Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department - Copyright 2023 - Honor Our Fallen
The Pipe Major is the “boss” of the pipe band. The Pipe Major stands in the ranks with the other pipers, occupying the position on the right hand side of the front rank.
In full dress uniform, the Pipe Major wears a distinctive gold-embroider badge of pipes surrounded by a wreath on the right sleeve and may have other special uniform items as well.
The Pipe Major is always a first class player and his authority in the band is absolute. The Pipe Major will select repertoire, supervise rehearsals and set the tempo for parades and competitions. The personality and abilities of the Pipe Major are the biggest factors influencing the success or otherwise in both the musical and social sense of a band.
Pipe Major Griff Finch took on the roll as first pipe major for the Band in 1982. Although not a Police Officer, Griff was an experienced piper/pipe major with the Medinah Highlanders Pipe Band. Griff was a founding member of our band and the band’s first pipe instructor. He truly was instrumental in getting the band marching in their first parade and even married fellow founding member Melissa Berry.
Pipe Major David Solheim is a founding member of our band and a retired Chicago Police Officer. Dave led the band through the years of 1983 to 1986 having to fill the shoes of the first Pipe Major. A job well done was accomplished. Dave’s daughter was married in 2001 and members from the band were proud to have been there for the Solheim Family. Thank you for everything you gave to the band Dave - you’re welcome back anytime!
Pipe Major Ed McCarthy served the band as Pipe Major from 1986 to 1992. During those five years the band made tremendous leaps and bounds in terms of their skill level of playing and cohesiveness as a performing group. In 1992 while the band was boarding a train to perform in New Orleans, McCarthy advised the band that he did his job and they were ready. That was the last time anyone from the band saw Pipe Major McCarthy. He is alive and presumably well.
Pipe Major Donald McGrath took over as the Pipe Major from 1992 to 1993. In that short time Donny was given the task by then Band Manager, Patrick Goodman to make the band sound the best they could. This goal was achieved and the band proudly honored our fallen through his leadership. The band celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary under Don’s leadership.
Pipe Major Edward Kane took the reigns in 1993 and led the band until 1998. The task of being Pipe Major to a group of spoiled policemen is not an easy one. Ed is a talented musician who can hear a tune and have it in a matter of minutes. His leadership led the band in many proud moments including the band’s first trip to the Police Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Pipe Major Bruce Quintos donned the sash in 1998. The Band has truly reached a pinnacle under his musical direction and instruction. Bruce has brought the Band back to it’s Irish roots and added numerous innovative musical sets to the band’s repertoire including Freebird and a Celtic Elvis Medley. Bruce was inspiration in the band producing it’s first CD and is currently working on the second. No other Pipe Major has done what Bruce has musically for the Band. His goal of always Honoring Our Fallen and making the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department the best show band in the Midwest is being achieved.
In 2017, Pipe Major Jonathon Harmening began to lead the Band into the future and continue the proud tradition that we know today!