by Captain Robert Nearine

     The Command finally has its own dedicated piece of music. Or rather the band can now play the piece. In 1845, Claudio S. Grafulla published the "Foot Guard Quick Step" in Hartford, a major publishing center of the time. The piece was dedicated to Major Commandant C. H. Bacon and to the officers and men of the First Company.

     Grafulla (1810-1880) was one of the best known and most proficient band luminaries of the Civil War era; in all probability, the John Philips Sousa of his time. In 1860, Grafulla assumed leadership of New York's 7th Regiment Band. The regiment was known as a "silk stocking" organization because of the wealth of its members.

     The 7th Regiment Band had been organized in 1853 by two German immigrants named Kroll and Reitsel, and had a reputation for playing avant-garde music. Grafulla led the band for twenty-seven years.

     Grafulla's connection to the First Company is unknown, as was his reason for writing the "Quick Step." Originally written for pianoforte, the piece was re-scored for band by Sergeant Mark Boudreau in 2001, and was first played publicly by the band at the Manchester Community College band shell on June 9, 2002.

     A copy of the original "Foot Guard Quick Step" is on display in the museum. The cover illustration, which has graced several Command Christmas cards, serves as the backdrop for our stage. Copies of the sheet music originally sold for thirty-eight cents.

February 22, 2004

This article was originally printed in "Battalion Review"
Used with permission