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Band of Music
Most Regiments maintained a " Band of Music" which was distinct from the Field music. These generally consisted of oboes, clarinets, French Horns, and bassoons, but, interestingly, not drums. They would play at ceremonial occasions and instances such as the Regiment's mounting guard, though at the Battle off Long Island it is reported that a Hessian regiment fought with it's band on the field with them. They would also, usually playing stringed instruments, providing dinner entertainment for the officers.
A musician in the Guards, W.T. Parke, in writing his memoirs says the following, "The bands of the three regiments of Guards consisted in 1783 of only eight performers, two oboes, two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons. They were excellent performers on their instruments and hired by the month being paid well. They were not attested and only played for parade from the Horse Guards to St. James's Place while the King's Guard was mounted and back again from the to the Horse Guards."
Since the bands were composed entirely, in most cases, of civilian musicians working under form of contract (usually to the officers of the regiment.) they tended to be somewhat independent and quite unlike the enlisted bandsmen who would later replace them. An officer of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, Lord Cathcart, had planned a boat excursion to Greenwich and wished to be provided with the services of the regimental band for the occasion. The members of the band, for reasons unspecified politely declined his offer. Since this was outside the scope of their contract and because they were civilians he could not order them to comply with his wishes. The officers of the regiment desired to have a band they could more easily command applied to the Duke of York, who happened to be in Hanover at the time. Recognizing the problem the Duke, after seeking the King's approval, enlisted a number of German musicians and sent them to the regiment's headquarters in London. Presumably the contract with the civilian musician was allowed to lapse.
In 1783, an Order permitted soldiers with three tears of continuous service to apply for their discharge from their regiment. The 33rd Regiment of Foot was in garrison on Long Island, New York during that time. Major William Dansey in writing to his commanding officer said the following: "By order about the three years discharge, viz.: Collier, Lisk, and Carey, but the two latter will not enlist again (ungrateful dogs). So my dear Colonel, do enlist two clarinets and what other music you think proper, especially a horn or two. I never wish to be without a Band as I have a penny to spare and the whole of us here are of that opinion."
Thank You to Fifer Kelly Leet, of H.M. 10th Regiment of Foot Music Company for allowing of the publication of this material. Taken from The Springer September 2001 issue.