Patriots Day
Reenactor 101
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Name: Steve Cole, Jr.
From: Lexington, MA
Age: 26

' I started drumming when I was in 4th grade as a dream that someday I could portray William Diamond.'
Make Music

Carry a weapon that's not a gun! Learn about musical troops, who use high-pitched flutes -- called fifes -- and drums to communicate battle commands and set a marching pace.

step one | step two | step three

Step One: Start Early
You can learn to drum or play the fife at an early age -- younger than 16-year-old William Diamond was at the Battle of Lexington.

fife and drum"I took lessons in fourth and fifth grade...The Lexington Historical Society supports the William Diamond Junior Fife & Drum Company. It's for ages seven to twelve and they taught us how to play the instruments."
-- Steve Cole, Jr.


Step Two: Make a Big Noise
Don't be shy! As the drummer or fife player, you will be the main line of communication between the commander and the troops.

drum used by William Diamond"When you're on the battlefield, the captain will give the commands and it's often loud. The drummer will be right next to the captain so the firing militia will hear the calls through the drum. Drum commands signify 'Prime and Load,' 'Make Ready,' 'Present Fire'... to assemble, to retreat."
-- Steve Cole, Jr.


Step Three: Practice Moving
In the heat and excitement of battle, make sure you can move around freely with your drum.

drummer"It's quarter of six in the morning... you feel that adrenaline going through your body like the men must have felt back then when the redcoats marched on the green. The first year I did it I had goose bumps... I used to tie a rope around my drum and my leg when I was younger, because it would bounce all over the place. But you get used to it."
-- Steve Cole, Jr.


Learn more about drum commands and listen to examples at the Colonial Williamsburg Web site.


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