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Celebrating its 25th anniversary,  Freezer Jam is a late winter conference rotating between the home towns of the 15 fife and drum corps in the Midwestern United States.  Bringing in families from Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri it is also attended every year by the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from Washington D.C.

The event takes its name from the term for a group of musicians informally playing together, and fruit jam placed in the freezer to preserve through the winter. Traditionally held at a university or public school, Lafayette’s Sunnyside Intermediate School has been selected as this year’s host location.

The main focus of the conference is the fife and drum music of the colonial era of early America.  Additionally, we host sessions about the regional history of the host city, leadership roundtable discussions, and seminars on clothing and other material culture of the late 1700s in North America.

Today, this American heritage music is being kept alive at only a few educational camps like this and at unique historic events throughout the Midwest and the East Coast.  Freezer Jam is an opportunity for families to participate in high level instruction with music professionals and lecturers from the Army’s Old Guard and invited guests  from other parts of the country.

At the end of the day there is an evening concert open and free to the public.  This concert features each of the individual groups in their brightly colored uniforms and their corps’ musical repertoire. At the end of the show we feature the “massed bands” where all groups play together on the stage in a culmination of the day’s togetherness.  Freezer Jam is an opportunity to make new friendships and reconnect with old ones that started years ago.

It is a community of generations of families brought together through a shared love of history and the magnificent sounds of the fife and drum.

This year we are opening our event to a greater part of the community for the first time.  We are offering a chance for parents and youth – ages 10 and up – to register for a number of special openings and attend the all day event free of charge.  It is our intention that each child will be allowed to bring their families to participate in special classes of history and music, and will receive a gift bag at check-in that contains a penny whistle and a pair of drum sticks to use in music class and keep – as well as an official 25th anniversary t-shirt to take home.

The event is attended by roughly 250 people who pay a registration fee, travel, and lodging out of their pockets – and is completely volunteer organized.

We are asking for community partners to help us make this unique event a success here in Lafayette for the third time.

Including facilities, custodial, marketing, catering, and print – the sum estimated costs for the event total about ten thousand dollars.

Please contact the Freezer Jam Committee at midwestfreezerjam@gmail.com for more details if you or your company would like to be an underwriting sponsor to the event.

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