Old Fort Niagara will host a concert featuring four international fife and drum ensembles on Monday, September 21, and is offering free admission to the fort and concert on this day to residents of Niagara, Erie and Orleans County. The ensembles, which are from Belgium, France, Italy and the United States, will perform at 11 a.m.
“Old Fort Niagara will resonate with the high notes of fifes and the sharp beats of drums for some truly unique performances,” said Robert Emerson, executive director of the fort. “We are excited to host these four ensembles and look forward to welcoming a large crowd from our regional community to watch and listen to their concert.”
The ensembles will be: Trommelfluit from Ypres, Belgium; Les Fifres et Tambours de St. Tropez, France; Gruppo Pifferi e Tamburi di Ivrea, Italy; and The Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps of Macedon, N.Y.
Fifes and drums have been used in the military for hundreds of years. The shrill tone of the fife and the beat of the drum can be heard over long distances, making them excellent instruments to be used for military communication in an age before radios and cell phones. As part of a soldier's training, he learned the many battlefield and camp signals that regulated daily life. Following the American Civil War, the bugle largely took over this role, phasing fifers and drummers out. Today, however, there are still many global fife and drum corps that perform in parades and at historic sites in a ceremonial capacity to keep this form of martial music alive.
Niagara, Erie and Orleans County residents are reminded to bring identification that shows their residency, which will admit them free on this day. The fort will open at 9 a.m. with the concert at 11 a.m. The fort will close at 5 p.m. with admissions ending at 4:30 p.m.
Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is located in Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, N.Y., which is 14 miles north of Niagara Falls via the Robert Moses Parkway North. The fort is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (admissions end at 4:30 p.m.). Old Fort Niagara is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a not-for-profit organization) in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.