History and Tradition
From the birth of the first Edmonton volunteer firefighting Brigade in 1892 to the Edmonton Fire Department becoming full-time in 1906, there was no organized Pipes and Drums Band.
However, The Edmonton Fire Department still has a long history of music and bands. the earliest known was a Brass Marching Band dating back to 1893, called the Fire Brigade Band. (Photo Credit-City of Edmonton Archives)
The current band started out as a marching band in 1963. Some of those audiences and performances included, the Queen at the 1978 commonwealth games, the 75th anniversary at the legislative assembly, Duke of Edinburgh awards ceremonies with Prince Edward in attendance, The Edmonton Metro Fire Chiefs convention, The 100th Anniversary of the Dawson City Fire Department. As the group grew and progressed, the marching band grew into 3 separate bands. Their music consisted of, Country Gents, Rock & Roll and Big Band Sound. In the 80s, the three bands became one that played three types of music. This Band was then named the Edmonton Firefighters Dance Band. As numbers declined, the band was known as The Big Band. The Big Band still currently plays for fire department functions and nursing homes. The Band has also won numerous awards over the years. An accomplishment that the department is definitely proud of.
In 2016, nearly 100 years after the department went full-time. The Edmonton Firefighters Pipes and Drums Society was formed and its first members joined.
However, The Department and Union did call on a couple Piper's for funerals and several other functions over the years. Stn Capt. Rod MacDonald is now a permanent member of the Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society. Capt. Barry Lewis was another Piper that also gave his time to various Fire Department events. Barry passed away before our Pipes & Drums band was established.
The latest idea of forming the Pipes and Drums society was brought forward by then FFQ Tim MacDonald along with a group of other firefighters. Several meetings were held between the group and Edmonton Fire Rescue administration and the Edmonton Firefighter's Union. The idea was fully supported by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services administration and The Edmonton Firefighters Union. In early 2015 the forming of the Pipes and Drums rose off the ground. Unfortunately Tim passed away on Sept 22, 2015. Tim MacDonald was very instrumental in developing a plan to start this endeavor and the work continued to make it a reality.
In early 2016 a recruitment poster went out to the members of Edmonton Fire Rescue. An info session was then held in February of 2016. The initial interest put the membership at 18 Bagpipers and 10 Drummers. Immediately after, a startup executive committee was formed and the basic structure and organization of the Pipes and Drums began to form. The very first fundraiser was held June 3rd, 2016 at The Druid on Jasper ave. Funds raised, help pay for the first practice instruments and lessons. In Sept of 2016, lessons for both the bagpipers and drummers had started as none of the members played either instrument before. The Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society was formed under the Alberta Societies Act in Sept of 2016. April 3, 2017 seen another fundraiser at the Pint in Edmonton, again to raise costs for uniforms, lessons and instruments.
By May of 2017, 10 members had their great highland Bagpipe, 6 drummers had snare drums, 2 had tenors and 1 was learning how to play the bass drum. All were well on their way to playing tunes.
The next large fundraiser was at the Taste of Edmonton. Held at Churchill Square in July of 2017, with the kind sponsorship of Foothills Creamery and Events Edmonton, the society set up an Ice cream booth over the 10 day event. The moneys raised, help pay for Bagpipe and Drum lessons, uniform items and instrument maintenance.
The rest of the funds were put away for future travel costs.
On September 30, 2017 with the hard work of the members, we were able to play a couple of tunes at The Edmonton Firefighters’ Union 100 yr celebration. The members performed while the Honour Guard was marching in to present the colors. Then the names of all Edmonton Fire Rescue members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and died in the Line of Duty were read. After the ringing of the bell and a moment of silence, Amazing Grace was played. This was the Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society's first appearance in front of Edmonton Fire Rescue members.
In the summer of 2017, lead by Adam Lindsay & assisted by members to choose a final design, the Edmonton Firefighters Tartan was established and the weaving process started. Oct 2017, saw the Edmonton Firefighter Pipes and Drums Tartan registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority, shortly after our kilts, with the Edmonton Firefighters Tartan had arrived for the first 10 pipers and 9 drummers who were well on their way to playing some tunes.
Late November of 2017 another recruitment went out to all Fire Rescue members. After the information session we added another 12 members wanting to learn to play the bagpipes and 6 on the drums. These members started to practice in January of 2018. Those numbers put the membership at 45 with 2 fire prevention officers and the rest being firefighters and officers of fire suppression. The numbers continually change as members resign and new members join up throughout the year.
As new Pipers and Drummers our tune library continues to grow. We are a community band with varying skill levels in our Pipe and Drum corp.
b(Photo credit- Caleb Snee, EFD Band and the Pipes & Drums)
Our Membership is currently privileged to only active or retired members of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services & I.A.F.F Local 209. We currently have 30 members in the band consisting of active performing members to recruit members, which of whom are still on practice instruments. As those members move to active performing members and join the roster, they become "kilted members" and their names are added below with band position followed by department rank. All members have learned their respected instruments within the Edmonton Firefighters Pipes & Drums Society.
BAND PERFORMING ROSTER
• Pipe Major - FF. Matt Badmington
• Pipe Sergeant - Cpt. Adam Lindsay
• Piper - Cpt. Rod MacDonald
• Piper - FF. Kevin Leung
• Piper - FF. Caleb Snee
• Piper - FPO. Martin Landry
• Piper - FF. Harley McKinney
• Piper - FF. JM Tetrault
• Piper - FF. Mark Ushko
• Drum Major (&Snare Drummer) - FF. Mike Adams
• Drum Sergeant & Snare Drummer- FF. Jorgen Siebenga
• Bass Drummer - FFQ. Scott Swann
• Tenor Drummer - F.F Zac Rix
• Snare Drummer - FF. Aaron Hazelaar
• Snare Drummer - FF. Joseph Whitlow
• Snare Drummer - FF.Dan Hattee
All current instructors are non Edmonton Fire Rescue members. Our instructors are hired by the band. We also work with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes & Drums and the RCMP K division Pipes & Drums Band in regards to our Parade Drill and Marching skills.
• Piper Instructor - Morgan Miller (Our first bagpipe instructor, was able to get us off the ground (Sept 2016 to June 2017)
• Piper Instructor - Ian Kirby
• Piper Instructor - Valerie-Lynn Nicoll
• Drum Instructor - Peter Hendrikson
All of our members volunteer their time to learn, practice, take lessons & attend functions. Our members will trade shifts or volunteer their days off to attend most events. For Edmonton Fire Rescue functions, EFRS may grant our members special assignment from their regular duties.
The Edmonton Firefighters Piping & Drumming society operates under its own elected executive. Our Pipes & Drums President & Executive will liaison with EFRS administration and I.A.F.F Local 209, in regards to ongoing band business & events.