Tag Archives: contest

Author Profile: Josiah Raiche

Composer: Josiah Raiche
Music: The St. Albans Raid
Josiah Raiche

Josiah wrote that he “frequently arranges piano tunes for fife as well as harmonies for existing fife tunes, but have never before written an entire piece “from scratch.” This was a great challenge, and I hope that you will continue doing this contest.” Here is a bit more about Josiah:

Josiah Raiche is a teenage snare drummer in Hanaford’s Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps in northern VT. He plays multiple instruments, including Piano and Fife, and is involved in several musical groups. He is also a semiprofessional website and e-commerce page designer. Although he is usually quite busy homeschooling, he is also a prolific composer and has put together many fife harmonies and written two drum solos.

Check out Josiah’s drumming performance at the 2007 Maple Festival.

Author Profile: Jim Williams

Composer: Jim Williams
Music: The Battle of Flamborough Bay, Miss Potter’s Jigg
Instrument: Fife

Jim’s tune, Miss Potter’s Jigg, was the second runner-up in the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest. Here is a bit more about him:
Jim Williams
About me: I’ve been fifing for ten years, beginning in St John Junior Ancients, and 5th Alabama Field Music. Somehow, I got into composing music, and published my first music book for the fife in 2003, called Fifes on the Green. I’m now involved with Connecticut Valley Field Music, and the Grand Republic Fife and Drum corps. In my spare time, I do web design, Civil War reenacting, where I portray a tailor, and a lot more music.

Website: http://fifers.us

Author Profile: Casey Swanson

Composer: Casey Swanson
Music: Touch Your Toes

My name is Casey Swanson from Canton, MI. In the Fife and Drum community I play fife.
Casey Swanson
I am currently a member of the Detroit Durty Dawgs Fife & Drum Corps. I also serve as a fife instructor for the Plymouth Fife & Drum Corps from Plymouth, MI. I would like to thank Greg for such a great idea and for encouraging the sharing of our collective music.

Author Profile: Chris Szpara

Ok, I’ve had a busy week or two and have neglected my blogging duties. I still have a few contributors to the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest that I would like to highlight.


Composer: Chris Szpara
Music: Kenilworth Castle, Devitt’s Reel

My name is Christopher Szpara, and I play the fife.

Hmm lets see…

I am a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, with a degree in flute performance. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, composing and of course, fife and drum. I have marched with quite a few corps, including The Warehouse Point Jr. Fife and Drum Corps, The Warehouse Point Seniors, and Connecticut Valley field music. I am in my fifth year of playing with Ameri-Clique and quite recently I joined the Madison Street Project. Kenilworth Castle was written in 2003, and was named after the summer home of Mr. E.C. Taft, a wealthy paper mill owner from Holyoke MA. The castle stood for nearly 63 years gaining much fame and popularity in the city, when in 1959 it met its’ unfortunate demise.

Chris also tells me that he can be found on facebook.

Chris Szpara

Author Profile: Dan Moylan

Composer: Dan Moylan
Music: The Clueless Fifer

Dan has been diagnosed with a serious addiction to fife and drum. On his first encounter in 1948, a fellow clarinetist pulled a fife from his sleeve, and let him play a scale (low octave, of course) — a new world, endless possibilities! he bought one of his own on his next visit home from college, along with a 1928 edition of the American Veteran Fifer.
He learned the paradiddle from a fellow co-op student that same year and was extremely envious of folk who could drum.
Despite the interest, Dan never found a fife and drum corps to join until 1973, when he joined the Sudbury Ancients with two of his sons, under pressure from his wife (Oh, Br’er Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch!) The ensuing years were busy with Bicentennial reenactments, culminating in the trip to Yorktown in 1981.
In 1977, he undertook to learn the drum, to encourage his youngest son, who was just then taking up, but not practicing, Dan practiced one to two hours every day, starting at 0630, much to the delight of his family. He concentrated on the basic rudiments, and learned from Strube, whose up/down notation he still employs (with modifications).
When Patrick Arnow, an accomplished Connecticut drummer, joined the corps in 1989, Dan returned to the fife, but later cycled back to the snare, then to the barrel, and has finally returned in his declining years to the fife.
He is an ardent supporter of The Company, (introduced to it by Sudbury Faire announcer Russ Kirby) and has served as Executive Officer, and currently as Trustee, and editor of the Ancient Times — pro tem.
Every now and again, he tries his hand at writing a tune. As to the title of this one, as most of our drummers would say, “Aren’t they all?”
I would also like to point out that Dan is partially responsible for making space in the Ancient Times for the product of this contest. Thanks Dan for the support!
Dan Moylan

Author Profile: Katherine Bolcar

Composer: Katherine Bolcar
Music: The Insult
Katherine Bolcar
Kate’s music received praise for being most catchy by one of the voters in the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest. Here is more about Kate.

Kate received her Bachelor of Music (2003) and Master of Arts (2005) in Vocal Performance from Montclair State University. Kate is currently the choir director at Dickinson High School in Jersey City where her duties include teaching voice class, choir, beginning keyboard and marching band. In her studies, Kate has experienced many forms of singing , including opera, musical theater, choir, folk and rock. She has performed with such groups as The NJ Concert Opera, The NJ Symphony Orchestra, The Montclair State University Singers and Chorale, The MSU Symphonic Band and Schola Cantorum on Hudson. Kate can also be heard singing with the professional a cappella quartet, “Wassail” and has served as a vocal coach for the local rock band Temporary Ways in conjunction with DMR Media. Miss Bolcar has also performed and directed musical theater shows throughout NJ. Kate has sung such roles as Josephine (Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S Pinafore”), Savitri (Holst’s “Savitri”), The Foreign Woman (Menotti’s “The Consul”) and Mrs. Fiorentino (Weill’s “Street Scene”). She has directed children’s productions of “Les Miserables”, “Grease”, “High School Musical”, “The Sound of Music”, “Phantom of the Opera” and “Pippy Longstocking”. Kate has taught private voice all over NY and NJ and conducts the choirs at Stokes Forest Music Camp. However, her experiences are not limited to vocal music. Kate also plays and teaches a number of instruments. Kate has worked with Hackensack High School Marching Band as a percussion and visual tech as well as the Colonial Musketeers Jr. Ancient Fife and Drum Corps. from Hackettstown, NJ, where she can be seen working with the advanced fife line and arranging their music. Kate has provided brass instruction for The Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps. of Rockland County, NY and most recently, Fusion, of Minehill, NJ. Kate is a member of The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Sigma Alpha Iota (International Music Fraternity for Women), The National Association for Music Education (MENC) and attends workshops and seminars at the annual NJMEA Convention.

Kate can be found through her web site katherinebolcar.com, and if you look hard enough, you might find her on facebook.

Author Profile: Christopher Lussier

Composer: Christopher Lussier
Music: Field Castle
Christopher Lussier
Christopher was the 1st runner-up in the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest. Here is a bit more about Chris.

I have been a musician, songwriter, or private teacher for nearly all my life. My main instruments of choice include the Boehm and Simple-System flutes, penny whistles, saxophones, piano, and, of course, the fife. I currently fife with the Ancient Mariners and the Kentish Guards Fife and Drum Corps, and along with Chris Myers, I have had the pleasure of introducing several of my original tunes as fife solos for the KG’s. I am a service veteran of the U.S. Army, where I learned to play the fife with the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from Fort Myer, VA. I attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ma. I have published my own music collection, 25 (or so) Tunes to Make Your Face Fall Off, which is still available through the Company of Fifers and Drummers Store. As my musical journey continues, I still compose music for fife and drum, Celtic instruments and modern ensemble settings. My writing style is more melodic, as a rule. I like my harmonies and counterpoints to follow a natural, unforced path of progression towards their resolution.

I currently pay the bills and live indoors by working in the theater business, building stage props for Trinity Repertory Company, Providence, RI., and by sharing my life with my sweetheart and drumming companion, Heidi.

I’m not too computer-savvy, and I don’t have a “My Space” page, (yet!) but you can always say hello to me at feadog41@aol.com. (Btw, “feadog” is my favorite penny whistle, and 41 was my age when I first logged on to the Internet!)

Author Profile: Chris Myers

Composer: Chris Myers, from Portsmouth, RI
Music: Mustah Foot
Chris Myers
I play the fife, guitar, saxophone, and am in the embryonic stages of playing Irish flute and tin whistle. I am also a singer/songwriter, and have a fairly decent-sized repertoire of original music.

I’ve been a life-long musician, whose creative spurts have come in bursts, recently only slightly hampered by the demands of real life: marriage, home ownership, kids, pets, career, etc., but recently the ‘real life’ job has been viewed as what I do during the day to support my music habit. I’ve been involved in the fife and drum world for about 5 years, having come from a background of high school marching band, and having never picked up a fife before then. I took to the fife pretty quickly, and soon became Fife Sergeant with my corps, the Kentish Guards, having also been mostly responsible for putting together our summer stand pieces, and medleys. In addition to playing and composing, I’ve also taken to adding harmonies to some traditional, and traditional-style fife tunes, some of which have been incorporated into the KG’s standard repertoire.

I compose under the Zen-like theory that there really is only one tune. We just play different parts of it at different times.

Chris did not provide me with a web site. However a quick google search finds him busy on pages like this.

In addition to Chris’s bio, he also included a kind statement about the contest.

I think what Greg is doing here is a spectacular example of the spirit of traditional music, and regardless of the outcome of this little experiment, I think the world is a better place for having given folks the opportunity to add just a little more beauty to it.

Thank you, Greg.

Thank you, Chris.

Author Profile: Donald Heminitz

I would like to start the author profiles for all those that submitted tunes to the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest with the winner.

Donald Heminitz plays the fife and the flute. He contributed two tunes: Misty Morning, which was the winner, and The Royal Troubadours.
Donald Heminitz

Currently a junior music major at Millersville University of Pennsylvania with concentration on the flute, Donald has been both a re-enactor and fifer since he was 11 years old. He was awarded the “Most Improved Fifer” Award in April 2004 at the Don Hubbard Field Music School and in June 2006 was given the title “Master Fifer” by George Carroll under the ranking system of the International Association of Field Musicians. He currently plays with the Mifflin Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Colonial Musketeers Senior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, and the 3rd New Jersey Field Music, which on July 4, 2006 performed live at Times Square in New York City on ABC’s Good Morning America. He has also been the fife instructor for the Boy Scouts of America Troop 53 Fife and Drum Corps of Maytown, PA since October 2005.

His web site is http://ancientfifeanddrum.com

Congratulations again Donald.

Contest: Results


Before I announce the winners of the Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest I wanted to say a few things.

First, the amount of participation in both submissions and voting was outstanding. Music was submitted by both male and female, by fifers, drummers and guitarists, by the young and the … experienced, from Massachusetts to Michigan. In some cases these tunes were the authors first attempts at writing. Everything that was submitted was of high quality and, consequently, I heard many complaints during the voting process that people had a very difficult time picking just one that they liked most. The challenge for the voters was considerable and the final results reflected a very balanced field of submissions. In fact, just about every entry received votes. Having said that, there were some clear front runners. So, without further adieu I would like to announce the three submissions with the most popular votes.

2nd Runner-Up:
Miss Potter’s Jigg by Jim Williams

1st Runner-Up:
Field Castle by Christopher Lussier

And the Winner of the 2008 Baconworks Tune-smithing Contest is:
Misty Morning by Donald Heminitz

Congratulations to Donald, Christopher and Jim! Also, congratulations to all the authors that took the time to submit their wonderful music.

After working with the editors of the Ancient Times, I have made arrangements to have all three pieces published in the Spring edition of the quarterly periodical.

In addition, The Company of Fifers and Drummers is interested in publishing a book of all twenty submissions. I will, therefore, be contacting all the authors regarding the details and requesting their permission for publication.

Over the course of the next few days I will be posting the biographies of all the authors. Until then, here is the complete list of tunes with the author names listed in no particular order:

  • Misty Morning: Donald Heminitz
  • The Insult: Katherine Bolcar
  • Royal Troubadours: Donald Heminitz
  • The Battle of Flamborough Bay: Jim Williams
  • The Festering Fish: Eric Chomka
  • Mustah Foot: Chris Myers
  • Kenilworth Castle: Christopher Szpara
  • Bernard’s Barn: Eric Chomka
  • Devitt’s Reel: Christopher Szpara
  • The Clueless Fifer: Dan Moylan
  • Hot Peppers at Midnight: Pat Arnow, Al Renzi, Mary Punch
  • Two Pints Past Dizzy: Emit Karakuls
  • Miss Potter’s Jigg: Jim Williams
  • Taking the Stroll: Dominick Cuccia
  • Night Creatures: John Ciaglia
  • Touch Your Toes: Casey Swanson
  • Field Castle: Christopher Lussier
  • Feast of the Geese Eaters: John Ciaglia
  • On the Streets of New Haven: John Ciaglia
  • The St. Albans Raid: Josiah Raiche

Lastly, I would like to share with you a snippet of an email that I received from one voter, which demonstrates the true thought that many voters devoted to the process. Having a hard time picking one entry, this voter felt compelled to submit her fun list of runner-ups:

The Insult (most catchy)
Festering Fish (most fun to play for fifers)
Devitt’s Reel (most cheerful)
Two Pints Past Dizzy (truly dizzying)
Kenilworth Castle (short and delightful)

So, thank you all, both authors and voters, for contributing and making this successful. And, once again, congratulations to the winners!