First and foremost I want to say thank you and that I was proud to be with each and everyone of you at everything we did this St. Patrick's Day.
You put in the time and effort all year long and you came out to support the band but also to let your proverbial hair down and enjoy "our day" together.
Saint Patrick's Day is our day. It is our day of fun and fellowship out in public playing the instruments that we have fought and argued with consistently over the past year. It is our day, our time to "jam" without judges who have clipboards and microscopes. It is our time to feel great about all of the work we have put in. When we finish a tune or a set and the audience erupts in thunderous applause and accolades, they are for US, they are for YOU, it is the reward that each and every one of us has earned. And you deserve it.
Yes it takes a lot of effort and stamina to endure all of what we do on these long days between parades and gigs but remember this only happens once a year. And so to those of you who participated at even one event I am forever thankful that you did because now you know how it feels and that cannot be taken from you.
To anyone who did not join in at least one Saint Patrick's Day event I'll say this, if you had a real and valid reason why you could not be there then that is that. But, if you chose not to be a part of these events because you didn't feel you were ready or good enough or any other thoughts along those lines please don't do that next time. Please come out and join us. There isn't anyone doing what we do who hasn't felt the same if not very similar feelings or fears and I assure you we will get through all of them together. Don't deny yourself the payoff for all of the hard work and commitment you put in.
We had a large space of downtime between official gig slots at the Pipers Tavern and at one point looking at the couch piled up with bagpipes I asked the pipers in attendance to play something. It didn't matter what it was, just something at whatever level you are at. Just for the sheer enjoyment of playing. To see these instruments laying there silent when the venue was packed full of people who wanted nothing more than to hear them sing was heartbreaking.
I myself was personally asked numerous times "when will you play again" as were others I'm sure. The people there don't care what your level is, they're not there to judge you. You could play a couple of parade Tunes alone or with a buddy and the reaction would be the same. Each time a piper played the audience was thrilled. You as a player deserve to feel that rush. It doesn't matter if you are an open Piper or just finally conquering some of the parade music. It is our day to stretch out and have fun. And the people who are there want that from us.
When Saint Patrick's Day comes again next year don't take it for granted. Be a part of anything and everything you can participate in with the band. Come out and share our day with all of us. You will have a new understanding of how this band is more like family than any other pipe band you will most likely encounter. We argue, we fuss and we fight but we celebrate our accomplishments both great and small stronger than anything else that we do. We are here for each other. We are a pipe band family and when you are having trouble do not distance yourself from the family lean inward to the circle and let our shared knowledge and experiences help you get past whatever is in your way.
I am here to help whomever however I can. That has been my commitment and my pledge since the day I joined this band.
Once again it was my sincere honor and pleasure to share this Saint Patrick's Day with each and everyone of you.
I love this band. I am proud of this band. I am committed to this band.
- Patrick O’Leary