The John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps was the idea of Dr. Wendell Dobbs and his wife, Linda, both professors in the department of music. They approached Dr. Alan Gould, director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy at Marshall, and he coordinated fundraising efforts to absorb the group’s startup costs and make the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps a reality.
“Dr. Gould and President Stephen Kopp immediately recognized the potential of such an organization both for our students and the institution,” Wendell Dobbs said. “And then, Judy Ketchum and Lena Shell provided the resources to make it happen. Without their belief in our work, this worthy project simply wouldn’t happen.”
The corps is patterned after the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in Washington, D.C. Marshall alumni Lutricia Tampa Fields and Jennifer Razok Bailey both serve in that premiere ensemble.
Events of the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps
• Video – Drummers Call Grand Review
Williamsburg, VA – May 17, 2008
More Information about the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps
The John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps wear Revolutionary War era uniforms created locally by Magic Makers Costumes and perform on McDonagh fifes and rope drums similar to those used in Washington. Their music is from the era of Chief Justice John Marshall. Members of the corps are students and teachers in the department of music.
“They have devoted the summer months to learning the fife and writing drill routines,” Wendell Dobbs said. They were trained early in August by Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps retiree Susan Brockman, who spent several days with the group, Dobbs said. “The students have been splendid. They’ve devoted their creativity, time, effort and professionalism in making this a quality group. I think the public will recognize their excellence.”
The emblem on the corps’ drums and uniforms was designed by John Marshall and appears on a watch fob he procured in Paris during the time of the famous XYZ Affair. The emblem is used with the kind permission of APVA Preservation Virginia, Dobbs said.
As Drinko Fellow for the 2007-08 academic year, Wendell Dobbs developed a schedule of events to display the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps. In addition to the WVU Marshall home football game, they have performed in Richmond on Sept. 24 (John Marshall’s birthday) at the rededication of Shockoe Hill Cemetery, where the remains of John Marshall, John Cabell and other famous Virginians rest, and later that day at the John Marshall House and the Library of Virginia. The return trip from Richmond included events at Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University and Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, W.Va. The corps performed at the Mountain State Forest Festival on Oct. 6 in Elkins, W.Va., the Homecoming Parade on Oct 27 and at the Tri-State Band Festival at Marshall University on Nov. 3.
Dobbs said the John Deaver Drinko Academy’s mission to reinvigorate civic and political culture inspired the creation of the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps. “The corps’ music and image will reaffirm Marshall University’s link with the era and spirit of Chief Justice John Marshall,” Dobbs said.
For more information on The John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps contact
Dr. Wendell Dobbs
Professor of Music (flute)
Department of Music
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755