A Brief History
The Andrew Lewis Volunteers was founded in 1976 by retired New Jersey Fire Chief, Howard Schoonmaker. For many years, it was a junior fife and drum corps associated with the 4-H youth organization. In the beginning, there were many fifers and several drummers, all from the Williamsburg, West Virginia area. As the years progressed, most of the kids moved away or lost interest and the number of members got fewer and fewer. It became a real battle gaining new members and the corps was poorly received, even in its own community, which is known for its exceptional high school marching band. Eventually Howard made some personal changes and decided to spend the more recent years away from West Virginia.
The leadership of the corps was handed over to Dirk I. McComsey, a member since 1982. Along with fifer Rob Taggart, the corps took a new direction. After a few more years of lagging interest, Dirk was able to establish a central base of members, old and new, to revitalize the corps. Most recently, the Andrew Lewis Volunteers have added bagpipes to their instrumentation. A talented piper has joined the corps to give it a more diverse musicial repertoire. With a degree in history, the corps' piper is knowledgable about the role the bagpipes played in the founding of our country.
Now, thanks to the dedication of its talented members, the corps sounds better than ever. The corps was able to purchase uniforms patterned after those of musicians in the Continental Army circa 1781. With this new look and sound, the Andrew Lewis Volunteers provide entertainment with professional presentation unlike anything in the area.
Click below to find out more about the corps.