Donald Heminitz, Music Director
Donald has studied orchestral flute since 1998 under teachers Karen El-Chaar and Joel Behrens, a former member of the USMA Band at West Point and student of John Wummer, former Principle Flute of the New York Philharmonic. Donald graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
He began learning fife in 1999 as a Civil War re-enactor in eastern Pennsylvania. He has since earned the "Most Improved Fifer" Award in 2004 from the Don Hubbard Field Music School and the title "Master Fifer” in 2006 after testing his skills with George Carroll.
In 2006 Donald performed on Good Morning America with the 3rd New Jersey Field Music and in 2009 participated with the Camp Chase Fifes and Drums in Chillicothe, Ohio in the recording of their fourth album, Echoes From the Past. In 2010 Donald performed with the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums (MCV) in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo held in Sydney, Australia, and on July 4th he appeared with MCV on stage with the Boston Pops.
Jari Villanueva, Bugle
Jari Villanueva holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University and Kent State University. Jari retired from the United States Air Force in 2008 after twenty-three years as a trumpeter, bugler, drum major and staff arranger with The United States Air Force Band. He led The USAF Band in ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the White House and served as the Non-commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) for the Arrival and Departure ceremonies for the State Funerals of former presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. He has also sounded Taps over 2,000 times at Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries. Considered the country’s foremost authority on US military bugle calls and the bugle call Taps, he was responsible for moving the bugle used at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral from the Smithsonian to Arlington, where it remains on display in the Visitor Center.
Gerard Cortese, Drum
Gerard Cortese began his drumming career through Civil War re-enacting at the age of 10 and has been playing in the hobby for over 20 years. He received his Bachelors Degree from Berklee College of Music in 2003 and a Masters Degree in Music Education from Hofstra University in 2008.
Gerard has performed as a member of the Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corps. He has performed in many different parades, Northeastern Competitions, and Exhibitions with The Bethpage Colonials Fife and Drum. He has played with the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums and has performed with them in several different International Military Tattoos. Gerard has also performed with the 3rd NJ Fife and Drum, 119th NY Fife and Drum, 85th Regiment de Saintonge (Revolutionary War), and is still a member of the 7th NJ Field Music.
Patrick Jones, Drum
Patrick began his percussion experience by marching drum and bugle corps in 1996 with the Golden Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps from Pittsburgh, PA. He continued with that organization in 1997, along with the Bluecoats in 2001, and Santa Clara Vanguard in 2003. During that time, he also performed with Project Percussion which competed in Winter Guard International competitions.
He is a member of the Camp Chase Fifes and Drums where he has studied and transcribed percussion notation from various historical fife and drum manuals. He has served primarily as Drum Sergeant for the past 4 years. Along with Camp Chase, he also performs with, and instructs, the Fort Pitt Fife and Drum Corps from Pittsburgh.
Patrick has taught 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies for 11 years at Upper St. Clair School District in Pittsburgh, PA. He also instructs the high school drumline, and has taught various other percussion ensembles around the Pittsburgh area.
Austin Rogers, Drum
Austin Rogers has been playing drum since 2007. He chanced to meet members of the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps in that same year and has been a member ever since. Austin works at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine as a Living Historian, working with artillery and playing fife and drum every day. Since 2014 he has taken a leading role in the Fort McHenry Guard as a lead drummer.
He is versed in music from both the War of 1812 and the American Civil War and has represented the National Park Service at all the major commemorations of the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. He is excited to have the school back in his hometown again and is eager to meet all of the students.
Brian Steffey, Drum
Brian Steffey entered his fife and drum career in 1994 at age 11, as a snare drummer in the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment (Civil War). He was formally instructed on snare drum by Peter Hubert as a member of The Westfield Fife & Drum Corps. Brian has competed in both the NJ State and Northeastern Fife and Drum competitions. Brian is currently a member of both the 3rd NJ Fifes and Drums and The Camp Chase Fife and Drum Corps. On July 4th 2006 Brian had the honor of performing live with the 3rd NJ in NYC on the television program Good Morning America. He currently teaches drum to the newly formed Fort Pitt Fife and Drum Corps in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Kate Bolcar, Fife
Kate Bolcar began her fife and drum career in 1992 as a fife student of Jim Douglas in The Colonial Musketeers Jr. Fife and Drum Corps. While performing with CMJC, Kate performed all over the United States, Canada and abroad as well as earned multiple State and Northeastern Championship titles including 4 individual Northeastern Championship titles. Before aging out of The Colonial Musketeers, Kate began teaching the fife line and arranging music for the corps. Her arrangements and original compositions are still played by the corps and many of her former fife students have gone on to win championships and perform in senior corps. She also served as the Director for 5 years and was inducted into the NJ Fife and Drum Hall of Fame for her volunteer efforts on behalf of the corps.
Kate's teaching experience is not limited to The Colonial Musketeers. She has taught fife at The Don Hubbard Field Music School as well as The Company of Fifers and Drummers Junior's Days. She also holds a NJ Teacher Certification and has directed several high school and middle school choirs and bands.
Pete Emerick, Fife
Many years have come and gone since Pete’s introduction to fife and drum. He began under the instruction of his father who was the director of a local fife and drum corps organized to celebrate the centennial of the Civil War. The corps ventured into the Revolutionary War era in the early 60’s and so began a lifelong pursuit of research, performance and reenacting. Although he doesn’t recall the first job he ever performed, he does remember there were ones his dad said Pete was “too small to go”! The venues and associations enjoyed over the years have been considerable and encompass museums and historical sites up and down the east coast as far west as Ohio.
Pete has been an associate of Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for a large portion of his life and continues to perform there at present. His living history associations have included the National Park Service, the United States Military, and reenacting groups too numerous to mention in a short bio.
Tyler Mink, Fife
Tyler Mink has been playing fife since around 2000. He started on a plastic fife - which he taught himself how to play backwards - while he searched for a unit to join. One fateful day, he was accidentally called by members of the Patapsco Patriots Fife and Drum Corps of Ellicott City, MD, and joined their corps later that day. Sometime around 2003 or 2004, the Patapsco Patriots found their way into the Fort McHenry Guard and have been there ever since, serving as musical ambassadors for the National Park Service.
Tyler loves playing fife, even when he has to do it everyday at work, but particularly enjoys playing harmonies. He is versed in music of both the Civil War and the War of 1812, as well as material culture of the early half of the 19th century.
Stephan Southard, Fife
Stephan Southard is an accomplished musician with over twenty-five years’ experience.
As a member of the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown, Stephan studied under George P. Carroll and graduated from the corps with the rank of Principal Musician.
After graduating, Mr. Southard continued with the Yorktown Corps as Assistant Music Master, providing instruction in the areas of music theory, fifing, drumming, marching, drum majoring, and the history of martial music. As well as arranging and composing numerous medleys and percussion arrangements, and choreographing performances and field shows.
Stephan spent ten years sharing his historical knowledge and musical talents as a museum educator with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation.