Film to Celebrate 50 Years of FDNY Emerald Society

The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band will celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year and there is an effort currently to create a documentary film to highlight the rich history of the organization.

The documentary "Triumph Through Tragedy" is being written and produced by Lt. Tim Geraghty from Engine 58, a piper with the band who traded his bagpipes for a camera for a year and followed his fellow band members.

Unfortunately, the budget for the film is very small and the band is seeking donations to complete it in time for its anniversary gala in September.

The band is seeking to raise $25,000 and as of June 11 had raised just over $10,000 with 19 days left to reach its goal.

Those who donate money will receive a variety of gifts which include stickers, pint glasses, T-shirts and DVDs of film once it's completed, depending on the amount pledged.

Those who pledge $5,000 or more will receive two VIP tickets to the band's 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner Celebration on Sept. 15 at CitiField -- home of the New York Mets -- which will include a cocktail hour on the infield and a special performance by the band.

All proceeds will go toward research, music rights, and mastering the final project.

The Emerald Society was founded by firefighters in 1962 to help develop a greater appreciation for Irish music and encourage the preservation of Irish culture and traditions.

None of the members knew how to play the bagpipes or drums, but in one year's time, they were marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

During its first performance, it consisted of only 17 members, but today it is comprised of over 90 members. Today some of the original members still perform with the band.

The members of the band perform on a voluntary basis and receive no compensation for playing their instruments.

The band has performed throughout the United States and in the UK and Europe and average over 200 events per year including weddings, wreath-laying ceremonies, plaque dedications, funerals, parades and fundraisers for charitable organizations.

The proudest achievement of the Emerald Society came after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when there was representation from the band at all 343 funerals for fallen FDNY members.

Members sometimes played 12 to 15 funerals each day to make sure no family was left out.