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Pipe band members defy stereotypes

The band will be playing Friday, March 6, at Scotia-Glenville High School as a kick-off concert to show the community what they will be bringing to the competition and promote the group's first CD. Sales from the CD will help fund the band, which is not part of the district's music curriculum or music department. In addition to CD sales, the band relies solely on private funding and some state grants.

The band will also play at the upcoming Irish America Festival in Herkimer, as well as parades through the spring and summer seasons.

Band member and Schalmont student Hayden LaBelle, 15, said he joined the group two years ago in the beginner class before working up to the Grade III Band.

"The Scotia Glenville Pipe Band is great in that everyone is so nice to one another," said LaBelle. "We have formed a great bond that we will hold for many years after we have moved on from this band. The band did great last year, and I think we are going to have another good year."

Labelle said the main goal is to focus on perfecting the music for competitions this summer and, ultimately, the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow in August.

"All of us are working our hardest to achieve this goal. The thing I cherish the most about this band is being a drummer, picking up my drum sticks every Wednesday night and working with some really great guys that have turned out to be my best friends," said LaBelle.

In Scotland, the band will compete against juvenile bands from around the world, a rarity on this side of the Atlantic. In the United States, there are few juvenile bands whose members can only be 18 years old or younger.

For information contact Maureen O'Connor at 374-6034 or by e-mail at meO'Connor@earthlink.net.""

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