Those who live near the Slingerlands Fire Department in Bethlehem might be wondering why they've been hearing the sounds of bagpipes coming from the station between 9 a.m. and noon for the past two weeks. They might just be witnessing or hearing history in the making as the Scotia Glenville Pipe Band, made up of youths ages 8-18, prepares to compete in the Piping Live! Glasgow International piping Festival and The World Pipe Band Championships on Aug. 10 to 16.
Members don't just hail from the Capital District " one comes from as far as Texas, with others traveling from Vermont and Massachusetts.
"I went to a bag piping school in Castelton, Vt., and the Scotia Glenville Pipe Band was doing a band week at that school," said Jonathan Brouillet, 17, of Houston, Texas. "I talked to some people and got involved. When I first got into it I didn't even know what bagpipes were."
He said that he practices in a soundproof room at home so that "the neighbors don't call the cops."
Participating in the pipe band also includes a great amount of commitment from family members. Brouillet has been staying in Massachusetts with his grandparents and mother for the past two weeks. He and his mother will spend the next two weeks in Scotland.
Hayden LaBelle, 15, of Duanesburg and a sophomore at Schalmont High School is in his second year of competing and playing with the band. This is his third year playing the snare drum.
"My dad takes lessons from the director, Maureen, and that sparked my interest," said LaBelle. "It's fun but it takes a lot of out me."
LaBelle will also play drums for the first time with Schalmont High School's marching band this year.
He said the other best part of being involved with the Scotia Glenville Pipe Band are the friends he has made, who he intends to keep even after he's graduated from the band. (Members can only stay until they're 18.)