.Et me start out by saying that we are professional firefighters and not professional musicians. Our passion is being firemen. Because of that passion, we have endeavored to build a professional fire department pipe band. It is a work in progress. Our hope is to preserve the rich heritage that our forefathers in the fire service have given us, as well as to be there for our brothers when they need us. This is our story.
In february of 2005, a few idaho falls firefighters formed the first fire department pipe band in idaho. We wanted to honor the long tradition of bagpipes in the fire service. We also wanted to be able to take care of our own brother's funerals. No one had any experience with the bagpipes. One of us had some experience with the drums. We hired a pipe and a drum instructor and purchased some john cairns' tutorials. We purchased practice chanters and drum pads and started learning to play. In spite of all the odds, a few of us actually learned to play.
Our first performance was on september 11th, 2005. We had a piper and a drummer play amazing grace at the memorial service that night. The next big jump was to play quick marches as a band. We soon had three pipers and three drummers who were more or less ready to perform. We were requested at many different venues and we tried to accommodate them all. At some we sounded good, at others...Not so good. But we continued on. We learned a lot that first year and we even marched in the 2006 fourth of july parade. It was our first time marching and playing.
We continue to make progress. Our pipe major moved on and the band took a real set back when pete left. I think we have since recovered and we are marching forward and up again. We have performed at approximately 50 venues so far this year. Some have been with the whole band, and some with just a piper. We currently have 8 pipers in various stages of development, and 6 drummers.
Our primary function is to play for our own. However, we have had such a large outpouring of support from the metropolitan area of idaho falls that we have felt compelled to perform for the public whenever we can. We have been very warmly received. All of us do this on our own time. Many times the idaho falls fire department has allowed us to play while on duty. None of us are compensated for our performances. We have survived financially from the dues of band members, the donations of our brother firefighters, the donations of the community at large, and the selling of band merchandise.
We hope we have started a lasting legacy at the iffd. Our goal is to increase the level of professionalism at the iffd as well as the fire service throughout southeast idaho. We hope to boost the level of pride and ownership that the citizens of idaho falls have for their fire departmentl
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