In Scotland's history, children often learned either traditional dance or how to play the bagpipes or drums.
Although not all of them are of Scottish descent, some Denver-area youths are providing an opportunity for people to soak up some …
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WHAT: Colorado Youth Pipe Band’s fundraising ceilidh
WHEN: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 17
WHERE: Jefferson Unitarian Church, 14350 W. 32nd Ave. in Golden
COST: Adults $15, kids 5-12 $5, kids 4 and under free
DETAILS: A ceilidh, pronounced KAY-lee, is a Scottish party involving music and dancing. The Colorado Youth Pipe Band’s fundraising ceilidh will feature live performances by the Colorado Youth Pipe Band and Highland Dancers; Skean Dubh, a Celtic/acoustic band; Queen City, Colorado’s premier pipe band; the Scottish Fiddlers; and more. Portions of the proceeds from food and beer sales from The Pasty Republic and Boulder Beer at the ceilidh will benefit the Colorado Youth Pipe Band.
INFO: www.cypb.net for tickets.
Although not all of them are of Scottish descent, some Denver-area youths are providing an opportunity for people to soak up some Scottish culture.
The Colorado Youth Pipe Band will entertain folks with an annual fundraising "ceilidh" in Golden on Oct. 17. A ceilidh — pronounced KAY-lee — is a Scottish party that involves music and dance, explained Jacob Shelton, 15, a bagpiper from Golden.
“This is the one time of the year that we get to learn non-competitive tunes,” said Meredith Wirth, 16, a bagpiper who lives in Wheat Ridge.
And 11-year-old MacKenzie Jones, a highlands dancer from Broomfield, added that “the ceilidh is a fun time just to dance” for an audience.
The Colorado Youth Pipe Band is the only pipe band in the state dedicated to teaching the traditional bagpiping, drumming and dance to youths. The pipe band has about 40 youths, including instrumentalists and dancers. Although the youths hold performances, such as the annual ceilidh, much of what the pipe band does is compete.
The ceilidh “brings the entertainment factor,” Shelton said.
Bagpiping is very competitive, said Jamie Cuthill, the youth band's director, and some students get very competitive with it.
“Those students will get pushed,” he said, “but we try to make sure all the kids have as much fun as possible — while still learning.”
The main goal, he said, is that the pipe band be “well-rounded” for all the youth.
Children as young as 6 or 7 years may join. But once they graduate from high school, they must leave the group — the Colorado Youth Pipe Band is open only to children and teens.
But almost 100 percent continue developing their talent, said Evan Schreiber, 18, who played with the band for about five years and is now a drum instructor for the youth. Others go on to join local bands or performance groups, he added.
Each of the student's successes can be attributed to being a group effort, said Lisa Gezelter, who lives in unincorporated Arapahoe County and has two children in pipe band.
“They succeed together,” she said. “They enjoy learning music and playing together. It's really rewarding to see them.”
Pipe band does have a lot to do with camaraderie. Being part of the group provides motivation, but it also generates friendly competition, said Alex Sandridge, 17, of Arvada.
“The youth will always have friends going through pipe band,” said Cuthill. “It forms lifelong connections.”
Lead drumming instructor Darren Marshall teaches because he wants to see the art form flourish. Bagpipes and drums are unique, he said.
“It becomes fun for them when they learn their instrument well, in this style,” Marshall said. “The sky's the limit for them.”
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