A huge well done to all the organisers of the four different St Patrick’s Day Parades that we The Birmingham Irish Pipes and Drums have had the privilege of playing at this year; on the 8th March, (Huddersfield). 14th March, (Sandwell and Derby), and Birmingham on the 15th March. Without the huge commitment and hard work ethic of a few dedicated volunteers at each of these parades they would never happen. The many thousands that enjoy these parades would probably have sat at home and never experience the mass of colour, the fun, the pride and the cacophony of sound that emanates from the marching bands, the musicians on the floats, the chugging engines of tractors, the distinct rattling of the mopeds, the roar of Harley Davidsons and the floats that blare out their horns as they follow the routes.
We were really proud to lead all these parades around their routes and to be the first marching band that the waiting crowd hear from the distance, slowly getting louder and louder as they realise the parade is getting near. To have been the band that as we reached them they heard the skirl of the pipes from up to 12 pipers, (a big sound), and the beat of the bass drum accompanied by the tenors and side drums. Then as we passed, the sound dissipating and being taken over by the rest of the parade that followed. As they experienced this we were constantly surrounded by our music and the generous applause, cheering, clapping, flag waving and whistleblowing from the crowd. It is with great pride that we marched down the many streets playing the tunes that we have practiced so hard over the previous 6 months.
We really enjoyed the 2 weekends and we have a great camaraderie amongst us and have great fun. From the ‘off’ to the finish we enjoyed ourselves all the way round at all the parades. The special event at the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade is the Massed Pipe Band event at the end. All the pipe bands that have been playing form up again as the last group finishes the parade and march down to the Irish Centre, (this year we played ‘The Dawning of The Day’ and ‘Minstrel Boy’). We then halted before counter marching back to The Spotted Dog with ‘Greenhills’ and ‘Battles O’er. I would personally like to thank all the bands for taking part because in general after playing most pipe bands just want to relax but all the bands that have ever played in The Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade have really enjoyed the march afterwards and never miss it.
The Birmingham Irish Pipes and Drums realise that the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parades future is in doubt and this year played for no fee. We will do whatever we can to support the parade as the band was born out of the parade. Without the parade I would probably be sat in front of the TV missing all that colour, noise and pride and would have missed out on a great number of really good friends.
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