The band was formed in late 1983 as an off shoot of the Fairfax County
Firefighter’s Emerald Society which was originally organized in April of 1983.
The goal was to emulate the FDNY Emerald Society, that of having a Pipe Band
component to the social organization. Bill Schumm, President of the Emerald
Society, and Ed Snyder, a member, met with John D. “Zim” Zimmerman to learn
what was involved with starting a pipe band. "Zim" was, at the time, the Drum
Major for the Washington Scottish Pipe Band A.K.A. The Saint Andrews Society
Pipes and Drums. Zim believed in our cause and became the Drum Major for the
new band. He also taught bass drumming, how to march, attack tunes and how
to properly wear the uniform.
May 5, 1983 -- We held our first practice with a summer break for July and
August and then back at it weekly starting up again on September 8,1983.
March 10, 1984 -- Manned with 9 pipers, 6 drummers and one Drum Major, we
took to the streets and marched in our first event which was the City of
Alexandria Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. We only had three songs 'performance
ready' - Let Erin Remember, Bonnie Charlie, Minstrel Boy - so we played those
three over and over again the entire parade route. This group of songs is still
played today and is lovingly called the 'First Set'. We also still march this parade
every year as it has become one of our favorites and play the First Set while
doing it....with other songs too of course!!
To call attention to the
good works of the fire
service and the public
safety sector. This is
done through the stirring
sounds of the bagpipes
as we honor public safety
members who have given
their lives in the line of
|The original name of the band was Firefighters' Emerald
Society Pipe Band. We chose this name so that firefighters
from other jurisdictions would not feel excluded from
joining. We wanted to be inclusive of the Fire Service in
In 2010 the band applied for and received its 501(c)3
status as a non-profit organization. This was an important
event for us as the band's budget is comprised mainly of
donations and sales of band merchandise such as t-shirts,
challenge coins, etc. By receiving this status it allowed the
band to participate in more events and accept more
donations that all go towards uniforms and instruments.
|The original uniforms with white shirts
|We often get asked the question,
"Whats the deal with the solid kilts?
And why are they mustard color?"
Well, for starters the color is called
'Saffron' and its not even yellow
(actually its part of the orange family).
Irish kilts (for the most part) are
different from their Scottish
counterparts as they are solid/one
color as opposed to the familiar plaid,
or tartan, of a Scottish kilt. The solid
one color is generally a dark green or
a Saffron which we have chosen.
The reason for this choice is that our
dress uniforms are modeled after the
Royal Irish Rangers who wore