The history of The National Civil War Field Music School really begins in 2001, when former school Music Director Jari Villanueva sat down with fellow Civil War re-enactor and self-described "wanna-be bugler" Don Hubbard (1943-2003) to talk about setting up a school for field musicians in the hobby, based on the Civil War-era School of Practice at Governor's Island, NY. Don and Jari met several times that summer during and after the filming of "Gods and Generals," and the result was the Eastern Field Music School, held for the first time in 2002 at Ft. Delaware, DE.
Don was the driving force behind that first school, and he oversaw everything from registration to setting up cots to serving as military commander. Jari served as head of the music faculty, and worked closely with Don on the Eastern Field Music School in 2003 as well.
Sadly for all who knew and admired him, Don Hubbard passed away suddenly of a heart attack in December 2003. Jari was honored to sound Taps at the funeral of his good friend and respected colleague, and will always miss their discussions and debates about music, research, and re-enacting. Don's legacy now lives on in the field musicians he trained and inspired, and we dedicate The National Civil War Field Music School to his memory and his dreams.
Here are some excerpts from reflections by friends and fellow re-enactors and musicians about Don's life and what he brought to Civil War re-enacting and field music.
"Don was a Virginia Gentleman in the best sense, and gave his time and talent to our hobby for 40 years."
"It takes strong personalities to change things in this hobby, and Don was responsible for a generation of young musicians doing it right."
"He was an icon in the reenacting world, and will be sorely missed. I first met him at 135th Antietam, and will always remember his kindness and patience with the young drummers. He was a teacher, historian, and human being of the first order... Don and others began taking charge of music at events. Offering properly trained buglers and field music corps to Generals. Today bugle calls and field music at Parade and for camp duty is an integral part of nearly ALL reenactments..."
"Don was the type of person who had a high standard for authenticity in reenacting & film work. As a result, he would get quite frustrated with change that he, at times, was unsuccessful in facilitating. Even so, he was never heard to say an unkind word about anybody."
"Don always went way out of his way to encourage each of us in bugling and reenacting, and always treated us as special friends. I suspect that Don did that with everyone, but he nevertheless made us feel that we were high in his friendship."
"It is said that in any body of men there are three groups -- the 'doers,' the 'complainers' and the 'troops.' Don was definitely a 'doer,' always looking for ways to help and going above and beyond the simple call of duty. And I don't think I ever heard him complain."
"His devotion to the music (on the field and off) of the War was so well known, not only to us who profited from his organizing the Confederate musicians at major events, but to the many thousands of spectators at those events who benefited from the demos of bugling and field music he set up and led. His selfless dedication to the Eastern Field Music School was a legacy to dozens of drummers, fifers and buglers in which he will live on."