Band drill?

#1
I've wanted to ask about this before but the Royal Marines band at the Army V Navy game today reminded me to ask...

Why do the drummers bring the drum sticks parallel with their mouth between beats? Is it some kind of tradition? Or just becuase it looks neather than keeping them near the drum?

Link.

Edit: I hope this is in the right section?
 
#2
My old school bandmaster told me that stick drill goes way back to when drums were used as signals kit, so as well as beating the retreat and such, stick drill served as a kind of semaphore as well.

Don't know much more about it, unfortunately.
 
#3
Aye, tis true. The stick drill was used to signal across distances, a bit like semaphore, and its one of those traditions that has stuck
 
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