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Fort Ontario, NY

News - F&D Muster 2008: A favourite event at a favourite site

The third weekend of every August Fort George (Niagra-on-the-Lake) hosts fife and drum corps from Fort York (Toronto) to New York and everywhere in between. The LFD crew returned again to their unofficial home-fort, this time for their third year at the Muster.

LFD was once again one of the newest groups, but this time the drums boasted two new recruits: Leisha Bouma and Curran Egan, who attended their first Muster as fifers this year.

No etherial beings decided to join the party, though the gang resided in the haunted blockhouse for the weekend. This year LFD occupied the floor below the barracks walked by the pacing ghost. (Almost) everyone slept on cots generously provided by one of the corps. Thanks, Tina*!
(*names may have been changed to protect the identity and domestic freedom of the person(s) involved)

LFD also participated in the Muster’s Fife and Drum Olympics. Practice pad discus, tent pole javelin, shotput, tug-o-war and soak-the-drum-major were all events on the list. There was a mistake in judging some of the events, and no one took home any medals. One fifer threw by far the shortest discus toss and went unrecognized. Mike soaked several fifers in the wettest event, but there is of course no reward for that kind of behavior.

Snaps go out to a few of our members for special effort this weekend:

First, to Fifer Leisha “Lee” Bouma! Leisha worked hard this weekend to conquer new tunes and get her others up to speed. It now takes two hands to count them all; impressive considering she not only had to memorize the tunes, but she had to learn to make a sound first. Getting a clear sound on the fife is slightly harder than on the drum (tap tap). Leisha can now make a noise on both, but of course she knows the fife is better.

New abductee Curran Egan looked spectacular in a crisp LFD uniform (courtesy of Fife Major and corps tailor Andrea Putnam). He gets snaps for not spilling anything on his pretty uniform. Curran also made progress getting a few notes out of that frustrating hollow-stick-thing he was lent. Memorizing fingerings was fast, though our newest recruit maintains that the worst part so far is knowing he could play it if only he could keep up the noise. He found solace in playing his whistle when the fife was just too much. “’re going to be a GREAT fifer!”

Snaps go to Graham Lindsey, star of the Graham Lindsey Show featuring LFD and the Big Circle. Graham soloed on his bugle at every opportunity and made mass music just that much more interesting. He assures us of all his practice since the last time he played it... It would be better if he weren’t such a terrible liar. All turned out well. The long drive to and from the fort was made more enjoyable by the corps favourite radio station, Graham FM. One fifer was nearly convinced he was scamming off an old fifer-made playlist. Snaps, Graham, for the tune selection and bugling.

Drum Major Mike Putnam strutted his stuff to prove he was worthy of his silver-laced wonder coat. He proved also that you can look the look and walk the walk, but that doesn’t mean you can count repeats until the end of a song. Good thing he’s a drummer. His strong voice and freshly-walked drum put Leisha’s new sound up to some competition. Snaps to Mike.

Full credit for Mike’s attire goes, of course, to Andrea Putnam. Not surprisingly, another fifer. She also gets snaps for the threats she must be giving Leisha to spur her progress. She did an excellent job with the blackmail, because Leisha has not complained once.

Fifer Simonne Paine practiced hard to add at least one corps favourite to her repertoire. Listening to her play, another Drum Major commented that if she can already play some of the more complex songs, she can easily play the rest.

Christine Smith gets snaps for leaving all of the pretty boys where she found them.

Fifer Dionne Paine gets a few self-appointed snaps for writing this article and not showing any bias against drummers at all.