In 2006, the STPV celebrated its 100th anniversary with an immense federal competition in Basel which was surrounded by all sorts of festivities, parades and street concerts. For a few days, the whole city turned into a drummer’s and fifer’s heaven! Such was the long tradition and the founding of the STPV commemorated and adequately celebrated. The uncountable hours of voluntary work, the passion and belief in the importance of the mission and the surpassing of numerous hurdles was at the center of remembrance. All of these elements are essentially which still keep the association alive. Today, the STPV is a modern and well organised union aiming at cultivating but also reinventing the tradition. The most topical issue is new blood in the ranks of the musicians: immense work is invested in getting young kids interested in learning how to play. A good example for these efforts is the trip with the youth ensemble to Rome and Hagen a.T.W. in May.
In 1874, when the Swiss military was reorganised, the abolishment of drums in the army was discussed for the first time. The fifes‘ end was already determinded and since then, the typical sound of the Schweizerpfeiff was no longer heard in the music corps. Drum instructors recognised the urgence of the situation and they founded unions of military drummers in several regions of Switzerland to oppose the negative developments. However, the military was not interested in a federal union of military drummers and declined support.
Only in 1906 the movement was strong enough and the Swiss Union of Drummers was founded on the occasion of an intercantonal drummer’s competition which was held that year.
upon a time
The roots of Swiss drumming and fifing date much further back. During the Middle Ages, whistles, fifes, drums, bagpipes and shalms were very popular in folk music. The Swiss people, not yet united in one country and generally very poor people, were known for their excellent warfare and got hired as mercenaries all over Europe. Homesick, they brought their music and instruments with them and so spread out their tunes and rhythms to all corners of foreign countries.