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 1892, 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, Queen Elizabeth 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, led by Adam Lindsay, 3 different tartan designs were established. Members were then able to choose the final design, and 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.
(Photo credit- Caleb Snee, EFD Band and the Pipes & Drums)
Our Membership currently consists of active & retired uniformed members of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services & I.A.F.F Local 209. We currently have 30 members in the society consisting of kilted performing members to recruit members, which of whom are still on practice instruments. As those members move to 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 Piping & Drumming Society. Team work and contribution is key. Members must be enthusiastic about learning the Pipes or Drums and be willing to engage in community or first responder performances and functions.
Members not affiliated with Edmonton Fire Rescue or EFFU local 209, may be eligible to join our ranks, if they bring significant experience, skill and or instruction capabilities to the band. These cases are decided upon the executive on a case by base basis.
BAND PERFORMING ROSTER-KILTED MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING
Pipe Major - FF. Matt Badmington (Founding member)
Pipe Sergeant - Cpt. Adam Lindsay (Founding member)
Piper - FF. Kevin Leung (Founding member)
Piper - FPO. Martin Landry (Founding member)
Piper - FF. Harley McKinney (Founding member)
Piper - FF. JM Tetrault (Founding member)
Drum Major (&Snare Drummer) - FF. Mike Adams (Founding member)
Drum Sergeant & Snare Drummer- FF. Jorgen Siebenga (Founding member)
Bass Drummer - SFFQ. Scott Swann (Founding member)
Bass Drummer / Snare Drummer - FF Rob Sterling (Founding member)
Snare Drummer - FF. Aaron Hazelaar (Founding member)
Snare Drummer - FF. Joseph Whitlow (Founding member)
Honoury Pipe Major - Retired Cpt. Rod MacDonald
Honoury Pipe Major - FFQ-Tim MacDonald (Founding member) (In Memorium) -http://https//www.parkmemorial.com/book-of-memories/2250848/macdonald-timothy-tim/obituary.php
Past Members (Have contributed to the sustainability and foundation of the Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society, either in a musical or charitable aspect.)
Paul McGonigal-Director (Founding member)
Al Cooke-Director (Founding member)
All current instructors are non Edmonton Fire Rescue members. Our instructors are hired by the Society. We also work with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes & Drums and the RCMP K division Pipes & Drums Band including our surrounding area fire service bands, in regards to our Parade Drill and Marching skills.
Bagpipe Instructor - Dave Trew
Snare Drum Instructor - Peter Hendrickson
Bass Drum / Tenor Instructor-
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. The Edmonton Firefighters Piping & Drumming society operates under its own elected executive. We fundraise to cover costs of private instruction and costs related to traveling or attending events, instrument maintenance and uniform purchasing. Our community events trailer "Wee MacGregor" was fundraised entirely from sponsorship and our own fundraisers.
Kilting Process and Requirements
Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society
Adopted - May 2021
A Kilted member is a member in good standing who shows sufficient capability for performances as determined by the Drum Major & Pipe Major, within the Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society.
In order for the Recruit Member to be considered for nomination to Kilted status, the nominee must meet the following standards:1. The nominee must be a member in Good Standing as outlined in the Society’s bylaws under members responsibilities
2. The nominee will be able to perform Amazing Grace(3 / 4) @ 60 BPM, Scotland the Brave / Rowan Tree / Wings (4 / 4) and Green Hills O’ Tyrol / When the Battle’s O’er / Balmoral (3 / 4) @ a min start of 85 BPM. (BPM-Beats Per Minute)
Kilting Process-(Process defined for the kilting process ceremony)
Once the requirements are met to be a kilted member, the member shall be nominated by the Pipe Major or Drum Major, depending on the instrument played, for consideration by the Executive board. When confirmed by the Executive as a Kilted Member, the member shall only then receive their full number 1 uniform. Also included will be a framed certificate of the Edmonton Firefighter’s tartan registration and a framed certificate outlining the members achievement within the Edmonton Firefighters Piping and Drumming Society.
The kilting ceremony will take place in person at a practice or other gathering as a fun informal service.
It is the responsibility of the Musical team leads, or their designate, to notify the Executive board of a member they are considering for nomination. This will ensure that all budgeting and approvals are received in a timely and responsible manner to move forward with uniform purchasing by the quartermaster. This will ensure that no delay is created from having our members moving to the performing stage.
TRADITION ᐧ HONOUR ᐧ PRIDE
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