MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — The Mount Kisco Ancients Fife & Drum Corps, a longstanding symbol of the village’s pride and patriotism, will recruit new members at Mount Kisco Elementary School Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The American Revolution era band is a traditional presence at Mount Kisco’s St. Patrick’s and Memorial Day parades, the area’s many summer fire parades and the village’s 9/11 service.
Open to ages 9 and up, the corps is sponsored by the Mount Kisco Volunteer Fire Department. It accompanies them to every parade and performs at local events throughout the year.The corps was founded in 1937 by Gil Terwilliger and Ozzie Hooker, members of the village’s Independent Fire Company. At that time, only fire department members could join. An early highlight was playing at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
In 1975, the corps played a featured role in the village’s centennial celebration. The next year, it participated in Braniff Airlines’ Bicentennial Tour of America.
In 1997 and 1998, it took home trophies in the Best Senior Fife and Drum class at the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The corps is made up of men, women and children of all ages from Mount Kisco and beyond. “There are current firefighters and there’s also a couple not old enough to be firefighters, so you have 18-year-olds that are junior firefighters,” said corps fife instructor Linda Hunter.
The corps uses a drum set made by the late Sanford Augustus Moeller, one of the foremost ancient drum makers in the country. The 10-snare, three-bass, hand-painted set is believed to be the largest complete Moeller set still intact in the United States, according to the corps website.
Hunter said no musical experience is needed to join. “We will teach them how to read music. They will learn how to play an instrument, they will learn to march, and they get to march in the Firemen’s Parade,” she said. “They seem to have a lot of fun doing that.”
Rehearsals are held from September through May every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the elementary school. The registration fee is $25 for a fife or drumsticks and a pad. The corps provides uniforms consisting of a vest, pants or a skirt, jabot and tri-corn hat. For more information, call Linda Hunter at 914-666-8460 or 914-666-5275.