Bideford band bang drum in Big Apple

Joseph Bulmer

BIDEFORD Youth Pipe Band members have been piping their way down 6th Avenue in New York and banging the drum for Bideford in the Big Apple and in twin town Manteo in North Carolina.

In the trip of a lifetime 17 young band members and eight adults returned last week from 12 days making music and sightseeing in the United States.

Highlight of their trip was the Tartan Day Parade in New York, which saw pipe bands and clan members gathering from across America and from overseas in a spectacular celebration amid the skyscrapers.

“With the towering buildings around us, the sensation was almost as if we were marching in the Grand Canyon,” said band secretary Mike Harper.

“With thousands of people watching the parade, it was one of our biggest occasions. To play in the middle of Manhattan was amazing. People were so pleased to see us and we were pleased to be involved.”

The band came home with a special award, for the band travelling the furthest to join the parade.

After New York the band went to engagements in Bideford’s twin town of Manteo.

They turned heads as they marched into the town to meet up with and play for the Mayor, Jamie Daniels outside the old courthouse and later fulfilled another official engagement at the Roanoke Island Festival Park heritage centre.

The band members also made new friends at the local high school and played them out of school at the end of the day before being invited to a real High School musical as the American youngsters performed Hairspray.

During their visit the band presented two quaichs –ceremonial friendship cups – to Manteo town manager Kermit Skinner and his wife Cookie and to the Friends of Elizabeth 11 housing facility, which gave the band free boarding.

The band had been fundraising for the �28,000 trip for more than two years and were grateful for help from Bideford Town Council, Bideford Bridge Trust and Bideford Rotary Club.