Listen closely, you can hear the thumping of the drums and the faint whistling of pipes floating on the wind. As you stand, eagerly anticipating, the sounds grow louder as the band approaches. Marching along, strong and proud, is The McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band. This year marks their 30th anniversary, celebrating three decades of music and history. The band is comprised of 14 pipers, 7 drummers, a drum major, 5 emeritus, 2 associate and several student musicians. The band’s uniform is unique in that it is based on military attire; with spats to cover their boots, black sweaters, military medals and horsehair sporrans. The kilts that they wear are really special. After reviewing many tartans, McGuire Martin chose an unusual green-dominant plaid that was perfect for the band. The tartan of McDonald, Lord of the Isle, is a nod to the beautiful gulf coast with its bold emerald green color.
Molly and McGuire Martin created their restaurants with unique and rich traditions. These elements help to identify the McGuire’s brand, which carries over into the Pub Pipe Band. Molly was the band’s biggest supporter and the band added a small, embroidered memorial patch to the uniform to always keep her memory with the band. The longevity of a non-institution sponsored bagpipe band is very rare. McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band is also special in their broad diversity in background and age. The band has a strong contingent of Veteran and retired U.S. military personnel and a wide occupational diversity. The youngest member is only 14 while the eldest is 84. The younger pipers and drummers work to ensure that the traditions of the band will continue on for the enjoyment of generations to come.
- VIP Pensacola Magazine: Tell readers how McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band began.
In December of 1987, then Hadji Shrine piper Jack Dasinger met with Molly and McGuire Martin to discuss the possibility of McGuire’s Irish Pub sponsoring a Scottish-style bagpipe band to perform under the McGuire’s name. In March 1988, several local pipers and drummers came together as the “McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band” to perform in local parades, non-profit benefits and Pub-sponsored events and the rest is history.
In order to play with the band, one must be proficient on the Great Highland Bagpipes or be able to play snare, tenor or bass drum in the “Scottish style”. Those wishing to learn the pipes or drums have the opportunity to take lessons with a current member or other instructor. Learning to play a Scottish Highland bagpipe is not easy, and it usually takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 years to be proficient enough to be accepted into the band. All tunes must be memorized and played in unison with the other pipers and drummers.
- VIP Pensacola Magazine: Tell readers about some of the local events at which you perform.
The Band has a dual role, we provide Celtic music for a variety of local and regional events. Each year the band plays at 40-55 events including non-profit awareness walks, holiday parades and celebrations, and the Panama City Highland Festival and Games. There is always, of course, the Annual McGuire’s Irish Pub 5K Prediction Run and St. Patrick’s Day. 2018’s season will mark the 41st anniversary of the run and the 30th time the Band parts the “sea of green” at the start.
- VIP Pensacola Magazine: What plans does the band have for the future?
The band will continue to grow its role as ambassadors for the City of Pensacola, the central Gulf Coast, as well as McGuire’s Irish Pub. As Pipe Major, my goal is to continue the course strengthening the band’s musicality and precise military style, while representing Pensacola and McGuire’s Irish Pub as a nationally recognized Pipe Band.
For additional information and upcoming events please visit the McGuire’s Pipe Band Facebook Page.