LONDONDERRY — They perform for fallen soldiers, officers and other memorial events.
They also participate in dozens of parades and special events throughout the year.
The New Hampshire Pipes and Drums celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and will host a special outdoor concert at the Palace Theatre in Manchester June 28. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.
Londonderry police Sgt. Patrick Cheetham is the group’s bandmaster. The bagpipe and drum corps was formed in 1994, following the tragic line-of-duty death of New Hampshire State Police Sgt. James Noyes, he said.
After Noyes’ funeral, a search began for potential players to start a band. Several individuals representing various police departments got together for the first practice at Memorial High School in Manchester.
After two years, the band debuted and played at the New Hampshire Police Memorial in Concord.
Since then, the band has grown to include more than 25 playing members from a dozen law enforcement agencies all over the state.
For Cheetham, it’s something he wanted to get involved in after he graduated from the police academy and began working in Londonderry.
“The band had played at the academy’s graduation,” he said. “That’s when I decided I wanted to join the pipe band.”
Cheetham got his first set of bagpipes and began taking lessons.
He said marching with the band is something he truly loves.
As band master, he is also very busy as the band is in great demand, not only for the memorial aspect of why the group formed, but for special events and parades. He said the group performs in about 12 parades every year.
Members include corrections officers, detectives, patrol officers and other police staff.
“It’s a big mix,” Cheetham said. “My phone is always ringing. We are always getting requests.”
A recent appearance was for fallen Brentwood police Officer Steven Arkell’s memorial service.