To commemorate the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the town of Lexington, Ma, hosts an annual celebration in mid-April called “Patriots Day”.
The 3d Infantry Regiment’s (The Old Guard’s) Fife and Drum Corps (FDC) and Commander and Chief’s Guard (CINC) have been invited to take part in this festival centered on the first armed engagement between the British soldiers and colonial militiamen.
“Patriots Day is a big event in Lexington; its big all around town,” said Jeff Leonard, the K-12 Coordinator for Performing Arts at Lexington Schools. “Having The Old Guard here the last three years has really added some prestige and some interest to it.”
The 2016 Patriots Day celebration features The Old Guard in several events. FDC is playing several concerts and CINC is performing a firing demonstration.
Selectmen Suzanne E. Barry, an elected official in Lexington that makes policy and oversees the Town government, mentioned to Leonard FDC would be in town.
Leonard was already familiar with The Old Guard and saw an educational opportunity.
“Personally, I grew up in the DC area so I was always a fan of military bands and would check out the concerts and all the ceremonies, so it was something that I grew up with,” said Leonard. “The idea of sharing that with our students when the Selectmen Susie Barry said this was an opportunity was exciting for me.”
FDC performed at Lexington High School on April 15, 2016. After the performance, Leonard arranged for the FDC musicians to host a workshop for students.
The FDC’s presentation to students helps broaden their horizons, said Leonard.
The varied backgrounds of the Soldiers in FDC gets students excited about a unique opportunity they may not have previously considered, said Leonard.
“It just opens their minds that are possible,” said Leonard. “It also presents the military in an entirely different light, the sort work that gets done, the options they are going to have moving forward, it opens up a new pathway for them.”
The Soldiers imparted their years of musical knowledge to the students of Lexington, sharing the history of musicians in the Army and answering
questions from the students.
“Today’s workshop was to bring the story of the American Revolutionary War music to the students of Lexington High School,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Delaune. “And to also share with them some of the fundamentals of musicianship and brass playing we’ve established over our careers.”
The goal is to help students maximize their potential, said Delaune.
The students seized the opportunity to get tips from professionals that routinely play in front of foreign dignitaries and the President of the United States.
“Some of the questions were geared toward mechanics of sound production and how to play in time, how to work together as a team, because every time we come to a job like this, we’re working with different people,” said Delaune. “How do we overcome some of those obstacles of constantly changing personnel to achieve the level that we do.”
Delaune sees a lot of benefits in conducting workshops like this one.
“As a high school student I never had these kinds of opportunities,” said
Delaune. “I think its fantastic the Army’s able to bring these programs into schools, and let them experience things that they otherwise would probably never see.”
Leonard found FDC’s performance and workshop even personally inspiring.
“These things are always so stirring,” said Leonard.
Ultimately students get a chance to think about service, and how the sacrifice of young people like themselves have contributed to their way of life, said Leonard.
“It never fails to impress me how impressed they are when its done,” said Leonard.