Our Musical Heart:  The Fifes and Drums of York Town

If you find yourself walking the charming streets of Historic Yorktown on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, you may hear the beat of a drum or the strains of “Yankee Doodle” coming from a cream building on Church Street. Inside is the musical heart of our historic area:  The Fifes and Drums of York Town. First formed in 1976 to celebrate America’s Bicentennial, the Corps is comprised of forty young musicians ranging in age from 10 to 18. They devote their time to studying and performing 18th century field music.

“You can’t help but get into the patriotic aspect of what the Corps represents when you see these young people involved and performing,” said Jim Camillucci, who is completing his twentieth year as the Musick Master. 

Fifes and Drums group

The original Fifes and Drums were used to communicate on the battlefields and in the encampments during the Revolutionary War. Today, the Corps participates in nearly one hundred performances across the Eastern seaboard. The young musicians have played the National Anthem at Fort McHenry, entertained visitors at Mount Vernon, and traveled to France in a goodwill gesture to celebrate our longstanding alliance. In Yorktown, we are lucky enough to have them perform and entertain on a regular basis!

“There are very few places you can go to find this type of authentic street entertainment,” said Nikki Goetz, President of the Fifes and Drums of York Town. “It will enrich your experience.”

If you are interested in seeing one of their performances, you’re in luck! They appear on a regular basis at the Yorktown Market Days, and they will be opening for the Virginia Symphony on September 2 at the Riverwalk Landing. You can find even more local performances on our Events Calendar or by visiting their website

If you would like to know more, Section Leader and Fife Seargeant Ailin Harpole, 17, has some advice: “Come to a performance! We are very open to questions, and we’d love to have a conversation about our corps!” 

We invite you to do just that, for with every beat of their drums, you will hear the heartbeat of Historic Yorktown.

Fifes and Drums walking through the Market