Greater Scranton bagpipe band invites new students to try out instruments

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DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Local fans of bagpipe music could be in for a treat on Tuesday evenings.

There’s an open door to learn about the instruments at the Greater Scranton Black Diamonds Bagpipe School.

The Greater Scranton Black Diamonds business manager says they are always recruiting.

“Recruitment is just a constant thing for a pipe band. We are not unique in that regard. So, we are always looking for people that are interested. And as they get into it, we bring them in, we invite people to our practices. Practices are all open. You can come in, you can see what it takes, and learn about the pipes,” said Dick McLane, Greater Scranton Black Diamonds business manager.

Students can join at various ages and experience.

“We’ve had people that have come to us with complete zero experience at 50 years old. We’ve had people come to us at 12 years old, again, with zero experience, or people that have come to us with tons of experience,” said Tony Gaynor, a Black Diamonds Bagpipe School Graduate.

As mentioned, no experience required, just interest.

“I just wanted to learn them, I don’t know why, but I just like them. I just wanted to learn how. So I just started learning the chanter for the bagpipes, and I would like to join the group when I can do them,” said Leo Fitzpatrick, a student at Greater Scranton Black Diamonds Pipe Band.

But it takes time to master the instrument.

“It takes about a year of learning before you can start to play the pipes, but we will teach anybody for free. Anybody that wants to come and play, we’ll teach them,” said Jimmy Losavich, Pipe Major with the Greater Scranton Black Diamonds Pipe Band.

Members say they have all different ages involved, but are looking to get some younger musicians in their band.

“It is like any other organization, there is ebbs and flows really. We would like to get some younger people involved. We have all different ages, basically in the band,” said Bill Hetherson, treasurer of Greater Scranton Black Diamonds.

“You can do it! You can do it, and you would love it. Don’t hesitate, just do it,” said Andrea Leshock, drum sergeant at Greater Scranton Black Diamonds Pipe Band.

The school is located at Eagle Hose Company No. 1 on Eagle Lane in Dickson City. The group meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

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