The tradition of bagpipes played at fire department and police department funerals in the United States goes back over one hundred fifty years.
February of 1982 witnessed the tragic deaths of three Chicago Police Officers. Police officers from the Emerald Society of Illinois, with the assistance of then Mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne, arranged for the presence of the Pipes and Drums of the Emerald Society, City of New York Police Department to conduct their “Inspectors Funeral” in Chicago. This impressive and fitting tribute to these “fallen men in blue” was the impetus for the formation of the band.
The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department was subsequently formed in May of 1982 with the help of Byrne. Throughout the years the band has participated in over 100 honor funeral services for members of the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and numerous suburban, county, state and federal agencies.
Today, the band has over one hundred (100) officers in uniform with twelve original members still active in the band. The band has expanded its purpose to promote the appreciation of piping music. To this end, the band performs at numerous parades throughout the year, highlighted by the St. Patrick’s Day events in the Loop and Southside.
Several movies show the group in action including Backdraft, The Fugitive and Stir of Echoes.
The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department perform on Friday, July 8 at 8:30pm.