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Peekskill's Joe Brady Plays Bagpipes In New York's St. Patrick's Parade

Joe Brady marching in Peekskill's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Joe Brady marching in Peekskill's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bill Powers

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. --  Peekskill resident Joe Brady will be at the front of the line Tuesday during New York's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Brady is the first and lead bagpiper for the parade, performing with the Fighting 69th Regiment. Brady has been recognized as one of the top bagpipers in the world.

"I'm looking forward to it," Brady, who has been marching in the parade for 50 years said. "We're the symbolic protectors of the parade. It's awesome, it's such a cool place to be."

The beginning of the parade with everyone cheering always gives Brady goosebumps.

"There are a lot of good people at the parade," Brady said. "They are not the ones that make headlines."

Brady's grandparents emigrated from Ireland and his grandfather became a successful laborer.

"They opened many doors," Brady, whose daughters perform Irish stepdancing, said. "The Irish traditions are great. It makes me so proud."

The bagpipes are a Brady family tradition with Brady's father teaching him how to play when he was seven.

"The bagpipe is fabulous instrument," Brady said. "It's an emotional instrument. It can bring tears at a funeral or a feeling of joy. It's a loud instrument, it makes you want to march."

Brady said he will be playing the Irish standard "Garryowen" during the parade. Brady has lived in Peekskill since 1980 and was one of the founding members of Peekskill's St. Patrick's Day Parade which was held Saturday.

"That's my home parade," Brady, who marched in the parade on Saturday, said. "It's something to be proud of. The Peekskill parade is a more personal parade."

Brady said he is impressed that the parade in New York City has been running for 253 years. He said he enjoys having corned beef and cabbage with a helping of Irish soda bread.

"I eat enough of it that I can wait a full year to have it again," Brady said. "I think St. Patrick's Day is a great day. It's hard to believe it's not a national holiday."

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