CA Palmer Fife and Drum Corps

43 years!

A first class corps dedicated to Ancient Fife & Drum for over 40 years.

Now Recruiting for our 43rd Season! Email capalmer at fifedrum dot org for more information!

The C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps, located in the historic community of Palmyra, New York, was organized in the winter of 1961.

The C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps belongs to a truly unique and distinctive group of Americans - patriots from all walks of life dedicated to the preservation of ancient martial music. They join together for the love of the music they play, and to bring to their listeners their feelings for American heritage.

The uniform of the C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps is an authentic depction of the uniform of the Continental Army, regulations of 1873. It consists of a frontier shirt, trousers, waistcoat and regimental coat.

The full length trousers, or leggins, are authentically styled from the front flap to the full seat. Three quater length black gaiters are added, as they were used by the Continental Army to protect the legs from the thick underbrush. The waistcoat and shirt are complemented by a black neck stock.

The regimental coats are of the colors prescribed in the regulations of 1783. In doing away with the identifying colors of the various states, George Washington ordered the new uniform to be of dark blue faced with red, with trousers and waistcoat of buff. In keeping with the practice of the times, the fifers and drummers wear the colors reversed from the soldiers of the line.

The regimental coat, waistcoat, and gaiters are secured by a total of 66 handcast pewter buttons. The uniform is completed with a black military cocked hat with black and white cockade.

The most common instruments used in martial music were fifes and drums. The fife was well known throughout Europe as early as the 14th century, and reached a high degree of perfection before it was introduced to the New World. Most of the fifes used at the time of the American Revolution, however, were simple hollow wooden shafts with a blowhole and six finger holes.

The drum belongs to the oldest instrument family in existance. In use during the American Revolution was the field drum, with a shell much deeper than most of the drums used today.

the drum heads were made of calfskin mounted on narrow wooden hoops, held in place by heavy ropes laced through the two counter rims. The head was tightened by the tensioning of the leather ears about those ropes, hence the common name, rope tensioned drums. Snares, commonly made of catgut, were stretched across the bottom head to give the familiar vibrant sound.

The bass, or barrel drum, was made much the same as the field snare drum with the only difference being its size and the ommision of the snares. The bass drummer, unlike the single hand drummers of today, used two heavy wooden beaters and employed rudiments as complex as the snare drummer.

The music played by the C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps includes many selections originally played during the period of the American Revolution, with a few additional melodies from the Civil War era.

Many customs and traditions were borrowed from other nations without concern for its origin, and music for fife and drum was no exception. The American musicians boldly adopted the tunes of their adversaries as well as their allies solely on the basis of what would be appropriate.

Throughout the years, the goal of the corps has been to encourage and promote fifing and drumming as an early American art form and to remind the public of the significance it played in the development of our nation.

The corps is a member of The Company of Fifers and Drummers, a national organization of well over 100 fife and drum corps and many hundreds of individual members. The purpose of The Company is to preserve the art of ancient martial music which is part of our American heritage.

During the summer months, the C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps performs weekly at various parade and civic functions throughout Wayne, Monroe and neighboring counties. The corps is also available for special events throughout the year. They have performed at such historic sites as Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, New York; Fort George, Ontario, Canada; Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan; London, England; and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

The corps continually seeks new people interested in sharing the spirit of fifing and drumming. Music, instruments and instruction are provided.

For information concerning parades, concerts, musters, special events and membership, please contact

The C. A. Palmer Fife and Drum Corps rehearse weekly on Tuesdays (starting at 7:00 PM) throughout the year in Palmyra, NY at the elementary school. Palmyra is conveniently located between Rochester and Syracuse with easy access via the New York State Thruway (I90). Feel free to stop by the school near the intersection of Route 21 and 31 in the middle of the village of Palmyra and say hello.

2005 Schedule
DateLine UpStep OffLocationEvent
3/1211AM12PMSyracuse, NYSt. Patrick's Day Parade
5/212PM3PMWilliamson, NYApple Blossom Festival, middle school
5/294:30PM5:30PMIrondequoit, NYMemorial Day Parade, Hudson Titus Plaza
5/308AM9AMWeedsport, NYMemorial Day Parade
5/302PM3PMJordon, NYMemorial Day Parade
6/36PM7PMWeedsport, NYParade
6/176PM7PMShortsville, NYParade
6/251PM2PMWest Seneca, NY high schoolParade
7/16:15PM7:15PMYork, NYIndependence Day Festival
7/25PM6PMHammondsport, NYParade
7/410AM11AMIrondeqouit, NYIndependence Day Parade, Hudson Titus Plaza
7/15Deep River, CTMuster
7/16Deep River, CTMuster
8/196PM7PMPalmyra, NYParade
9/19AM12PMRochester, NYLabor Day Parade

Contact us today by emailing ca palmer @ fifedrum . org (remove the spaces please)