In 1996, a group of men and women from the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments came together to form a Highland Bagpipe and Drum Band. Until that time, there had never been a pipe and drum band in Philadelphia for either department. Master of the Pipes, Dr. Edward “Chip” Reardon, an expert and award winning pipe player and instructor, agreed to teach us the intricate and beautiful movements of the instrument, as well as develop a Drum Corps to accompany the Pipes. He conducts weekly practices at the police academy, working on rudimentary skills and providing musical direction for the band. Chip’s keen ear and remarkable ability has catapulted us into the Millennium as a Pipe and Drum Band to be recognized far and wide.
Naturally, the costs of establishing and outfitting such an organization run very high. Being new to this venture, we are forced to reach out to our friends and supporters. Since the struggle to accumulate the resources to purchase uniforms and equipment is constant, we have been forced to solicit financial aid from many arenas. In all, we are presently attempting to supply the uniforms for our nearly three dozen members. We have succeeded in outfitting approximately twenty of our group by playing at numerous ceremonies and marching in several parades. Still, the proceeds from these appearances have not meant our need.Some of our most recent success has come by our opening of the Hero Scholarship Thrill Show and many other ceremonies in and out of the Police and Fire Departments. This September past, we were able to participate in a mass band exhibition at the annual Irish Festival in Wildwood New Jersey. During our solo performance of Danny Boy, a Biplane flew overhead, trailing a banner showing tribute to slain Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
This moving coincidence touched the hearts of everyone in attendance and solidified our focus on becoming the band for the men and women of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments as well as for the people of the community. As late as this past March, we were hosted by the Johnson City Fire Department to appear and march in their annual St. Patty’s celebration. It was a success from start to finish and the pride of every member as well as our hosts was evident. Our latest and most noteworthy accomplishment was the sponsorship by the Northern Aid group to march in one of the largest parades in the Country, that being the New York City annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. This event is by far, the greatest honor we have been afforded. We marched in blizzard like conditions with horizontal snowfall covering our untiring members. Not a member of the Band fell short of the task at hand. We are humbled by the vast support shown to us from every walk of life. These most recent events are to become annual appearances in our schedule. We look forward to continued success and are eager to increase our numbers to provide the general public with an organization to be proud of.
It is with the generosity of those around us that has helped us become a formidable Pipe and Drum organization and in order to grow as we have, we need this support to continue. To those of you who have helped our cause, we thank you for your generosity. To those of you who are new to our mission, we welcome you aboard.
We are the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums. We are the peoples Band.