ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The iconic sounds of the Albany St. Patrick’s Day parade are hard to forget. With instruments in tow, one local Irish family has been a part of making that musical magic for over 50 years.
Some call the bass drum the heartbeat of the band. That’s Christina Drew’s instrument. “My Uncle Davie got me involved in that. He didn’t ask me, he told me,” she laughed.
Her Uncle Davey Curran proudly played the pipes in the Albany parade for around 50 years and taught countless Capital Region residents how to play. “Well, you never forget where you came from; you keep going back,” Curran said.
Curran came from Tipperary, Ireland, arriving in Albany in 1965 when he was in his early 20s. “The land of opportunity, you know, expecting great things,” Curran said. “And it has been!”
Davey and his brother Sean played everywhere, from Hibernian Hall to the Limerick Club. Later in life, Davey organized his own band called the Sons and Daughters of Erin Pipe Band, bringing together a blend of veteran and youth pipers and drummers. Over the years, the band made several trips to Ireland, giving Davey the chance to perform in his home of Tipperary.
“It was all about the camaraderie with the members of the band,” Curran said. “As you get older—I don’t play the pipes now. Don’t have the wind.”
Although the Sons and Daughters of Erin disbanded since Davey stopped playing, the family band didn’t stop there. “My grandfather played the pipes, he gave them to my father [Davie’s brother], and my son plays those pipes,” Drew said.
Drew will continue the Curran legacy when playing in the New York State Corrections Band—Emerald Society—at the Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 12, at 2 p.m.