The only youth bagpipe band from the US at World Championships hopes to gain Top Scot Spot
The Northwest Junior Pipe Band won the 2008 Washington State Pipe Band Championships July 13th. The young band is a non-profit organization teaching youth bagpipes and Scottish drumming in the Seattle, Washington area since 1995. Band members worked with renewed purpose this season, meeting three days a week on top of often grueling individual practice schedules as they prepare to take a shot at the largest bagpipe band competition in the world. They are the only youth bagpipe band from the United States to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2008.
Not short on historic achievements this year, the band will be the first youth pipe band from Washington State to ever go to the World Championships, and the kids have made this year the best season in the history of the band. Bagpipe band competitions in the Northwest are sorted by ability rather than age. The young band competes against several adult pipe bands as well as two youth bands in the Northwest region. Four first place finishes and one second this season give them some confidence as they prepare for the qualifying heat at the World Championships August 16th. Thirty-three youth bands will compete at the Championships with Northwest Junior Pipe Band the only US representative in either novice-juvenile or juvenile grades.
The bagpipe is one of the most physically demanding instruments, yet the band has several youth with such commitment that they’ve proceeded from beginner to competing with the band on the full Great Highland Bagpipe in 6 months; a feat which can take as long as two years normally.
"Music’s always been a huge part of my life. I love the people and the instructors and love being a part of something," the band’s 17 year old bass drummer Brandon said in a radio interview. "I’ve built everything in my life around what I’m doing here … it’s like a big family."
"This is an epic event drawing hundreds of bands from around the world yearly. We were surprised to learn we’re the only youth pipe band from the US this year. It’s a little overwhelming, especially in a year when the Olympics are happening simultaneously. This is the biggest event in the world for competitive bagpipe bands. I believe our members will be great representatives of American youth while we’re there, and regardless of the outcome, they’ll make a lot of people proud" said President Todd Schiele, a volunteer with the non-profit organization since 2005.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our talented musicians to join in the worldwide community of pipers and drummers." Todd continued. "The top pipers and drummers in the world do this because they’re passionate about it, and they love to share that passion with youth."