Illinois Elks Pipes & Drums Band
Illinois Elks Pipes and Drums History
In late 2003, 15 members of the St. Andrew's Society of Central Illinois Pipes and Drums joined Elks Lodge #158, in a show of support for then Exalted Ruler Bill Block.
It didn't take long to figure that we needed to form a "for fun, strictly Elks" Pipe and Drum band. With modest help from Lodge 158, we purchased new shirts and patches to put together an Illinois Elks uniform using our existing kilts and other equipment. In short order, we were ready to debut at the 2004 Illinois Elks State Convention. We did so in grand style by piping in the Grand Exalted Ruler, Amos McCallum, much to his great surprise and pleasure. We were an instant hit.
The band paid a surprise visit to the hospitality floor of the hotel that Friday night and was received way beyond our expectations. In no time, we had a sum of money that was spontaneously donated to us, and a pledge of more from the Illinois State organization thanks mainly to Bill Voigts, State President. We were on our way.
We concluded 2004 paying several surprise visits to various lodges in and around Illinois with the same reception all the time a grand welcome and magnificent hospitality. Several other lodges were able to secure our services for their functions and, with some humility, can say that we definitely enhanced their events and increased their attendance.
All of our band members are Elks, so membership in the band is limited to those who possess the skills to play the Highland Bagpipe or Drum in the highland style. Because we were all members of a championship competitive band already, we were able to hit the ground running with a sizeable repertoire already in our possession. And we continue to grow musically and gain much more notoriety within Elkdom.
At the 2005 Illinois Elks State Convention, our success of 2004 was surpassed by the new Grand Exalted Ruler, James McQuillan who, along with his wife, were completely smitten by our music and fun-loving nature. In addition, in 2005 we also had a CD recording which we had put together and offered it for sale with a remarkable amount of success.
During our 45 minute concert prior to the planned karaoke, our CD sales soared and the crowd was clearly extremely pleased with our performance. Later in the evening we were brought to the center again for a surprise announcement that we had won first place in the Halloween Parade in Flora, Illinois. GER McQuillan made the announcement along with Lou Salzberger and presented us with a check for $25 which we were completely unaware we had won. In fact, we didn't even know that we were in a competition in that parade. However, the award brought back very pleasant memories of the fun we had in Flora and the magnificent hospitality they displayed to us.
We have plans for another CD later in 2005, and intend that proceeds of any CD sales will be donated to the Illinois Elks Crippled Children Fund.
Illinois Elks Pipes and Drums CD
The CD contains a number of traditional Celtic tunes and a few that have been "jived up". In addition, we have two guest bands who contributed a couple of tunes from their CD's. One group is "Exorna", a local Springfield Irish Pub band whose music is traditionally best known in association with a lot of Guinness.
The other group, also from Springfield, was called "Stone Ring Circle" who have a refreshing and exciting Celtic sound.
Look for the following pipe and drum tunes on our CD:
Amazon Grace (a unique version of Amazing Grace)
Green Hills of Tyrol
Scotland the Brave
Liberton Pipe Band (spiced up a bit)
Auld Lang Syne/Waltzing Matilda
...and many more
Songs from the Illinois Elks Pipes and Drums Band are available on their myspace page.
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