Parades or No, Fife & Drum Corps Plays On

by | Jun 23, 2020

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

I heard the sound from my porch Wednesday evening and I realized, they’re back! When you live in certain areas of the Hill, you get used to the sound of the Kentish Guard Fife and Drum Corps on mild Wednesday evenings. It’s a welcome sound, conjuring up equal parts patriotism and nostalgia. 

The youngest Kentish Guard drummer, Matthew Gilmore, is third generation.

So, when I heard the sound last week, I knew I had to check in and find out how they were doing during this strange COVID-19 pandemic time. After all, the parades and celebrations have all been cancelled. Yet here they were.

“We have to play,” said fifer Chris Myers, who said they were only allowed to play together starting the week before. “We have been playing together every week for most of our lives, most of us. And we kind of need to play together to keep our sound fresh and really get used to feeling what it’s like to play with other people.” 

The crew last Wednesday included Richard Sheryka, who’s been with the corps for 54 years, since they reorganized in 1966, and Matthew Gilmore, age 6, a third generation member who is already a force to be reckoned with.

So, if you are missing parades this year, head on over to Peirce Street on a Wednesday evening 7ish and you will catch something grand.

The members present June 17, 2020:

Tom Evans – he’s been playing for “the better part of 20 years”
Jim Enos, a member for 43 years
Alex Crudale, playing for 4 years
Kyle Forsthoff, playing for 6 years
Bob Gilmore, 25 years, and Matthew Gilmore, 6 years, his grandson
Richard Sheryka, 54 years, when they reorganized the Fife & Drum Corps in 1966, I was one of the original members.
Chris Myers, 18 years
John Wedlock, in and out since 1974
Eric Lutes, joined in 1977, “but I took about 30 years off. I just came back. These guys are family.”
Drum Major Bob Dufour

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Kim Balkcom
Kim Balkcom
June 24, 2020 6:24 am

Thanks for sharing this, Elizabeth! The familiar sounds of summer are returning slowly but surely and this is one of my favorites!

Canada W Squizzero
Canada W Squizzero
June 24, 2020 4:38 pm

It is John Wedlock, not Tom.


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