In 1995, longtime firefighter/piper Tim Birr joined Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and taught then-firefighter Norvin Collins how to play, after which the pair began making the rounds of fire service functions, funerals, and ceremonies.
In August of 2000, a group of TVF&R members asked Birr and Collins if they would provide lessons. As word of the fledgling band got out, the original members were soon joined by firefighters from other Portland metro-area departments. While the band carries the name of its host agency, it is truly a metro fire service pipe band. Over the years, its ranks have grown to include not only firefighters, but several members of local law enforcement and public service agencies. To this day, band members wear a band patch on the left sleeve of their uniform and their agency patch on the right, allowing them to represent both TVF&R Pipes and Drums and their home agency at the same time.
By the spring of 2001, many in the original group had become proficient enough on the chanter (practice instrument) to purchase bagpipes, and the group began purchasing uniforms and recruiting drummers to round out what would soon become a band. In an ironic twist of history and fate, the bandís first official appearance was scheduled to be the City of Tigardís 40th birthday celebration on September 11, 2001. Given the tragic events of that day, the Tigard event was postponed, but the band hit the ground running in successive weeks, playing dozens of 9-11 vigils and memorials throughout the metropolitan area.
Following that "baptism of fire," the band established itself as the first fire service pipe band in the Pacific Northwest. In 2004, the band was regionally joined by the Seattle Firefighters Pipes and Drums, and subsequently by a growing number of bands throughout the Northwest.
Members of the band have performed in Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Sitka and internationally in Guadalajara, Mexico in the fall of 2005 and again in 2006. Band members have performed at Dropkick Murphys shows in both Portland and Boston and had the honor of playing for Irish President Mary McAleese when she visited Portland in 2008. In June of 2012, members of the band again performed for the President of Ireland in Dublin for the 150th anniversary of the Dublin Fire Brigade.
While proud of these events, the band has never lost sight of its primary missionÖserving the regionís fire service.
"Maybe it's bred in the bone, but the sound of pipes is a little bit of heaven to some of us"
We are the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Pipes and Drums. Our members proudly represent various public safety agencies from around the greater Portland, Oregon area. We are also proud to be the first fire service based band in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for stopping by. We hope you'll come by again.
Over the years, the following agencies have been proudly represented in the band:
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Gresham Fire & Emergency Services
Hoodland Fire District #74
Keizer Fire District
Newberg Fire Department
Oregon Department of Corrections
Portland Fire & Emergency Services (ret)
Sequim (WA) Police
Tualatin Police Department (ret)
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
Washington County Sheriffs Office
US Consumer Products Safety Commission
San Jose (CA) Fire Department (ret)
Washington County 911 (ret)
ģ Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Pipes and Drums 2013