History of the Band:
Formed in 2000. The band was established to perform the music of the Highland bagpipes and drums for memorial ceremonies, funerals, and other events relating to the Protective Services and the U. S. Military.
The original members of the Band were either active or retired members of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Departments. There were ten students in the original group. The first Pipe Major and primary instructor was Katie Higgins (now Berigan), who led the Band in its formative years.
Our membership has expanded to the larger community of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers in Southeast Wisconsin as well as members of the community at large.
We have had the distinct honor to play at all of the Milwaukee Fire Department and Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Memorials since our founding. In addition, the band also performed at many Fire & Police memorial ceremonies around the State of Wisconsin.
GMFPPD has traveled to Washington DC (2008) to perform in the National Law Enforcement Memorial and to Colorado Springs, CO (2009) to participate in the IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremonies.
Band member Dan Schmerse took over the duties of Pipe Major in 2008.
In the winter of 2008-2009 the Greater Milwaukee Fire & Police Pipes & Drums began joint practice and playing sessions with the Celtic Nations Pipes & Drums.
Under the overall direction of Ron "Ringo" Bowen, with the able assistance of Sarajane Trier, both of the St John's Northwestern Military Academy staff, and Ken Heeschen, and the members of CNPD, this joint effort has worked beyond our expectations.
In 2010, the GMFPPD joined the Midwest Pipe Band Association and, under the musical direction of Ringo Bowen and leadership of P/M Schmerse along with the renewed efforts of the members, the Band entered Grade 5 competition at the Highland Games at Milwaukee's Scottish Fest. The event was held at Hart Park in Wauwatosa, WI and the Band, in it's first competitive outing, received an award for second place.
Of our most memorable events are the performances at Milwaukee's City Hall at ceremonies honoring departing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and more recently, at General Mitchell International Airport, on May 2, 2010 and September 19, 2010, we had the honor of performing as WW II Veterans returned from their Honor Flight to Washington DC to visit the WW II Memorial.
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