FREEPORT — The Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps will answer London’s call with a march and a beat.

The Corps plays at memorial services, parades, and pubs throughout the state, but for the first time since its formation in 2004, 14 members will fly overseas to perform next March in London’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade alongside the Police Emerald Society of Great Britain and Flanders Memorial Pipe Band.

The history of the Corps dates back to 9/11. On the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks, local pipers and drummers volunteered to perform at a memorial service in Westbrook. Afterward, they realized that Maine lacked a traditional Scottish pipe and drum band to play at the funerals of fallen safety personnel.

The Corps held its first official meeting two years later and, in 2005, gained nonprofit status.

Members now routinely donate to the Wounded Heroes Project of Maine and fund a $500 scholarship to youth pursuing a career in public safety each year.

Each Tuesday, they travel from as far south as Wells and as far north as Waterville to practice in Freeport. Most are retired or active public safety personnel, while some civilian members simply support the Corps’ mission: “To honor all our public safety personnel both locally and nationally by providing Scottish music for funerals and memorials without any cost.”

Drummer Robert LaPlante said he was drawn to the group by this mission. He works in the state Probation and Parole office in Lewiston.

“The idea of honoring our veterans in public safety is really attractive to me,” LaPlante said. “This is the least that I could do for them, when they’ve done so much for us.”

LaPlante’s family lineage has been traced back to the Hamilton family – who’ve played a prominent role in Scottish history since the 14th century – but this will be his first trip overseas.

Drum sergeant and Corps president Marc Arnold, however, lived just outside of London as a child, while his father was stationed with the Air Force. He joined the band about 10 years ago, after his 2004 retirement as a Brunswick police lieutenant.

“After I retired from the (police department) I was looking for something to do,” Arnold said. “… It’s very important for me to be part of this band, being someone who was in law enforcement. The group is more like a family than anything else.”

The Corps is in the process of fundraising to alleviate the estimated $1,000 cost per band member for the London trip.

Their next fundraiser will be on Nov. 4 at Bull Feeney’s Pub in Portland. In the meantime, the band is selling limited-edition commemorative T-shirts and challenge coins to mark the 2018 London tour and is accepting donations to make the trip possible.