Practice hopefully makes perfect for band
This weekend marks the first time that a South Canterbury juvenile pipe band plays in a national championship.
The South Canterbury Youth Pipe Band will compete against nine other bands in its category, performing a selection of march music at the New Zealand and South Pacific pipe band championships in Timaru.
In his first year as pipe major, Gowan McLeod, 18, is leading the band. He said his first national championship was in 2005 so he was not too nervous.
"I'm looking forward to playing and getting up there."
The youngest band member is Temuka Primary School student Thomas Pelvin, 10, who has been drumming for one year. He said he took up the half drum because it was something he wanted to do. He practises every day and was feeling nervous about the weekend with thousands of people expected at Alpine Energy Stadium. His mum, Erin, and dad, Craig, will be among them.
"It's given him a new lease of life," Mrs Pelvin said.
Band co-ordinator Mike Shannon is impressed with the youngsters' enthusiasm and commitment.
The band was formed two years ago with the championships in sight. Ages range from 10 to 18 among the 20-plus members. They practice weekly plus each musician is tutored individually.
Mr Shannon believes they are well prepared to perform.
"They are absolutely ready. There will be a lot of proud parents."
About 12 pipers and eight drummers will compete in two march music events as well as perform with the Massed Bands which will see more than 50 bands play together.
Mr Shannon expects the young band to finish in the top six although he concedes there are some other good juvenile groups competing. He said regardless of where it came the youth band was considered a stepping stone to developing the band members' musicianship.
"It's good for them and great for the district."
The Timaru Herald