Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, May 10, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is
Harry Jenkins on “Bugle, Fife & Drum: Military Music of Camp & Field”
The beginnings of American military music essentially started when William Diamond, the drummer of the Lexington Militia, beat the call to arms that gathered the men who fired “the shot heard ’round the world,” launching the colonists into a long struggle for our independence. The British troops brought with them their splendid military bands. In contrast, the Continental troops were as meagerly equipped musically as they were militarily. Despite a shortage of fighting gear and supplies, the Continental Army and its’ leaders were able to launch an effective fighting force. And the musicians as well always seemed to be able to muster a few drums and a fife or two to stir the hearts of Washington’s men. These fifers, drummers―and later buglers―held important places from the American Revolution, on through the Civil War, continuing and further evolving in today’s modern military.
As a student, performer, and instructor of this brand of music, Harry Jenkins has done numerous presentations on the topic. With his earlier focus on “Drums & Drummer Boys,” his new presentation takes a broader view that includes the fife and the bugle, as well as the drum, and their history and use primarily as “Field Music.” He describes the musicians’ role and duties―in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield. Using audio and visual recordings, along with authentic replica instruments, Mr. Jenkins describes and demonstrates some of the music they played. Weaving this together with military reports and historical records, letters-home and post-war memoirs, this presentation will paint a picture of these musicians―most of whom were youngsters―told through stories and vignettes―some sad and poignant, some receiving high praise, some heart-warming, and others often humorous. The presentation will conclude with an inspiring DVD presentation of various military music ensembles recorded in live performances, showing the rich history of the traditional music, as well as its evolution in today’s military pageantry.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Harry started on the bugle, and later on drum, at the age of ten in a Boy Scout Drum & Bugle Corps. After a few years he moved on to the arena of Drum Corps competition, and was a member of several State and National Champions, including the Blue Rock Drum & Bugle Corps of Wilmington, DE, the Golden Knights Senior Corps of Union, NJ, the great Yankee Rebels Corps from Baltimore, MD, and also with Philadelphia’s own world renown “Reilly Raiders” Drum & Bugle Corps. He also spent many years as a Drum Corps instructor, and served as a judge in Drum & Bugle Corps and Band competitions. Having spent 20 years in Civil War reenacting as a drummer, soldier, and officer, he is a member of the internationally recognized “Company of Fifers & Drummers,” and is an active performing member of the “United States Association of Rudimental Drummers.”
Harry is a 30-year member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia, serving as Program Chair and on the Board of Directors. He is also a member and supporter of The Friends of Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a long-time member of the Civil War Trust.
Educated in Architecture at Temple University and Arizona State, Harry’s career has included working as a Project Manager with architecture firms, construction companies, and government agencies, responsible for the design and construction of varied building projects that include government facilities, schools and colleges, and extensively with hospitals and other health care facilities. He now resides in Newark, Delaware with wife Bobbie, and is very proud of son Clayton, a 2007 graduate of George Washington University, who is also a drummer.