Saturday, March 7, 2009

Leo J. Brennan's Buck Soistmann Drum (ca. 1964)

Tim Brennan wrote about this drum from his father's, Leo J. Brennan, collection. Leo J. Brennan operates "Ye Old Colonial Sutler's Shoppe" of Madison, Connecticut:

[This] drum is more modern than a Brown or a Stevens but ... I think it's worthy of inclusion in your blog: a [Buck] Soistmann.

This drum stands 24" high and the heads are 17 inches wide. There are individual set screws for snare adjustment on this one.

There are 3 iron feet on the bottom to prevent direct contact with the ground, and 2 atop counterbalanced by the sling hook. There are the customary 10 leather ears with a star motif.

By far the most dramatic aspect of this drum is the handpainted shell: The symbolic eagle clutching arrows and olive branch, facing left with shield and ribbon, wings extended against the rising sun. It's a real eyeful. I have seen a drum of this type with different colored rims on ebay last week, it was described as a GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) drum, excellent condition, the original shell by Buck Soistmann but finished by another, with a buy it now price of ... $6,750. (Suffice it to say, it got no bids ....) More later, Tim.

P.S. ... I do know that this drum was made for the Dickerson band, and that was quite a while ago, but I'll get a defintive date for you. Nice looking field drum, though. It's currently an end table in my dad's living room [with] a glass top made to protect the head ..., it's quite preserved.

... [D]arn nice blog. I love to check up on it daily. You probably don't hear that enough. Good night, Tim

[Editor's Note: The Charles W. Dickerson Fife and Drum Corps

Charles W. Dickerson Field Music (New Rochelle, NY) performing at the 2007 Westbrook Muster in Westbrook, Ct.

See also Boddie, D. L. (1981). We've come a long way together: The story of a drum corps. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Charles W. Dickerson Field Music Corp. Gift of Gannett Suburban Newspapers to Westchester County Historical Society.

Also, concerning the connection among Sanford Moeller (who made the drums played by the Dickerson corps) and the corps: "Another drummer, similar to Moore, was Sanford Moeller from New York who taught Gene Krupa and Jim Chapin. Moeller produced great drum lines from 1933 to about 1960 that used a system of wave motions in their playing, which was truly unique in appearance from other corps (Andrews: 1). One of these drum lines exists today under the name of the Charles W. Dickerson Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps in Mt. Vernon, New York." The Timeline Of Marching And Field Percussion: Part 3, By Jeff Hartsough and Derrick Logozzo.

And Cliff Barrows links it all together for us in Drummer's Service "Rudimental Drumming", The Rudimental Drumming Message Board: "Here is the history of Drummer's Service that I know. Gus Moeller started his drum making in NYC, and the business was taken over by Buck Soistman and moved to Maryland. Bill Reamer took over the business after Buck Soistman in the early 70's. Bill's son, Andy, and another drummer, Mark, from the Independance Fife and Drum Corps worked there too. I remember that Mark did the painting."

Dominick Cuccia's family's set of Reamer Drums

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