On Sunday evening, March 23, 1997, four pipers, Paul J. Carney Sr., Chris Dougherty, Robert Kephart and Bobby Grover met at the Dougherty Printing Company located in Bridgeport, PA.. The purpose of this meeting was to organize a bagpipe band. Their aim was to present to the public the experience of seeing and hearing the colors, sights, and sounds of a bagpipe band on parade and in concert, as well as the members having fun while doing it.
These four men decided that the band would be what was known as a Street Band and with an open membership to anyone who would be interested in joining.
The band would be known as an Irish Bagpipe Band and a non-profit organization where all income received would be for the overall operation of the band.
At this meeting there were many items discussed. The first on the list was the date of organization. As three of these bagpipers had marched with the Kephart AOH Division 40 in the Philadelphia St. Patrick Day Parade on Sunday March 16, 1997, it was decided this would be our organization date. Next on the list was a place and day to hold our meetings and practices. Chris Dougherty offered his place of business until we found another place. They also decided to try Sunday nights to see how it worked out. Some of the items that had to be addressed were, a name for the band, uniform, band tartan for our kilts, membership, fundraising, and jobs, to mention a few. As each item was discussed a member would volunteer to look into it and report back to the band as soon as they had any information. This would be a big undertaking for these four bagpipers. They all were willing to do whatever it would take to have a band that they could be proud of and
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At a meeting in 1998, Chris Dougherty reported on a band name. He suggested the BRIAN BORU BAGPIPE BAND. Chris explained that Brian Boru had been one of the four kings of the four provinces that made up Ireland, and was so well liked and respected by the people and the other kings, which he was referred to as the first and only King of Ireland. Chris also suggested that we include Cumann Na Piobaire which in English translates to Society of Bagpipers. Everyone voted in favor of the band’s new name:
BRIAN BORU BAGPIPE BAND
Cumann Na Piobaire
In 1999, the members of the band suggested that we also be known as the Brian Boru Pipes and Drums. This was in recognition that the band was not only made up of bagpipers but also drummers. We all know the drums make the band! Now we are referred to mostly as
BRIAN BORU PIPES AND DRUMS.
When discussing uniform, Chris Dougherty and Robert Kephart led the search. Bobby had samples of different Irish Tartans that were available. After everyone looked at all the choices, everyone agreed on County Mayo Tartan for the band’s kilts and piper plaids as well as for our flashes. All of those present that evening noted that thru their family heritage there were ties to County Mayo in Ireland, so it was a good choice. Through the years the uniform keeps the County Mayo Kilt, along with the black military beret with gold Irish harp pin, currently including black military long or short sleeve shirt ( depending on season) with Irish Tri-Colors Eplet Covers and band patch on both shoulders, military sporran, lovat green hose with red flashes and white spats with black shoes. Also, the pipes would have black velvet covers trimmed in red and red cords.
The uniform has evolved, the band no longer meets on Sundays, but has changed and still meets on Wednesday evenings. We no longer are at the Dougherty Printing Company. Since then we’ve moved to Bridgeport Fire Company No. 1, then to the George Clay Fire Company, finally to the Goodwill Fire Company’s Shamrock Room in March of 1999. On the first meeting night here, the band members walked into the Shamrock Hall and saw the mural on the wall of a green shamrock and two leprechauns, announcing “WE’RE HOME”. This has been our home ever since.
In 2005, the band was presented with a banner to be carried in front of the band on Parade Day. The banner was donated by the mother of two of our band members in honor of her deceased husband. As the band had just added a Color Guard, this would finish off the front of the band, and there would be no question who we were. Also, this year, the drum section added a flourishing Tenor Drum section.
As the band’s 10th Anniversary came on March 16, 2007, the four founding bagpipers can now look back at a very successful undertaking. Their thoughts and dreams have come true. The BRIAN BORU PIPES AND DRUMS have grown to an organization of Drum Major, numerous pipers, drummers, color guard, and always growing. The band is known as one of the Top Irish Bagpipe Bands in the area.
All of our members are HAVING FUN WHILE DOING IT.
It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of all the members of the band, but what a great success story!
“HERE COMES BRIAN BORU PIPES AND DRUMS”