108 years old but not dusty in the least: the Swiss Drummers‘ and Fifers‘ Association, (STPV in the German abbreviation) proudly looks back on a long history of keeping a tradition alive and at the same time developing it further into the present day. The STPV strives for a modernised tradition that lives up to today’s expectations of teaching and learning, entertainment and social interaction without ever forgetting about its roots. With its over 4500 members in 181 local associations the STPV bears great responsibility for the tradition and its survival. With its progressive musical education in particular the STPV breaks new ground to pass on the heritage.
The drum, one of the most archaic instruments, has known a long tradition in Switzerland. Drumming is not just a skill, no! It is more of a philosophy: the typical drummer has unique characteristics and a certain way of life and he (or she!) celebrates drumming with great passion. But what would drumming be without the wind instruments? Just as old and rooted in Swiss folk culture and war history are the fifer and the bugler -the opposite pole, ever quiet and reasonable but always following the call of the drum (leaving aside the true origin of the drum following the tune!). A combination of three elements that has given occasion for friction, but one that has been cherished for centuries and still is today.
As of late the STPV has been professionalising the educational system by endorsing modern pedagogical and didactical standards. Courses for instructors and jurors are offered to prepare them for their lessons. Encouraging children to take up drumming or fifing is one of the main aims of the STPV. Every other year the so called JUCA (Youth Camp) is organised where new music is learnt and also performed as well as the social interaction between kids from all parts of Switzerland is cultivated. Moreover, the STPV collaborates with the Competence Center of Swiss Military Music. Since its founding the STPV has been accountable for the education of future military drummers.
Federal competitions for fifing, bugling and drumming are held regularly. All the regional associations strive to do well at these contests and they direct their rehearsals towards presenting themselves to a qualified jury. The social exchange and the party with participants from all over Switzerland after competing is just as important as to match with each other.
The STPV is the umbrella organisation of four regional associations. In addition, the Veteran’s union is attached to the STPV and even some foreign music groups are members of the STPV.
The STPV is the proud owner of a vast collection of music and manuscripts dating back to the beginning of the association. The history of drummers‘ and fifers‘ music is documented in detail in this unique collection.