School of Music

I would like to invite all Alliance Musicians to the NWTA/BAR Northwest Department School of Music to be held in Warsaw, IN on March 23rd and 24th. John and Jeff Conklin of the BAR NWD and I discussed the possibility of a joint School of Music when we met at Findlay last year. We have planned an enjoyable weekend for musicians of both organizations. BAR IOM Gary Vorwald will give two presentations. The first will be on the duties of field musicians. The second presentation will be on the life of Samuel Dewees. Dewees was a fifer with the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment.

I would especially encourage those musicians who are planning to take part in the Olympics this year to attend the SOM. BAR IOM Gary Vorwald has invited our field musicians to attend the BAR's annual SOM. The date is April 13-14. It will take place at Oradell High School in Oradell, New Jersey. I am making arrangements for transportation, so contact me if you would like to attend one or both of these events.

Instrumental News

We are going to ban maple fifes from the Alliance Field Musick. I realize that there are many of them out there, but there are three major problems with them:
  1. They are very difficult for the beginning fifer to play.
  2. They are consistently a half-tone off pitch from the rosewood and other exotic wood fifes that were used during the period. It is difficult to have practice sessions where half of the fifers are out of tune with the others.
  3. No matter how much time you spend tuning the maple fifes, they fall out of tune very quickly. I have conferred with leaders of field music of the BAR, Continental Line and British Brigade regarding this and they agree that the maple fife is a liability to keeping the fifers playing in tune.

We do have an inexpensive solution to this problem. Cooperman Fife and Drum Co. of Essex, CT makes and sells a Persimmon fife for around $25.00. I have purchased some of these fifes for myself and for some of my fife students. They are very easy to play, they stay in tune with the rosewood fifes, and beginners can hit the high notes much more quickly than if they learned on a maple fife. I have spoken with several Sutlers from Baldwin's about the problems with maple fifes. I hope to see persimmon fifes make a presence among their wares.

Follow the Drum

We are always looking for new drummers and fifers. Anyone who would like to participate as a member of the NWTA Field Music should contact me, Terry Wellman, at 708-513-6018 or send e-mail to: