Parade, Parade, Parade

It has been a very busy March as usual with the band playing at The Derby Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, The Birmingham Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, The Sandwell Saint Patrick’s Celebrations, The Sports Bar Cannock Saint Patrick’s Dinner and The Huddersfield Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

Needless to say a few of us were pretty shattered by the end of it. But, the practice and preparation for these events goes all the way back to September. At that stage we decide the tunes we will be playing and start practising them in earnest to tighten the tunes up and we also work on the tuning of the band.

The first event was The Derby Saint Patrick’s Day Parade held on Saturday 11th March. We have played this great event for many years and are always made very welcome. Joel and Oran Grigg initially played the parade committee and dignitaries from the Council House to mass at St Josephs.

The rest of the band formed up at midday and marched the parade through the town centre to finish at the The Derby Irish Centre. From there it was back home, sort the uniform out again ready for the Birmingham Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday the 12th March.

Before the parade officially started at midday the first ever Emerald Mile Charity run was held at 10am. There were only 45 runners for this first time which included band members Joel and Oran Grigg. Running in kilts they showed great support for the parade and the band. Next years run will undoubtedly be bigger and better and will grow over the next few years.

Joel and Oran Grigg at the start of the first ever Emerald Mile Run

Meeting up at 11am at the top of Digbeth the band prepared to lead the huge parade around the streets of Digbeth, the Irish Quarter in Birmingham. As usual it was a huge parade with over 70,000 watching and a parade procession that took over an hour to get past the finish point from us crossing to the tractors going through. A great and huge event. Roll on next year.

The Drum Corps getting ready

Pipe Corps tuning up

The start of The Birmingham Saint Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little break then till Saturday the 18th when some members of the band played at the Premier Sports Bar in Cannock in front of a packed crowd who were settling in for a great feed and a great nights entertainment.

Huddersfield was on the 19th and this is always a pleasure to do. It involves us all getting on a coach and travelling together with family and friends. One thing about the band is that everyone gets on and the craic on the bus is great.

Playing at the Huddersfield Parade

Friends of the band settling in at the great Huddersfield Irish Centre

Sunday the 26th March is the Birmingham Indoors Pipe Band Competition where we will be putting out 3 trios and 2 mini bands. We have worked hard towards this and are looking forward to the first competition of the season.

Band Update

We have been really busy over the last few months with plenty of practice going on for the Indoor Competitions that we have taken part in at The Birmingham Indoors and Wirral competitions where we did really well with our new 2/4 set of competition tunes. We are entered for The Corby Highland Gathering on the 10th July, The World Championships in Glasgow on the 13th August and Chatsworth English Championships on the 4th September. We have recently added a March, Strathspey and Reel set to our repertoire which we hope to compete with at Chatsworth and a Medley set which we will start to compete with in 2017.

We are playing at Shifnall Carnival, Acocks Green Carnival and Astwood Bank Carnival over the summer. (All details can be found on our events page), and on Saturday the 18th we played for The Wildlife Trust outside of Birmingham Central LIbrary. A great event that was supported by a wide range of different concerns.

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Playing outside Birmingham Symphony Hall Saturday 18th June

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To get in touch with the band please see all our details on the contact page.P1010851

News Update

We have had a very busy time since the last update. We played in the Derby St Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday 12th March and had a great day. It was a great parade as usual and we really enjoyed marching through the central streets of Derby. Sunday the 13th March was the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade. We have the privilege of leading the parade around the streets of Digbeth. This year we marched and played arounder the streets in front of a crowd estimated to number 65,000. It all went really well and all the practice and effort the band put into the tunes and marching certainly paid off with a great sound and good ranks all the way round.

Start of the Derby Parade

Start of the Derby Parade

Playing outside Derby Council House.

Playing outside Derby Council House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the start of the parade St Patrick was asked to present ‘Leading Tip’ Ian Grant with the Pipe Major Frank Brennan Shield. This is a beautiful shield that is presented annually to a member of the band that has really helped to move things on or helped the band in a special way. Ian took over running the drum corps id September 2015 and has made a big impact on how the drum corps practice and sound.

Ian Grant with The Pipe Major Frank Brennen Shield

Ian Grant with The Pipe Major Frank Brennan Shield

 

Marching down Digbeth High Street

Marching down Digbeth High Street

 

If you would like to contact the band to play at any event or if you would like to come along and learn either the pipes or drums please contact:

T: Maurice on 0121 313 3660

M: Maurice on 07967 376891

E: bill.bipd@hotmail.com

 

First competition of the year

On Sunday 28th February two of our Tenor Drummers competed at the Royal Pipe Band Association North West England Branch’s Indoor Solo Drumming Competition in Birkenhead.

Paula and Richard Turner both competed in the 4-parted 6/8 March section at Intermediate grade.  Paula finished second with Richard in third place.  Paula also competed in 4-parted 2/4 March section also at Intermediate grade which she won.  They were assisted in the competitions by Ian Grant on side drum and Patricia Cox on bagpipes.

Congratulations from the band were received at the following band practice.

Monaghan County Association Donation

Willie Finnegan of the Monaghan County Association Birmingham joined us at our Tuesday night practice on the 2nd February to donate £500 to the band. The Monaghan Association was a very busy association raising thousands of pounds over the years for many different charities based in Birmingham. Our previous Pipe Major Frank Brennan was a leading force in the association along with Willie Finnegan and Frank was a founding member of the Birmingham Irish Pipes and Drums. The donation is very welcome and will be put into very good use. It costs around £5000 per year to fund the band for uniform and playing equipment and as we lead up to the St Patrick’s Day Parades our expenditure increases to ensure we look and sound as good as possible.

The Monaghan Association no longer meets and after meeting with former committee members Willie decided that the funds still in the bank account should be put to good use rather than sitting in the account and paying fees every month. We were very glad to be one of the causes chosen for a donation along with Sister Sabina’s Fireside charity.

All in the band would like to pass on their thanks to Willie and the Monaghan Assosciation for their generosity, It will prove to be a great help to the band as we introduce more members in to the ranksIMG_0529

Willie Finnegan presenting the cheque for £500 to Pipe Major Bill Grigg and the rest of the band at practice.

If you would like to contact the band to play at any event or if you would like to come along and learn either the pipes or drums please contact:

T: Maurice on 0121 313 3660

M: Maurice on 07967 376891

E: bill.bipd@hotmail.com

Remembrance Day Parade

Sunday the 8th November saw us marching round the streets of Kingstanding Birmingham as we marched veterans, those serving, cadet corps and scouts and brownies and many others from Perry Common British Legion No.1 to the Remembrance Day church service and back again on a mild and unusually warm November morning.

We have proudly led the Perry Common RBL around these streets for at least the last 9 years and they always make us feel very welcome, They are a great bunch of people and the first question we get asked at the end of every parade is can we do next year? The answer is always yes.

At the end of this years parade it was Joel Grigg who played at the laying of the wreaths and he played a really great rendition of ‘Mist Covered mountains’ a truly amazing slow air.

If you would like to contact the band to play at any event or if you would like to come along and learn either the pipes or drums please contact:

T:  Maurice on 0121 313 3660

M:  Maurice on 07967 376891

E:  bill,bipd@hotmail.com

 

Playing for the Perry Common RBL

Playing for the Perry Common RBL

Joel Grigg playing for the wreath laying

Joel Grigg playing for the wreath laying

Well Done

A very well done to the band for its’ performance at The All English Pipe Band Championships held at Chatsworth House on Sunday 6th September. We came 3rd in our grade (4b) on the day out of 6 competing pipe bands. As the new guys and gals on the block we are still learning loads about competition and we were really pleased with our result. We were sorry to have 3 of our side drummers leave a week after the competition but we look forward to working with our new Leading Tip and developing a great sound between the Pipe Corps and the Drum Corps. Something i know that the whole band is looking forward to.

We are working hard on tunes for the St Patrick’s Day Parades that we will be playing in March and also on a new competition set that will be a move from our previous 4/4 set to a 2/4 set.

If you wish to contact the Birmingham Irish Pipes and Drums to play at an event or to join us and have great fun playing pipes or drums please contact billgrigg@hotmail.com

Busy, Busy, Busy

The last 2 weeks have been really busy for the band. On the 4th of July we played at Acocks Green Carnival. This is a great community event that we have played at for at least 8 years. It is a nice march down the high street to the local park where the organisers’ put on some great arena events and there is lots more to do including fair ground rides and charity stalls. (See pictures in 2015). The weather was great and the band had a good turnout with 16 of us playing. That was the warm up for the following weekend which was very busy.  Saturday 11th July we played the Astwood Bank Carnival. Again, this is a carnival we have played for many years and the crowd seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year, A few years back there is a long stretch of road that was fairly sparse of people. Now, it is really full of people watching a great carnival procession. There are walking groups, cadet bands, dancers and many great floats all offering a different type of entertainment.

It was a beautiful warm day and many of the pipers ended up with piper burn. Where only certain parts of your arms are red, (very red!) and the rest of your arms are white.

Astwood Bank Carnival

Astwood Bank Carnival

Sunday the 12th July was extremely busy. We were competing at The Corby Highland Games and were up against another 6 very good bands. We were scheduled to play at 12.40pm and began to start tuning at 11.40am. The sky was clear and all was good. Then, the heavens opened..we got soaked. We sheltered under some trees but it did little to help as the torrent of rain was so heavy it literally parted the branches and leaves and continued to drench us. Pipe Major Bill Grigg took a run up to the fair ground that was located in the park nearby and found a friendly Wurlitzer owner who due to the rain was doing little business and let us tune up under the cover of his rides roof, A big, big thanks to that fella! The start was put back by half hour due to the weather and needless to say our preparation was not great.

We finished 5th on the day and were pleased with the result and the judges comments considering our build up to playing. Massed bands and presentations were at 5pm and then we were off again. We were privileged to be asked to play on stage at Birmingham Symphony Hall as part of the Bob Brolly and Friends Charity Concert. We were to open the 2nd part of the show. We were there tuning up at 8,30pm and marched on to stage at 9.20pm. We started the show with The Kerry Polka, a great bouncy 2/4 march. Bob Brolly then called up Sister Sabina of the Fireside Charity, (the charity of choice for the show). A bit of banter was had and then it was back to us. We played The Rattlin’ Bog set which is The Rattlin’ Bog, Sweeneys and The Rakes Of Mallow. A really good lively set. Then it was the Lord Lovat’s set which finishes with The Dawning Of The Day, A great Irish Hymn which is now played by pipe bands world wide  due to the St Lawrence O’ Toole band from Dublin and their rendition. https://youtu.be/zzJKlYhaxzEly

As the band marched off playing Pipe Major Bill Grigg was left as the solo player at the top of the stage to finish the tune. There was a great round of applause from the audience in appreciation of the bands performance. The whole band would like to thank Bob Brolly for the opportunity to play at such a great event in such a great arena and we wish him great luck in his fundraising ventures this year and every year.

So, that was a weekend that was! Now it is practice time for competing in the All English Pipe Band Championships at Chatsworth House on September 6th and the St Patrick’s Day Parades in March 2016. No doubt there will be a lot more events that will pop up before then so please keep an eye on our posts and feel free to send any comments back to us.

Amazing 2 Weeks

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.

Please scroll down to read in full about The Huddersfield Parade.

If you wish to contact the band please in the first instance email billgrigg@hotmail.com till our new emails are fully running.

Huddersfield Parade

We have just finished the Huddersfield St Patrick’s Day Parade that was held on Sunday 8th March. As usual we received a great welcome from the Huddersfield committee and a great (if slightly damp), day was had by everyone.
Maurice Long had organised the coach which firstly picked up from the Irish Centre in Digbeth at 8.30am and then SS Mary and Johns in Erdington at 9am.
When all were aboard we were off, it was a leisurely drive and the craic on the coach was really good. We arrived at Huddersfield Irish Centre at 11.45am, plenty of time to get ready for the parade start at 1pm. We played ‘Dawning of The Day’ before the parade start and then we were off. It is quite a long parade route and takes 1 hour 30 minutes to complete. This does include a 30 minute stop in the centre of Huddersfield where all the floats do their bit and get judged in a competition. After the parade we are always treated to a great buffet for which we are really grateful and the staff and committe are always incredibly friendly and helpful. This year also saw the band walk 10 minutes to another Irish Centre and play for 10 minutes there. It was back on the coach at
4.30 pm and we were back in Brum by 7pm.
A great day and thank you to all that contributed, both playing and non-playing. I hope that all that joined the band for a day out really enjoyed themselves.
We have a busy period coming up with The Sandwell St Patricks’ Day Parade at 10am on Saturday 14th March. Straight to Derby for their parade at 12.45pm and then the Birmingham St Patricks’ Day Parade that starts at midday on Sunday the 15th. We are all looking forward to these events and all the fun that goes with them.