What a weekend, am I right people? Now, I know you're saying "It's Tuesday, Mike", but I took yesterday off because..... well, because. Maybe some of you got some work done around the house this weekend, or took off to the beach or cottage (thanks for the invite :( ). Some of you, though, were able to join us at Fort George National Historic site in Niagara-On-The-Lake for a particularly special event. The Battle of Fort George, always a favourite in the living history community paused this weekend for a Change of Command Ceremony for the Crown Forces North America.
Now I'll be the first to say that in our 17 years, the Drums have been blessed. This group of volunteers has gone all over Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Louisiana, Virginia and Belgium all the while portraying British Napoleonic era field musicians and playing their music to pay homage to their memory. We've seen some wondrous things, and met so many fine friends along the way - it really is surreal! Our successes certainly are wrought of our members' hard work and commitment, but it is not practice alone that has taken us this far. Our unique look, sound and dynamic would not be what it is without the ongoing contributions of one of the finest historians, commanding officers and men that I know. That man is Peter Twist.
Peter Twist who has served as Brigadier General of the battalion has chosen to retire from his role after almost two decades of service. Peter's accomplishments in this hobby are too extensive to list. Suffice it to say, modern Napoleonic reenacting in North America would not be what it is today without him. The results of his extensive research into the period can be seen in the variety of regiments that now strive for accuracy and attention to detail in every aspect of the hobby.
In all our travels, two things are ALWAYS mentioned by curious onlookers: Our unique uniforms and diverse musical arrangements. What many don't know is that it was Peter's research that contributed an awful lot to the development of both of those aspects of our group. Somehow outdoing himself, Peter also helped us to source almost ALL of the items we needed from shakos to swords to the very lace on our coats.
Peter will be the first to tell you that it was not by his actions alone that these successes were achieved, but it has arguably been his inspired leadership which has turned what was a collection of disparate groups operating on their own terms into a cohesive community dedicated to an accurate portrayal of our history. His mark can be seen on so many aspects of our hobby, including the Drums.
Now this all sounds very deep and dire, but really it's but a very long and drawn out way for the Drums and I to say thank you to the man who has been our friend from the very beginning. Peter, you're of the highest kind and quality. Know that you leave the battalion in the excellent hands of now Brigadier Craig Williams.
Your enormous presence will be missed on the field... so we'll have to walk out to the sutler's area to visit every chance we can :). Never one to sit for too long, Peter is busy running Historical Twist. Check out his website and Facebook page to see what he's up to next and how he can help you recreate history with a Twist!
(with photo credit to Rolf Gollin)