Our bagpipe band was created in 1996 in response to the fact that firefighter’s from the villages of Bergen County, NJ., had never been represented by a local fire service pipe band for line-of-duty fatalities and special events.
Teaneck firefighter Paul Kearns and experienced bagpipe instructor Pat Martens, sent letters to all the fire departments in Bergen County announcing the formation of the Bergen County Firefighters Pipe Band. All firefighters in Bergen County interested in learning to play the bagpipes or drums were encouraged to meet at the American Legion Post in Bogota, NJ to discuss this new venture.
There were nine men at that first meeting who, with Paul and Pat’s experience and hard work, and the knowledge of founding drum instructor, Dennis Gordon, were able to accomplish the new band’s first goal—performing within the year.
It was during our first parade season March of 1997 that we discovered just how much talent and creativity we had in our group. We decided before Bergenfield’s St. Patrick’s Day parade that we would try out “Yellow Submarine” if the parade paused. As it turned out, right in front of a famous bar/restaurant, the parade backed-up and we gave it a shot. The masses went crazy, as most had never heard rock-n-roll performed before on bagpipes—especially during the course of a parade! Thus, our formula to focus on discovering new ways to ENTERTAIN and not strictly conform to traditional piping standards was born and has been rocking audiences ever since. But know that if we want to, when we want to, we can emerge from the pits of rock-and-roll evil and get back in line and stand among some of the best traditional pipe bands in the area.
Outgrowing the walls of the American Legion Post, the band moved for a short time to the Leonia Civic Center, and now calls Ralph H. Hall, Post #5561, VFW in Bogota home. Doug Parody, the band’s current pipe instructor, took over for Pat Martens in 1999. Dennis Gordon has rejoined our ranks and is currently the drum Instructor.
The Pipe Major is James Schmitt, one of the original nine firefighters who showed up to that first meeting. James belongs to both Ridgefield Park and Bogota Volunteer Fire departments.
Our uniform is military style, signified by the Glen Garry cap with the badge of each member’s fire department, white spats, long-haired sporran, a Memorial Kilt Pin in Memory of Martin Duffy, the uniform shirt and a band-designed kilt.
While NEVER losing site of why we established this band, our motto is to ENTERTAIN.