It is not often that Manhattan College gets to perform in the spotlight, let alone on national television. But that was the case this past Friday, Mar. 17, as the MC Pipes and Drums ensemble celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day on NBC’s “The Today Show”.
The Pipes and Drums band consists of students, alumni and sometimes family members who are skilled on the bagpipes or drums, performing traditional Irish songs while marching in formation. It is quite often that the band can be heard practicing on campus Thursday nights.
New students are recruited every other year to get them ready for marching by the first weekend of March, leading up to performances like this.
A bit after dawn on Friday morning, the band begins to tune their instrument in preparation for their appearance on “The Today Show”, the popular morning news show from NBC. Although it was still spring break, the weather was anything but.
“The crew was a bit rushed, as in any live television film production. Tuning took a little whole because of the weather/[temperatures], so I think we made production nervous we wouldn’t be ready in time for the performance,” said senior member Patrick Roniger.
Roniger, who missed the opportunity to go on the show two years prior with the band, said it was “certainly a once in a lifetime experience” this time around.
The band finished up their set and immediately joined the queue for New York City’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The ensemble is a staple to the parade, as they march in front of MC’s Gaelic Society. The society has been at the school since 1938.
The festive holiday is an important one to MC history as many alumni and current students celebrate their Irish heritage with the parade, the music and food like at the Gaelic Society’s annual Irish Night. The band typically performs at Irish Night as well.
Pipes and Drums band is one performance group on campus that is not only highly recognizable, but a tradition for many years, with many more years to come.
“The band is very important to the college because we offer a distinct, traditional culture that is not attained in other extracurricular activities. We are a very tight knit group, similar to that of any other MC athletic team,” said Roniger.