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Scotia-Glenville band pipes up

Ryker Bodo, 14, of Guilderland, was in elementary school when the bagpipes caught his interest. When a flyer about the pipe band went around, he thought, "Why not give it a try?" he said.

He's been in the band ever since and calls the bagpipes "a really great hobby."

"It's something that makes me different from everyone else," he said.

Like Bodo, Misha Murdoch was exposed to the bagpipes at a young age.

"When I was a baby, my parents used to take me to the Scottish Games all the time," he said.

He was intrigued by the drums, but eventually decided to try the bagpipes because of their complexity.

"I like it. It's a challenge," said Murdoch, 9, who travels from Amsterdam to practice with the band.

Considering the band's geographic reach, Connor said it's not possible for all of the musicians to attend the weekly practices. So the band also holds a weekend practice once a month. Despite the recent snow, students gathered Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Celtic Hall on New Karner Road in Colonie to get ready for the concert. Parents lined the tables inside the hall, watching and laughing as Connor directed the group with an easy rapport. When a student was talking while she was, Connor warned with a smile, "I'm watching you, buddy."

Just as Connor was drawn to this area because of its pipe bands, Andrew Douglas brought his love of bagpipes here after college. A member of the Oran Mor Pipe Band, Douglas inherited his love of the instrument from his father and shares it as a bagpipe instructor with the Scotia-Glenville band.

"It's just good to see youth get involved," he said.

Connor is excited by not just the quantity of students involved, but the quality. In 2007, the band took part in the World Pipeband Championships, placing third in the novice juvenile division. The band traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, for the 2009 competition, again earning third, but this time in the more advanced juvenile category.

For information, visit www.sgpipeband.com.""

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