Nightly News   |  March 15, 2013

Breezy Point bagpipers rally for Saint Patrick’s Day

After Hurricane Sandy devastated the Breezy Point community in Queens, the neighborhood bagpipe band lost nearly everything. But they’ve found a way to recover – just in time for the big parade. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, finally st. patrick 's day weekend is here. the biggest parade in the country is tomorrow along 5th avenue in manhattan. among the marchers will be a band from the heavily irish- american section of the rockaways called breezy point. a part of coastal new york city tafs denv that was devastated during hurricane sandy. they lost their equipment, practice space and homes in a lot of cases. they are going to prove this weekend they haven't lost a step. our report from nbc's stephanie gosk.

>> reporter: march is the month for irish pipe bands . in the build-up to st. patrick 's day there is a parade every weekend. the pipers from breezy point, queens, just barely got the band together in time. after the big storm the crowds are very happy to see them.

>> we lost a lot of equipment. you know, a lot of the drummers lost drums. we lost the flags.

>> reporter: $20,000 of damage. drums, pipes and kilts had to be custom made by a company in northern ireland . the practice hall was destroyed. the storm, and then the fire. this neighborhood bore the brunt of what sandy dished out. terry williams is the band leader . his father's construction company built a lot of these houses.

>> the physical devastation is something that we are all dealing with. but i think the mental anguish of all of this has been the hard part.

>> reporter: all the members of the band live in breezy point or at least they used to, until the storm hit. most of the community is now uniun un uninhabitable. one of the drummers has a house on this block. even amid the destruction of homes and lives, williams made the band a priority.

>> e we are taking the band to try to use it as a focal point to build morale to keep people's spirits high. music is a great way to do that sometimes.

>> reporter: they found a hall in brooklyn where they could practice and the band came out to play.

>> i think it makes everybody feel a little bit better. everybody's happy today. [ cheers and applause ]

>> reporter: on saturday they will march in the st. patrick 's day parade.

>> we're going to march with pride. we want the world to see that the breezy point community is still holding strong.

>> reporter: new york city 's fighting irish . stephanie gosk, nbc news, breezy point, queens.