The Towpath Volunteers have been bringing Our American Heritage to Life for over 40 years. From the humble beginning with a few kids playing only three simple songs and never having practiced a corner before our first parade, the Naples Fireman's Parade in 1978, to becoming one of the Largest, World Traveling, Family Oriented Fife and Drum Corps in the country. In the year 2000, the group adopted the philosophy of fifing and drumming excellence. Within a couple of years, the evidence of our hard work started paying off with the invitation to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The group has continued to grow while keeping it affordable for whole families to march together.
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It is with great sadness that the Towpath Voulnteers Fife and Drum Corps announces the passing of Bass Drummer Bill Guchone. Bill has been with the corps for over twenty years, the early years as a Militia member and the last several years playing the Bass Drum.
It was with great pride that Bill had the chance to have his Snare Drummer son William, and two of his grandchildren march with him in the Macedon Memorial Day Parade. Three generations of Guchones for the first time and hopefully not the last.
Out thoughts and prayers go out to Bill's wife Rosemary, his son William and Hanna, and the rest of the Guchone Family.
The Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps 2022 Marching Schedule is jam packed with over 30 performances booked. The Volunteers are excited to be marching again after two years of little or no events. May finds the group with 8 performances over 11 days, including three on Memorial Day on the 30th.
The Volunteers have made a special effort to have more local events as they build towards hosting the return of the World Fife and Drum Friendship Festival in 2023. Macedon events include Memorial Day, Flag Day (Unfortunatley the Towpath segement was canceled due to inclement weather) and a new festival to be held September 3rd, Macedon Heritage Festival on the Erie. This annual festival will have live music from local bands including Kubick's Rubes and Nic and the Nice Guys. Beer and wine provided by Dispatch Brewing and JD Wine Cellers. Local organizations and serverce groups will have informations booths and a kids zone with Bounce House and Climbing Wall. The Towpath Volunteers are sponsering a Food Truck Rodeo with your favorite food trucks in attendence.
Some of the biggest and best events this season include the Montour Falls Parades of Bands, Chilli Fest in Chilli in June, Penfield and Irondeqouit Independence Day Parades, National Night Out in Gananda, the Sauerkraut Festival in Phelps in August, The Peach Festival in Lewiston and the return of Canal Town Days in Palmyra in September. For addiditoan parades and Information, check out the Towpath Volunteers Performance Calendar.
The group has welcomed several new members to join its ranks this past winter, but, is always looking for additional interested people. The group's affordabilty is perfect for families. Their is no cost to join, and the group provides the lessons for free. This is a great way to spend time with your family or as part of the Towpath Family. No Expierence is required and the group meets Wednesday evenibngs year round in Macedon. E-Mail us at TowpathVolunteers@TowpathVolunteers.org for more information.
It is great to have some sense of normalcy in 2021, and this includes the Towpath Volunteers appearing in parades and performances. With the 2020 marching schedule completely wiped out due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the 2021 schedule, though reduced from previous years, has the group in performing in a dozen or so events.
It is a season in flux as many events are caught between planning an event and not knowing what limitations, if any, will be required to hold it. The 2021 schedule has already had many updates and a few cancelations so please check the schedule before heading out to see us. We will keep our on-line schedule up to date as we are informed of any changes.
How will this effect our hopes of attending the next installment of the World Fife and Drum Festival in Sitzerland in 2021? This event unfortunatley had to be canceled. With groups from around the world expected to attend, the organizers were unable to assure funding to hold such a large endevor. While this is unfortunate, it also brings us to some exciting news: The "World Fife and Drum Friendship Festival" will again be coming to the USA as the Towpath Volunteers have agreed to host the event in conjunction with the Macedon and Wayne County Bicentennial celebration. The event will take place from August 31st through September 4th in 2023. We will continue to keep the website up to date as information becomes available.
The invitation to perform at the European Fife and Drum Festival held in Saint-Tropez, France in September of 2011, was perhaps the greatest single event the corps has ever undertaken. With the Towpath Volunteers in attendance, the festival was able to call itself a World Fife and Drum Festival, and Towpath enjoyed the "Royal Treatment". Before the Volunteers had even left Saint-Tropez, discussion had already begun on bringing the European groups to our home town of Macedon, New York.
The trip to Saint-Tropez opened many doors, to new adventures and friendships. After a trip to Ivrea, Italy in March of 2014 at the Historic Carnivale, the Towpath Volunteers were honored to host corps from Italy, Belgium and France, in September of 2015 to join us in the 1st World Fife and Drum Festival. The World Fife and Drum Festival continued in 2017 in Belgium and 2019 in Italy. Switzerland will be the home to the festival in 2021.
The Towpath Volunteers prides itself in a having a family oriented all-inclusive organization.
Membership: Members come in all ages and all shapes and sizes. Families march together. One does not need to be from Macedon to be part of this group. Members come from throughout Wayne and surrounding counties. No musical or marching experience is required. There is something for everyone! Learn the Fife or Drum, march in the Color Guard, Militia or with the banner.
Practices: Weekly practices are held in the cafeteria of the Pal-Mac Intermediate School each Wednesday from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM. During the summer months practices are held at the pavilion at Canal Park (Lock 30) in Macedon. Lessons are provided by experienced instructors.
Local Parades: The Towpath Volunteers march throughout Wayne and surrounding counties performing at local Firemen’s parades and community festivals. Generally, the parade season starts with St. Patrick’s Day and continues through September.
Community Service: Part of what makes the corps special is the involvement in the community. The corps can be seen at nursing homes, scouting events and other local events.
Honoring our Veterans: The Military Medley is played whenever possible to honor our veterans.
Sharing our History: Fifing and Drumming is part of our American heritage. The fifes and drums are representative of those used during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The music and uniforms also represent periods in our history.
Affordable: There is no membership fee to join. All lessons are provided by the corps. Uniforms and other equipment are provided. The only cost to an individual would be the purchase of a beginner fife ($7.00). A member would also need to purchase their own socks and shoes.
Honoring our Country: Towpath is proud to display a full Color Guard by carrying the 50 Star Flag, New York State Flag and the Betsy Ross Flag. The corps had the honor to play at the White House and for President Ronald Reagan.
Other Travel: The corps has also travelled to Disney World Florida, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates in Tampa, and the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Other events over the years include fife and drum musters throughout New England.
Volunteer: This group is 100% volunteers. All instructors and leaders volunteer to make this group successful.
The Towpath Volunteers Senior corps is a family organization open to anyone interested in preserving Our American Heritage. With musical and non musical sections in the corps, a knowledge of music is not required. Lessons and equipment are provided and there is no cost to join. The group does not have an age limit but to march with a fife or a drum with the Corps, the individual is required to have a number of songs memorized and show they can march with the group. The areas available are the Militia, Camp Followers, Color Guard, Fifes and Snare or Bass Drums. The group practices weekly, year round, from 6:30 - 8:00 P.M. Wednesday evenings in the village of Macedon, NY. Please direct any question on joining or hiring the Towpath Volunteers to: TowpathVolunteers@TowpathVolunteers.org.
Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps Inc.
PO Box 31 Macedon, New York 14502 * email:TowpathVolunteers@TowpathVolunteers.org
©Towpath Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps Inc. 2022