The Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes and Drums are a group of career and volunteer firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMS providers and friends of first responders.
After the tragic loss of 2 city of Buffalo Firefighters on August 24th, 2009 Lt. Chip McCarthy of Rescue 1, and Firefighter Jonathan Croom of Ladder 7, Firefighters from all over the U.S. and Canada came to pay their respects. With them came members of the Washington, DC Fire Department Pipes and Drums. They played at the funerals, and after. They brought such an overwhelming range of emotions with the sound of the pipes. Some Buffalo firefighters kept in touch with the DCFD Pipe band, and soon the idea was brought up for some Buffalo guys to learn the pipes. As word of this idea got around, several members began taking lessons with a local pipe band during the summer and fall of 2010. More followed, and in a short time there were 12.
On April 10th, 2012 the group met at the Blackthorn Pub on Seneca St. and decided to form the band in Chip and Jon's memory. A lot got done that night. Committees were formed to plan uniforms, patch, kilt tartan, fund raising, practice location and day, equipment (we had no drums), officer elections, membership, and possible engagements. Everyone helped out and in a very short time it all came together, Joe Mehltretter was named Pipe Major, and Mike Seltz the Band Manager.
Our first gig was a last minute request from NTFD's Active Hose to march with them in June 12, at the annual Inspection Parade. We pulled it off with new uniform shirts, Glengarry's, and long pants. A week later the band made its BFD debut at the annual Memorial Mass at St. Josephs Cathedral and a short march to the Hyatt Hotel. We marched in several parades, fundraisers, memorials, funerals, and weddings. In Dec. 2012 we traveled to West Webster, NY to participate in our first massed band in the memory of 2 firefighters shot and killed there.
St. Paddy's weekend 2013 kicked off our first full season, with multiple performances over the 2 weeks surrounding it. We marched with 38 members and took 2nd place, out of 4 pipe bands.