Marching Demonstration with The United States Army Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps

Part of the UVA Flute Forum 2023
March 25, 2023 - 2:00pm
Lawn in front of Old Cabell Hall

There will be a marching demonstration with The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from 2:00-2:30 pm on Saturday, March 25th on The Lawn outside Old Cabell Hall.  This event is part of the seventh annual Flute Forum.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is the only unit of its kind in the armed forces, and is part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The Fife and Drum Corps is stationed at Fort Myer, VA.

The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution as they perform in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of General George Washington's Continental Army. Military musicians of the period wore the reverse colors of the regiments to which they were assigned. The uniforms worn by the members of the Corps are dated circa 1784, and consist of black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and distinct red regimental coats.

The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps will also give the following workshops as part of the 7th Annual Flute Forum.  All three of these workshops will take place from 2:30pm -3:20pm:

  • Fife Workshop in Old Cabell Hall, Room 107
  • Drum Workshop in Old Cabell Hall, Room 113
  • Brass Workshop in Old Cabell Hall, Room S004

To see the full schedule of events in the Seventh Annual UVA Flute Forum please visit the forum webpage.

This photo and the article below are from an Army webpage story By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff Writer

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), is the oldest active infantry regiment with direct lineage to George Washington's original Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The Old Guard wears uniforms patterned after the Soldiers of 1784. They resemble the continental musicians' uniforms, and they are different than the continental Soldiers' uniforms.

"When you see the Fife and Drum Corps marching smartly by, you are struck that they are wearing red coats like the British Army," said Kim Holien, JBM-HH historian. Holien explained how during the Revolutionary War, the fifers and drummers wore the opposite colors of the regiment to which they were a part.

"Since the Fife and Drum [Corps] wear red coats with blue facings (facings are the elongated lapels that stretch from the collar all the way down the front of the coat), the regiment to which they were attached were wearing blue coats with red facings. By wearing the reversed colors, the fifers and drummers would hopefully not be deliberately shot by the opposing side since they were in effect unarmed and during the battle would often act as medical personnel to take care of the wounded," said Holien.

"Many Revolutionary War battles were fought at a very close range-since the vast majority of Soldiers used smooth bore Brown Bess muskets whose accuracy was such that they could not hit the broad side of a barn door standing next to it," he added. Holien said it was hoped the opposing Soldier would not shoot the fifers and drummers for that reason.

The military musician of that time was the signal on the battlefield. When the commander wanted to communicate and give an order to part of his command that was all the way across the field, he grabbed one of the musicians to give the signal to do whatever he wanted. Because there's a lot of confusion on the battlefield, in order to grab the musician quickly, they identified him with a different colored coat.

"Fife and Drum Corps members get their custom uniforms here," said Anthony Williams of the JBM-HH Central Issue Facility. "The [wool] uniforms are custom ordered and include the tricorn [hat], shirt, pants, greatcoat, waistcoat [vest], sash, shoes epaulettes and white wig." Williams said the CIF also issues the Continental Color Guard uniform. "These Old Guard uniforms were supplied by a vendor from West Point, N.Y., until they closed. We were able to find a vendor at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., so we could continue supplying these historical uniforms."

The Lawn has served as UVA's symbolic center since The University was founded in 1819. 

Although all events are free and open to the public, participants are encouraged to register in advance for the UVA Flute Forum.

For more information about the Flute Forum, please contact Kelly Sulick at

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA’s historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda. (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

All programs are subject to change. 

The UVA Department of Music can be reached by calling 434.924.3052 or e-mailing

T​his event is supported by the Eleanor Shea Music Trust​.  This is an Arts Enhancement Event supported by the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176