Young keep the pipes alive (+video)

By Kyra Dawson

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Jaime Tabuteau (left back), 10, and Melissa Bentley, 11, are off to Canada to play their pipes thanks to a scholarship. Photo / Stephen Parker
Jaime Tabuteau (left back), 10, and Melissa Bentley, 11, are off to Canada to play their pipes thanks to a scholarship. Photo / Stephen Parker

The 57th annual North Island Highland Pipe Band competition will be held in Rotorua later this month, with a local club president saying it's the young players that keep the bands alive.

Rotorua Highland Pipe Band president Graham Parkinson is excited about the event.

"For me, I find it exciting seeing all the young kids getting involved. If it wasn't for the young people Rotorua's band would be struggling a lot," Mr Parkinson said.

Video

Two of the band's up and coming stars are Melissa Bentley, 11, and Jaime Tabuteau, 10, who are heading to Canada for the biggest bagpipe and drum camp in the world this June.

While they aren't at competition level yet they will be at the North Island champs to cheer on their band and help out where they can.

The girls went to the New Zealand highland pipe and drum summer camp where they earned scholarships for the Canadian summer camp.

Melissa has been playing the bagpipes for four years and started because her older sister played and once she gave it a go she enjoyed it.

She is excited to be going to Canada, especially as she got to go with Jamie.

"We do as much as we can together, we play our songs to each other and practise together. It's going to be my first time overseas and I'm really excited to be back at another summer camp," Melissa said.

Jaime has been playing for the past three years and she said her older sister had influenced her into playing as well.

"I thought it was really fun so I started to join in," Jaime said.

Both girls hope to further their musical studies when they go to high school and hope to one day be in the New Zealand Youth Band, but neither sees their pipes as a career starter.

"It's more just a fun hobby," Melissa said.

The girls' mums, Alison Bentley and Karen Tabuteau, said they were proud of their girls and hoped to help them out through fundraising.

"The scholarships pay for their first week at camp, but we have to pay for their flights and the second week so we are selling firewood and the girls will be busking," Mrs Bentley said.

The mums will travel to Canada with their daughters.

"The girls are the youngest everywhere they have gone, they are so enthusiastic about it. They jump into everything and ask a million questions," Mrs Tabuteau said.

The North Island Highland Pipe Band competition starts at 10.30am on February 27 with a march down Memorial Dr towards the Village Green where the competition will begin at 11.50am.

- If you would like to buy firewood to help the girls get to Canada call Alison Bentley on (029) 200 7699.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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