Bill Frueh, center, had been a member of the Village Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps of Delmar since graduating from high school. The Delmar native, who died Saturday, Feb. 9, will be remembered for his contributions to the re-enactment scene.
continued “He realized how much I liked playing and the bug was biting me, too. He started to find me gigs,” she said. “I was the fifer to his drummer.”
They couple honeymooned in Gettysburg in 2011.
Shafer knew Frueh since 1975 and the two friends continued to reenact at events together after interest in fife and drum began to decline. Frueh also gave historical talks and demonstrations at area schools and was a fixture at the Maybee Farm Historical Site in Rotterdam Junction.
“My hope is that his spirit and love of history and ancient music will continue to thrive through those whose lives who he touched,” said Shafer.
She said some students who attended a lesson given by Frueh broke down in tears in the middle of a presentation.
Frueh had brought along an authentic Civil War lantern as part of the demonstration. The light was used by scouts to search for the bodies of dead soldiers after the battle of Gettysburg. As part of the lesson Frueh sang “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” a popular song sang by Union troops about a soldier saying goodbye to his family before going to war.
“It was a powerful message of history, presented through song and artifacts,” she said.
Shafer also believed Frueh’s deep faith in God got him through the most difficult times in his life, along with his love of music. Frueh was a member of Bethlehem Community Church.
“I was amazed what he could do with his disability,” Shafer said. “It never got him down.”
Frueh’s last performance was on Sunday, Jan. 6, with Rural Felicity. However, a few days before he died, he played a song he wrote years ago in front of the congregation at Bethlehem Community Church on Sunday, Feb. 3.
“He was playing up until the end and even agonized about not being able to play future engagements,” said Nancy Frueh.
She said Rural Felicity will continue on and book gigs, because she feels Frueh would have wanted it that way. Shafer also said she believes the music he shared with people will continue to be desired.
“I think people will and should continue to share it,” she said.