Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Local youth pipe band heads to world championships

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Albany/HV: Local youth pipe band heads to world championships
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It's an unusual skill that is taking a group of young, local musicians across the world.
It seems the Capital Region has quite the bragging rights when it comes to bagpipes!
Innae Park has the story.

COLONIE, N.Y. -- For a group of youth who meet regularly in Colonie, the sound of the bagpipes is the song of their lives.

Patrick Cahill is from New Jersey. He explained, “It's something I love doing. I've always loved playing bagpipes ever since I started.”

That date was ten years ago. “They said I was too young to play, wait a couple more months, wait until i was eight years old. But then they said I already knew music, so they'd take me right then. So I joined in October of second grade and I've been doing it ever since,” said Cahill.

At least once a month, the New Jersey native makes his way to the capital region to take part in the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band, the only competing Juvenile Pipe Band in the northeast United States.

Stacia Burns, who is in her last year of being a part of the Pipe Band, said, “This is definitely part of me, and part of my life.”

This shared passion is now taking the band to the other side of the world. In a few weeks, the upper level band, which is considered Grade 4, will be in Scotland for three contests, including the World Pipe Band Championships.

“This was a year we had a very strong band, and that's why we're going,” said Gabriel Holodak, who has been playing bagpipes for over seven years. “You will never find a band where everyone is the same level. There will always be weaker ones and stronger ones. But that's okay.. unity is a bit more important than overall skill level.”

Their talent and determination is actually ushering in a new generation.

Stacia’s younger brother Ethan, who is a drummer, said, “First my grandfather played and then my cousin played and then my sister played and then my other sister started to play and then I played!”

However, it has been a challenge for some of the younger members, especially the instruments. Some of the younger children described the equipment as heavy, and the training not easy.

Corrin Fish, a member of the younger Grade 5 band, explained, “Everytime you get all these going, that makes the reed harder, and then it just like, forms in together.”

Nonetheless, these youngsters’ sights are set.

Corrin’s goal? “Be a professional bagpiper or something like that.”

Ethan said, “I think I want to keep going.” When asked how long, he replied, “Until I die,” with a grin.

So the future of bagpipes is bold and bright for the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band.

The band leaves for Scotland August 1.

In the two years they've gone overseas, in 2007 and 2009, they placed in third.

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