Mike Edson, Drum Major of Fort Ticonderoga’s Fife and Drum Corps, received Fort Ticonderoga’s Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award during the Saturday evening (July 25) Fife and Drum Corps Twilight Concert, in recognition of his dedicated forty years of lifetime leadership, commitment, and support of Fort Ticonderoga and the Fife and Drum Corps.
“We are so delighted to recognize Mike Edson for his outstanding leadership in the Fife & Drum Corps,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Mike’s commitment to excellence, dedication to Fort Ticonderoga’s educational mission, and strong passion to inspire youth has made him an exceptional leader and significant member of our Fort Ticonderoga team. We are grateful to him for his forty years of service and applaud all that he has accomplished at Fort Ticonderoga and in the Ticonderoga community.”
“I clearly remember my first summer, 1975, at Fort Ticonderoga,” said Mike Edson. “I performed at the Lake Placid Olympics; stood alongside the U.S.S. Ticonderoga at its christening; marched in Boston’s Evacuation Day St. Patrick’s Parade; and accompanied the Declaration of Independence as it was placed on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Being involved with Fort Ticonderoga’s Fife and Drum Corps has allowed me to have countless experiences. I have been a part of the Fort Ticonderoga family for 40 years. Nearly three quarters of my life has been spent in uniform making the site’s story come to life for our visitors!”
The Fife and Drum Corps Today
The Fifes and Drums of Fort Ticonderoga today represent military musicians who served at the fort historically. Comprised of area high school students and led by Drum Major Mike Edson, the Corps trains throughout the winter and spring in preparation for the summer performances. The Corps members are paid Fort Ticonderoga employees and learn skills in public history, museum studies, historic trades, and education in addition to their work in musical performances.
In 2015 the Fort Ticonderoga Fife & Drum Corps are portraying fifers and drummers from the Languedoc Regiment of the French Army. Each day in July and August the Fife and Drum Corps plays songs containing important information, called duty tunes. From reveille in the morning to tattoo at night, or sounding the alarm and calling to arms, the Fifes and Drums regulate days at the fort today. The Fife and Drum Corps leads Fort Ticonderoga historic interpreters and visitors alike to demonstrations and tours with period marches. The Corps celebrates its long history and that of the reconstructed fort and King’s Garden in concerts featuring a vast repertoire of favorite songs collected over the decades. From stirring to somber, enjoy the martial sounds of this band of excellent young musicians.
History of the Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps
Fort Ticonderoga formed its first Fife and Drum Corps in 1926 on the eve of the 150th anniversary celebrations of American Independence. The Corps performed at the fort each summer until the beginning of World War II. When the World’s Fair came to New York City in 1939, the Fife and Drum Corps was a featured performer on May 10th, Fort Ticonderoga Day, celebrating the 164th anniversary of the capture of the fort by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys.
In 1973, in preparation for the bicentennial, Fort Ticonderoga revived the Fife and Drum Corps to perform daily during the fort’s summer season. The Fife and Drum Corps has performed every year since and has been featured performers at many major public events including the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games, the christening of the US Navy Guided Missile Cruiser USS Ticonderoga CG-47, the opening celebration of the Reagan Library, and several Evacuation Day parades in Boston, Massachusetts.