Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band 50th Anniversary - Bagpipes

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Founded in 1962 by four enthusiastic young pipers, the band can claim more than 100 members through the years. Its mission is to encourage and support the preservation of the Irish arts of piping, drumming and dancing.

St. Paul’s revered Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band wraps up a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary with the release of its second CD, which includes tracks by both the full band and a variety of side projects featuring band members

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Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band 40th Anniversary - Bagpipes

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band - Bagpipes

Highland Bagpipes and Drums, Fiddle, Accordion and Uilleann Pipes.

Read the reviews below. This is one of the best pipe band CD's available at any price!

This St. Paul bagpipe company performs all your favorite Irish pieces, from Kelly to Wearing of the Green to Minstrel Boy. A beautiful, soaring version of Amazing Grace is one of the highlights, as well as lively pieces accompanied by fiddle, accordion and uillean pipes.

Members of the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band have performed with national acts including Green Day, Blink-182 and Rod Stewart as well as alongside local acts like Barra and Scoil Na Dtri School of Irish Dance. Our presence has been requested at events from the Minnesota Twins to the Twin Cities Marathon. Lately the band has been performing at top Celtic Fairs throughout the world.

BIO:

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. We are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate.

Our distinctive Irish uniforms -- the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes -- are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland's past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older -- ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

WWW.BRIANBORUPIPEBAND.COM

MORE ABOUT THE BAND.....

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band by Ari McKee

Article originally appeared in the Irish Gazette.

The phrase "local band" is almost a synonym for short-lived. Bands these days seem to be composed of a sparingly talented group of youngsters who met in metal shop or rehab and are known as "The Screaming Death Tobaggans" for a few fleeting weekends, their gig dates buried deep in a couple of City Pages club ads. They break up, regroup, splinter, and usually fade into ordinary life- decades from now their kids may never have known their mommy or daddy was a musician.

But there's another kind of local band. The members are either seasoned professionals or learning students, the performance attire requires shoes and brass polish, and there's been no monkeying around with the name for thirty-eight years. Which, when you think about it, is really a drop in the bucket when you realize they play instruments that have been around for upwards of three thousand years.

This is the culture of the bagpiper, and the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band is the upper midwest's most senior ambassador to this unique world of sacred music and just -as-sacred traditions. Established in 1961 by accomplished pipers, it continues week by week and year by year with some of those original members, many newer members and even the children of original members. The uniform is the same- a saffron kilt (tartan is for the Scots) and black wool short jacket. Some of the pipers sport original buttons from the Irish troops who participated in the Easter Uprising of Dublin in 1916. The music is largely the same- lively jigs, triumphant marches, familiar airs and wrenching ballads, but each generation has added both newer and less well-known historic pipe tunes to keep everyone on their toes. Some of the pipes themselves are old and ornate, some are new and shiny, but all play the same nine notes held aloft by the wail of the three drones. The combination of these twelve elements can create, in the right hands and lips, the fearsome shriek of the war pipes or the keening moan of a love lost.

Training those hands and lips to create such magic is another story, however. These days it falls to Pipe Major John McCormick to mold the next generation of brave but few bagpipers. The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band offers free lessons to entice men and women to take on the not-inconsiderable challenge of learning the bagpipes. Many have attended classes over the years and have stayed, bearing the complaints of loved ones and neighbors (amplifiers, hah!), and eventually overcoming the frustration involved in learning the temperamental and high-maintenance instrument. The reward, after all, is not just beautiful music, but an immeasurable connection to one's Irish roots. If you remember something when you're downtown next Wednesday, remember this: the pipers were there even before good Saint Patrick was.

So, in its quiet way (well, maybe quiet is the wrong word), the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band continues on its historic path. You'll see them heavily this month in Saint Paul, Minneapolis and greater Minnesota, but also throughout the performance season at various games, fairs, parades and festivals. Don't miss them, but if you do, I'm pretty sure they'll be doing it again next year.

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Amazing Grace (50th Anniversary Version With Drums) - Single

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Founded in 1962 by four enthusiastic young pipers, the band can claim more than 100 members through the years. Its mission is to encourage and support the preservation of the Irish arts of piping, drumming and dancing. The band – in its distinctive black and saffron uniforms – is a crowd favorite at community celebrations, parades and other events around the Midwest, including St. Paul’s renowned St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the Irish Fair of Minnesota, the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games, and numerous parades and festivals from Aberdeen, S.D., to Emmetsburg, Iowa

This St. Paul, Minnesota bagpipe company performs a beautiful, soaring version of 'Amazing Grace' with the addition of bass, tenor and snare drums.

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Minstrel Boy, Scotland the Brave, Johnny Scobie - (The Single) Bagpipes

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Bagpipe rendition of the classic Minstrel Boy, Scotland the Brave and Johnny Scobie. "Hark when the night is falling- Hear. hear the pipes are calling"

Bagpipe rendition of the classic Minstrel Boy, Scotland the Brave and Johnny Scobie. "Hark when the night is falling- Hear. hear the pipes are calling"

BIO:

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. We are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate.

Our distinctive Irish uniforms -- the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes -- are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland's past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older -- ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

WWW.BRIANBORUPIPEBAND.COM

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Amazing Grace -The Single (Bagpipes)

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

This St. Paul, Minnesota bagpipe company performs a beautiful, soaring version of 'Amazing Grace'.

Beautiful, soaring version of Amazing Grace performed by Bagpiper Michael Kotch.

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band of St. Paul, Minnesota is a nonprofit band which was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing.

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Elisia's Fancy, George The Beagle, Good Drying, Vanessa's Fantasy - Bagpipes Solo (Pipes And Drums)

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

This world famous bagpiper performs his solo set of Elisia's Fancy, George the Beagle, Good Drying, and Vanessa's Fantasy.

Mike Kotch performs his solo set of Elisia's Fancy, George the Beagle, Good Drying, Vanessa's Fantasy.

Mike Kotch 'The Flying Piper' has been playing bagpipes for over 10 years. He is an open competition soloist and has won many prizes. He is a member of the City of Chicago Pipe Band and has played with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band of St. Paul, Macalester College Pipe Band, Twin Cities Metro Pipe Band and Kansas City Pipe Band. Mike is also a pilot.

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. We are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate.

Our distinctive Irish uniforms -- the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes -- are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland's past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older -- ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

WWW.BRIANBORUPIPEBAND.COM

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Kelly, the Wearing of the Green - The Single (Bagpipes - Pipes and Drums)

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Exuberant Bagpipe rendition of the classics 'Kelly' and 'The Wearing of the Green'

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. We are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate.

Our distinctive Irish uniforms -- the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes -- are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland's past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older -- ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

“Passing on the pipes”

For 45 years, Brian Boru bagpipers have played - and taught - traditional Celtic tunes.

BY LAURA YUEN

Pioneer Press Article Last Updated: 08/10/2007 12:03:25 AM CDT

Drive past the Menards and the Pineda Tacos and the Wal-Mart, and follow your ears. Right beside the Clean 'N' Press, a parking lot in West St. Paul is crying.

A circle of bagpipers floats the deedle-deedle-dum of Celtic melancholy every Tuesday evening. Just when the sun sets over the SuperTarget, they pipe songs about elusive maidens and dead heroes.

One of the men who founded the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band in 1962 sits on a stoop of a nearby business and listens.

"It stirs you," said Chuck "Stubby" Russell, 79, tapping his heart.

The ragtag crew that Russell organized has endured for 45 years in the face of high turnover and warring factions. The Minneapolis man retired a couple of years ago because of Parkinson's disease and back problems.

Yet it's largely volunteers like Russell who have fueled the survival of Brian Boru and, with it, a piece of Irish tradition in Minnesota. He and other veteran members have taught dozens of students how to play the pipes for free.

"If you charge them, you'll drive them away," he said.

The band is a crowd favorite at the Irish Fair of Minnesota, which begins today on Harriet Island in St. Paul. Dozens of newcomers sign up for lessons after seeing the pipers perform at the festival.

Unlike Scottish pipe bands that sport tartans, the Brian Boru crew - named after the 11th century Irish king - proudly wears the black and saffron kilts of the Irish army.

At the bars on St. Patrick's Day, the musicians have been goosed by silver-haired ladies. They also have a ready supply of salty responses when asked, "What's under the skirt?" But it's the annual August festival that marks the band's high recruiting season.

After a few lessons, though, most novice pipers quit.

"Maybe we get one out of 15 who stick with it and become a member of the band," said pipe major John McCormick, who lives on St. Paul's West Side. "It's a lot of work."

McCormick, who works as an insulator, started playing the pipes when he was 12. His father hooked him up with a friend in St. Paul's Irish-American community who knew how to play.

At the time, it was even less cool than today for boys to wear skirts.

"My parents were proud of me, and they would always tell people, 'My son plays the bagpipe,' " he said. "I would say, 'Don't bring that up! I want to make friends.' "

McCormick began seriously studying the pipes three years ago, when he had the maturity and motivation to keep at it.

The bagpipe is a bear of an instrument. For the first year or so, most students learn on a practice chanter - similar to a recorder - without picking up the real bagpipe. The rookie piper might be able to play just one tune. Some never play any.

"It's an instrument you've got to beat into submission," Russell said with a laugh.

Players must juggle complex fingering, steady blowing and the squeezing of the bag, making for an exhausting upper-body workout. A beginning student can sound dreadful - and there's no way to hide it, given the blaring drone the pipes produce.

The idea for Minnesota's longest-surviving Irish bagpipe band started in a bar. Russell, then a social worker, was knocking back a few with his buddies, and someone got the idea of forming the group.

"One guy says, 'Yeah, but how we gonna learn?' " Russell recalled.

They found a teacher in John Ford, then a Macalester College teacher and director of its pipe band. Under Ford's instruction, the fledgling posse hammered out horrendous notes.

But they persevered, mostly because of the fellowship. Parents have brought their children, including Russell's son, Charlie. The group is made up mostly of men, ranging from teens to retirees.

"We just added a guy here, a guy there, and it's been 45 years," Russell said.

The band plays in the West St. Paul parking lot, where one member owns a business that makes Irish-themed merchandise.

Like any fraternity, though, the band has experienced some drama and even threats of extinction. Some pipers have splintered from the group as they sought a more competitive playing level.

McCormick, 43, became pipe major at 17 after one infamous split. The band grew large again, and then there was another split.

Today, about 20 pipers and drummers make up the crew, with an additional 10 or so students being groomed to join.

"All we expect is that people work hard," McCormick said. "It's important to me to pass it on, in the same way it was passed on to me."

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Brian Boru Drum Salute 1 -the Single (bagpipes - Pipes And Drums)

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

Gaelic snare drumming at it's best. Snare, tenor and bass drum.

This St. Paul bagpipe company performs all your favorite Irish pieces, from Kelly to Wearing of the Green to Minstrel Boy. A beautiful, soaring version of Amazing Grace is one of the highlights, as well as lively pieces accompanied by fiddle, accordion and uillean pipes.

BIO:

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. We are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate.

Our distinctive Irish uniforms -- the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes -- are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland's past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older -- ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

WWW.BRIANBORUPIPEBAND.COM

MORE ABOUT THE BAND.....

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band by Ari McKee

Article originally appeared in the Irish Gazette.

The phrase "local band" is almost a synonym for short-lived. Bands these days seem to be composed of a sparingly talented group of youngsters who met in metal shop or rehab and are known as "The Screaming Death Tobaggans" for a few fleeting weekends, their gig dates buried deep in a couple of City Pages club ads. They break up, regroup, splinter, and usually fade into ordinary life- decades from now their kids may never have known their mommy or daddy was a musician.

But there's another kind of local band. The members are either seasoned professionals or learning students, the performance attire requires shoes and brass polish, and there's been no monkeying around with the name for thirty-eight years. Which, when you think about it, is really a drop in the bucket when you realize they play instruments that have been around for upwards of three thousand years.

This is the culture of the bagpiper, and the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band is the upper midwest's most senior ambassador to this unique world of sacred music and just -as-sacred traditions. Established in 1961 by accomplished pipers, it continues week by week and year by year with some of those original members, many newer members and even the children of original members. The uniform is the same- a saffron kilt (tartan is for the Scots) and black wool short jacket. Some of the pipers sport original buttons from the Irish troops who participated in the Easter Uprising of Dublin in 1916. The music is largely the same- lively jigs, triumphant marches, familiar airs and wrenching ballads, but each generation has added both newer and less well-known historic pipe tunes to keep everyone on their toes. Some of the pipes themselves are old and ornate, some are new and shiny, but all play the same nine notes held aloft by the wail of the three drones. The combination of these twelve elements can create, in the right hands and lips, the fearsome shriek of the war pipes or the keening moan of a love lost.

Training those hands and lips to create such magic is another story, however. These days it falls to Pipe Major John McCormick to mold the next generation of brave but few bagpipers. The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band offers free lessons to entice men and women to take on the not-inconsiderable challenge of learning the bagpipes. Many have attended classes over the years and have stayed, bearing the complaints of loved ones and neighbors (amplifiers, hah!), and eventually overcoming the frustration involved in learning the temperamental and high-maintenance instrument. The reward, after all, is not just beautiful music, but an immeasurable connection to one's Irish roots. If you remember something when you're downtown next Wednesday, remember this: the pipers were there even before good Saint Patrick was.

So, in its quiet way (well, maybe quiet is the wrong word), the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band continues on its historic path. You'll see them heavily this month in Saint Paul, Minneapolis and greater Minnesota, but also throughout the performance season at various games, fairs, parades and festivals. Don't miss them, but if you do, I'm pretty sure they'll be doing it again next year

Read more… close