West Point Community
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point Band
The U.S. Military Academy Band traces its roots back more than 200 years. Before the Revolutionary War, fifers and drummers were stationed with companies of minutemen on Constitution Island across the Hudson River from West Point. In 1778, elements of Gen. Samuel Parsons’ Connecticut Brigade crossed the Hudson River and established West Point as a permanent military post. After the American Revolution, Congress disbanded most of the Continental Army, but the 55 men at West Point, members of the Second Continental Artillery, remained. Among their ranks stood at least one drummer and one fifer who alone maintained the tradition of military music.
With the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802 came an increased demand for military music. As the academy grew, it needed fifers, drummers and buglers to drill the new cadets and provide an audible order to their duty day. In 1817, the ensemble was named the West Point Band and was performing with a full range of instruments. In 1866, it received the official title of the U.S. Military Academy Band.
Today’s band consists of four components: the concert/marching band, the Hellcats (the drum and bugle field-music unit), the Benny Haven’s Band (popular music) and the support staff. As the senior premier musical representative of the Army, the band has appeared at many historic events. It also fulfills all the official musical requirements of the academy, including military and patriotic ceremonies, radio and television broadcasts, public concerts, sporting events and social activities for the U.S. Corps of Cadets and the West Point community.
The U.S. Military Academy Band gives free concerts throughout the year at West Point and in the New York City area. For event information, call the 24-hour hotline at 845-938-2617 or visit www.usma.edu/band.