Young people help pipe dreams come true

Published Thursday, 12 December 2013
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Marching bands may have earned themselves a negative reputation of late, however, one group is working to rectify that image and is encouraging schools to offer pupils piping and drumming classes.

Fixers, an organisation that gives young people a voice in the community, has organised a project highlighting the benefits pipe bands can bring and how schools can incorporate them into lessons.

Ross Hume, from Antrim, has been playing the bagpipes since the age of 10.

The 20-year-old said: "Pipe bands are almost a lifestyle with having to practice all the time and preparing for competitions.

"I guess there is a bit of a stigma, but religion and politics really isn't an issue and everyone just enjoys the music."

Tineke Westerhuis, from Kells, was influenced by her grandfather to take up the pipes.

She said: "I was 11 when I started on the Bagpipes and it is a big part of my life, it's something I do all the time.

"My granddad used to play the pipes, he used to play all sort of instruments, but he always tried to get me to play the bagpipes.

"I wouldn't have any of it but then after he died, I thought, you know what, he was really passionate about it and it was something he wanted me to do, so I'll give it a go.

"At first people teased me a bit because they said bagpipes were for big Scottish men.

"But when they heard me play in assemblies and at remembrance services, with the whole school standing watching, they realised that it's actually a brilliant thing to do.

It doesn't matter where you're from or what your religious background is, it's all about coming together for the music.

Tineke Westerhuis

"And it's really nice to come home and say to your granny or your mummy, oh look at the tune I can play.

"Our Fixer's project is about showing people what pipe bands are all about and trying to incorporate it into schools."

Fixers has helped Tineke and Ross create a DVD to help promote the benefits of marching bands to the likes of the Department of Education and the Education and Library Boards.

Grace Anderson from Slemish College which runs classes said: "There has been such a great interest in piping and drumming in the school.

"We have about eight students who do snare drumming and another 10 who learn the bagpipes.

"It isn't something that's offered as part of our regular music tuition but it is something we'd love to see introduced as part of our music curriculum."

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Paul Crisken from the North Eastern Education and Library Board added: "I'm very impressed that these young people have taken it upon themselves to promote this, which is not covered generally by the education and library boards so they are to be admired for it, and I hope that this lands on my desk and I can do something about it."
© UTV News
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3 Comments
LamhDeargEirin in London wrote (126 days ago):
Always very Impressed when I see Pipe Bands. Marching bands encourage discipline responsibility patience and industry in the same way as sport this is very useful for children and young adults to improve socialise and build esteem It would be good to see the marching band culture in Northern Ireland become a positive shared and healthy culture rather than the religious fundamentalist sectarian culture that exists at the moment
D in belfast wrote (126 days ago):
sorry..but ban all parades in this country. .
Honest in North Belfast wrote (127 days ago):
Oh my god..... The last thing this country needs is to start promoting bands! Seriously come on. Dont get me wrong, in a country with 100% "normal" people this would be ok maybe even good however n.ireland, clearly not.
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