Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you wear red coats?
The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution as they perform in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army. Military musicians of the period wore the reverse colors of the regiments to which they were assigned. The uniforms worn by the members of the Corps are dated circa 1781 and consist of black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and red regimental coats.
Is this your full-time job?
Musicians in the Corps are full-time, Active Duty Soldiers in the United States Army. Our Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 42S – Special Band Musician. All Soldiers must complete Basic Combat Training upon entering the Army, and Soldier-Musicians are no exception. An assignment to The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is a permanent duty assignment, which means Soldiers remain a member of the Corps for their entire enlistment.
I only saw a small group perform – is that all the members you have in the Unit?
The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps’ unique capabilities allow us the flexibility to perform in a wide range of settings. Our performances include many different sizes, configurations and content that is appropriate for a variety of venues and audiences. We perform in ceremonies, parades, and shows across the country in ensembles ranging from 3-33 Soldiers.
What is the painting on the drums?
The painting on the front of the drums, for years having been a more modern version of The Old Guard’s crest, is now the original regimental colors of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The crest was researched at the Army Institute of Heraldry, and includes the most current battle honors. Staff Sgt. Andrew Ruddle, Snare Drum Musician, designed the original artwork, which was then hand painted onto the drums.
What is the spear the Drum Major uses? What about the hat?
The Drum Major of the Corps carries an Espontoon, an 18th century weapon that was carried by officers. It is used by the Drum Major to issue silent commands to the Corps. The Drum Major also wears the Light Infantry Cap, made of leather and bear fur. The red waist sash and baldric with two drum sticks further distinguish the Drum Major from other members of the Corps.
Where do you get your music from?
Our Production Staff writes and arranges all music and marching drill performed by the Corps. Soldiers are chosen for Production Staff following a rigorous selection process. An extensive knowledge of and experience with music, arranging, traditional music history and drill writing is essential. Music is drawn from our own extensive collection in our Center for Excellence library.
How can I get a recording?
Recordings are available to download for free on our website. Photographs, videos, and other media are also available. Please visit one of our Social Media pages.
How do I request the Fife and Drum Corps?
The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, when requested and in appropriate situations, can take part in public events sponsored by non-military organizations. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington facilitates requests for such support. Approval and tasking authority is exercised according to governing regulations and practices. More information about requesting the Corps can be found on our website.