Liam and Kara McCrindle

At right, Liam McCrindle, 13, and his 11-year-old sister, Kara, play in the Caledonia Kilty Pipe Band in Mishawaka, Ind. Liam plays the bagpipe and Kara plays the Scottish tenor drum.

GOSHEN, Ind. — Liam McCrindle enjoys many of the same activities as his friends, playing football and basketball as well as fishing and exploring in the outdoors.

But according to the Goshen (Ind.) News, the 13-year-old Indiana boy has another, more unique hobby: He’s one of 18 members of the Caledonia Kitty Pipe Band, a group of bagpipers who march in parades and perform at weddings and funerals.

McCrindle first took lessons on the instrument three years ago, and his enthusiasm for the instrument grew from there.

“It’s a lot of fun and something I wanted to play,” the 13-year-old said, smiling. “I thought it would be cool to play because I have ancestry from Scotland. A family friend plays in the band and he helped me. I was able to get free lessons.”

Liam’s younger sister, Kara, also plays in the band after taking up playing a Scottish tenor drum.

“I find it a lot of fun,” Kara said with a grin. “If you have the beat, it’s easy.”

Liam, a seventh grader at Clinton Christian School in Goshen, started on the bagpipes by playing only the chanter — the small, clarinet-like part of the bagpipes with finger holes on which a melody is created — before moving on to the drones, which produce the harmonizing notes. His current bagpipe includes a chanter, the bladder-shaped bag and tenor and bass drones.

Liam says varying temperatures can help or hinder keeping a bagpipe in tune during a performance. But overall, he said, the hobby has been a gratifying one, and it’s not without hard work.

“My first parade was the Grand Floral Parade (in St. Joseph, Mich.),” he said. “It was a long parade. I had trouble blowing hard enough and not running out of air by the end.

“It’s rewarding to play for other people as a way to bless their lives,” he added.

The Goshen (Ind.) News contributed to this story.

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