The California Consolidated Drum Band was formed in 1996, combining the Field music of the National Civil War Association (NCWA), the Fife and Drum Corps of the Reenactors of the American Civil War (RACW), and members of the former Fort Sutter Fife and Drum Corps.
Jack Doyle, a corps director, grew up in Branford, Connecticut, and played with Stony Creek for many years before moving to San Francisco in the late 1970s, bringing the Ancient music with him. As a lone fifer beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at a foggy Fort Point, he met drummer and fellow director Chris Drake at a Civil War Demonstration Day, and they began to provide field music for the NCWA. Marty Sampson, a member of the RACW and CCDB's third director, met Jack and Chris as part of a school project. Don Hattin and John O'Neil, members of the former Fort Sutter Fife and Drum Corps, helped locate some of their alumni.
By the fall of 1996, other fifers and drummers from throughout the state had been found, and CCDB made its first public appearance at a parade in Nevada City. In October, 1996, CCDB became the first California corps in the Company of Fifers and Drummers, truly spreading the Ancient music "from sea to shining sea." CCDB became California's Official Fife and Drum Corps in 1997 and is now in its second decade of vigorous activity.
California has an area of over 155,000 square miles, and very little on-going fife and drum tradition. An 8-hour drive separates many members of our corps. One of the greatest challenges in the beginning was just getting together to play. Civil War reenactments provided the answer. They supplied a much-needed context for the music, and eager audience, and allowed us marathon practice sessions! "Local area practices" take place weekly in Chico and Palo Alto.
Encouragement came from throughout the fife and drum community. The music of the Camp Chase Fife and Drum Corps definitely influenced our early years. To help our developing drummers, Jim Clark, George Yeramian and Vinny Cziepiel sent tapes of drum rudiments and musters. The internet is also a valuable resource. Chris Drake created our website where we post music and keep each other informed. Historical fife and drum manuals and other research sources continue to guide our progress.