Then and Now: Police Association Pipes & Drums celebrate 25 year in style

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Humble beginnings: NH’s Police Association Pipes & Drum Band formed in 1994, inspired following the funeral for NH State Police Sgt. James Noyes who was killed in the line of duty. Courtesy/NHPAPD

MANCHESTER, NH – The New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner fundraiser event is being held at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Saturday, March 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This is the 25th year for the organization and the annual fundraiser, which has traditionally been held at the Alpine Club on the West Side. NHPA Pipes and Drums President Patrick Cheetham said the Alpine Club, which has an occupancy of about 175 people, has been a great partner over the years, but they wanted to do something big for the 25th anniversary.

Cheetham said they still do regular practices at the Alpine Club.

St. George’s will be able to host up to 400 attendees, and tickets (sold for $40, up from $25 this year) have already sold out.

“This year, it’s a fundraiser dinner… but it’s also an appreciation night for 25 years of supporting the NHPA Pipes and Drums,” Cheetham said.

He said they will be recognizing about 10 individuals and organizations for their support over the past quarter century.

This is also the first time the band has held a fundraiser dinner as a 501c3 organization, which it became last year in an effort to expand its fundraising options.

“Being a 501c3 has opened us up to new funding sources, which is always something we’re looking for because it takes a lot of money to run a full-time 30-person pipes and drum band,” Cheetham said.

Cheetham said he hopes to raise about $5,000 this year, after expenses. They hired a caterer for the first time, and spent money on other things like silverware, which they hadn’t done before.

Past events have raised about $5,000 and $8,000.

They will be raffling off about 50 donated prizes during the event.

Members of the Police Pipes and Drums kicked off Mayor Joyce Craig’s inauguration ceremony in 2018. PHOTO/Jeffrey Hastings

According to the NHPAPD website, New Hampshire’s pipe and drum corps was formed in 1994, following the funeral for State Police Sgt. James Noyes, who was killed in the line of duty in October of 1994. After the Boston Police Gaelic Column played at his funeral, a search was initiated for potential players to form a New Hampshire-based police pipes and drums band. In December 1994, several members from various police departments across the state came together for their first practice. After two years of dedicated training, the band made its official debut by playing at the New Hampshire Police Memorial in Concord.

Although the band’s primary mission is to honor New Hampshire’s fallen law enforcement officers by providing a musical accompaniment to funeral and memorial services, they also celebrate accomplishments of active and retired law enforcement officersveterans and service members by playing at promotional ceremonies, honor flight commencements, academy graduations, retirements, parades and charitable events.

Live music this year will be provided by Erin’s Guild out of Portsmouth, which is a three-person group of traditional Irish folk music. And the McGonagle School of Irish Dance will also perform before a signature performance by the NHPA Pipes and Drums.

Mayor Joyce Craig will be on hand to read a proclamation, and other VIPs attending include Congressman Chris Pappas, state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Chief William Hart of the Londonderry Police Department and Col. Christopher Wagner of the New Hampshire State Police.

Event sponsors include Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester, Peddler’s Daughter in Nashua, Amoskeag Beverages and Bellavance Beverage Company.

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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.