Youngest piper ready for fame
Cameron Ickert hails from a Scottish family and his grandfather’s cousin was a famous piper. If the nine-year-old has any say in the matter, he’s next.
And while there aren’t too many words that Ickert uses to describe his early experience in Scotland this past week, as the youngest member of Simon Fraser University’s junior Robert Malcolm Memorial Band, it’s clear why he is here.
“I want to be a famous piper,” contends the Maple Ridge youth, who has already faced the rigor of Scottish judges as his band – RMM Grade 4 – competed in the novice-juvenile category at the North Berwick Highland Games on the weekend.
The young Ickert, looking proud and serious, helped lead his crew to an impressive third place finish. It was the young band’s first ever performance in Scotland and they were pitted against bands with players much older than their average age of 11.
He was only “a little nervous” but the butterflies dissipated once they began to play. And back at John Forty’s Court student residence in Stirling, where the bands are staying this week, he unwinds by playing cricket in the courtyard.
At home Ickert practices daily and his friends think his piping is cool. “It’s a lot of work,” he concedes, “but once my lungs get bigger that will help.”
SFU Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee calls Ickert an up-and-coming talent. “He’s a great young player, very promising,” says Lee, who is also the pipe major of RMM’s Gr. 4 band.
“He’s a strong piper and he’s very motivated to play. He has a bright future ahead.”
Ickert – whose sister Sarah is a drummer with the band – isn’t worried about winning at the big contest later this week – the World Pipe Band Championships on Aug. 11 in Glasgow, which will see RMM’s Gr.3 and 4 bands and SFU’s elite Gr. 1 band, eyeing its seventh championship, compete. “I’ll play my best. It’s just cool to be here.”
Ickert is also looking forward to turning 10 years old two days after the Worlds.
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