrument, then you should look into taking private lessons, joining the school band, or playing in the church orchestra - anything to get your playing level up. Most importantly, though, is practice time at home. Remember, to be a good bugler you must first be a good trumpet player - they are one and the same. Also keep in mind that being a bugler is MUCH more work than shooting a musket. When the reenactment ends for everyone else, the work is just beginning for you. To be a brass player, you must make a commitment to practice every day - working on correct playing techniques, playing endurance, tonal quality, correct pitch, correct embouchure, etc. Oh, and don't forget that you have to memorize all of the bugle calls!
When looking for a Civil War reproduction bugle, you need to look for a real musical instrument. Although the bugles sold by the sutlers look inviting - and the price is nice - they are not true instruments and are not playable out on the field. The reproduction bugle that we recommend is the Amati ABG201 Bb Bugle. It is a Model 1839 French Clairon d' Ordinance and is period-correct (except for the lacquer). This is the type of bugle that was imported from Europe and used extensively by both the North and the South. It is a very nice horn and has a good sound. Make sure it only has a single loop, though.
Recommended Bugle Call Books
To be a functional bugler out on the field and in camp, you must know the bugle calls. For learning infantry, artillery, and cavalry bugle calls, we strongly recommend the following bugle call books and accompanying CD or cassette:
Civil War Drummer Boys Playing Cards by Julian Scott (1891).
On a historical note, the painter Julian Scott served as a Union Army drummer during the American Civil War. He enlisted in 1861 at the age of 15 in the 3rd Vermont Infantry. In February 1865, Scott received America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire during the 1862 Battle of Lee's Mill, Virginia.
And now, what you've all been waiting for...
The Top 10 reasons to be a Field Musician
And the #1 reason to be a field musician is...
Final Marketing Plug
If you want to have a great time around the campfire and experience what field music was really like during the Civil War, then please take the time to contact us. We look forward to seeing you out on the battlefield!
Battle of Resaca
© 2023 Georgia Division Reenactors Association, Inc. All rights reserved.