The Camden County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums were formed in 1995 by members of Chapter 10 of the Emerald Society of the State of New Jersey who realized the need for a police and fire band.
We are comprised of active and retired policemen, firemen, emergency medical technicians and former U.S. military members. The bands original date for debut was set for September, 1995 at the annual Irish festival in Wildwood, New Jersey but those plans were quickly dismissed with the murder of Haddon Heights Police Officer John Norcross and Camden County Prosecutors Office Investigator Jack McLaughlin on April 20, 1995. The band was able to lend its' moral support to the families and departments of those fallen officers and again as we were called upon to play at funerals and memorials that year, for yet another 12 Officers who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Delaware Valley and New Jersey. The band has been invited to play at special events and for dignitaries throughout the region, including playing for the Archbishop of Philadelphia on St. Patrick's Day and leading the 1996 parade. Annually we perform for the Camden County Hero Scholarship Club, which honors the heroic actions of policemen, firemen, emergency medical technicians and civilians. We also perform at the New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games at The College of New Jersey and the New York Giants home opener in the Meadowlands. One of our proudest moments was when we played at the Garden State Race Track for the Police Appreciation Day, which was founded by one of our members, Fran Ferry. The event raised money for police survivor groups. As the band developed into a strong and respected musical group, more requests and invitations to perform were received. A special invitation in 1997 was received from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York to perform at their annual bagpipe tattoo. This is truly an honor as only 16 bands from North America are invited. Tragedy struck once again on July 24, 1998. The band was called upon to do its' solemn duty after a call came from Washington D.C. to confirm our worst fears. Two United States Capitol Policemen were killed in the Line of Duty in the Capitol. The band performed at the national memorial service at the steps of the Capitol for Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson. Drum Major Richard Desmond made a request to have the pipes played in the Capitol Rotunda, and permission was granted by the only person who has the authority to do so, the President of the United States. Five pipers were then escorted to the caskets where for the first time in the history of the United States of America, music was played. The pipers played Going Home and Amazing Grace. Then in November 1999 a great tragedy struck in Worcester, Massachusetts. Six firemen were lost fighting a blaze in a cold storage facility. It was almost two weeks before all of their remains would be recovered. In one of the greatest responses ever witnessed, policemen, firemen and civilians from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia arrived for the memorial march. The silence in the three-mile march was broken only by the dirge of the snare drums. Officials estimated the marchers at over 30,000. A park is to be built at the site. The September 11th attacks saw the band members respond to New York City to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts and then play at 44 funerals and memorials for the lost members of the PAPD, NYPD and FDNY, including one in Puerto Rico. We were truly humbled to play as we honored our fallen. July 4, 2002 once again brought tragedy close to home when we lost three little girls and three of Camden County's bravest, Chief James Sylvester, Fire Marshal John West and Firefighter Thomas Stewart in an early morning house fire. drums, and to provide a solemn and dignified farewell to a fallen brother or sister, although, the majority of our performances are holiday parades, special events and supporting charitable organizations. We thank you for your continued support!
Created: 09/24/2005 ::
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