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First place for Second City

Barry McNamara
08/11/2010
PHOTO CAPTION: City of Chicago Pipe Band members with connections to Monmouth College include David Danaher, Kaylin Smith, Ben Peterson, Jon Quinn, Michael Forkan, Victor Reyna II, Tom Hinrichsen and Owen Sehon.
The City of Chicago Pipe Band, featuring several current Monmouth College students and three alumni, was crowned the winner of Premier Grade II at the North American Pipe Band Championships, held earlier this month in Maxville, Ontario.

“This is a huge pipe band honor, considering the level in which we competed, not to mention the amount of talent in North America,” said band member Victor Reyna II, a senior from Houston, Texas.

The 35-member band also includes seniors Tom Hinrichsen of Cottage Grove, Minn., and Ben Peterson of Afton, Minn., junior Jon Quinn of Tinley Park and sophomore Kaylin Smith of Bolingbrook. Alumni in the band include May graduate Owen Sehon of St. Paul, Minn., David Danaher ’06 of Palos Heights and Michael Forkan ’00 of Homer Glen.

“The City of Chicago Pipe Band has something good over here in Monmouth,” said Reyna. “Our Monmouth band seems to be a feeder band for the COC.”

Reyna explained that the City of Chicago Pipe Band “basically started off in a basement with a few pipers with high aspirations of becoming a successful pipe band. The problem is that you need good, solid players.”

Eventually, he said, talented musicians from the surrounding Chicago area and beyond found their way to the band. After years of steady progress, the band has started to reach its high aspirations.

“This summer was a very successful one for the band,” said Reyna. “In May, we took all firsts at the U.S. Championship in Michigan. Then we took all firsts at the Canadian Open in Ontario.”

At the North American Championships, it was easy to see why the band claimed its overall grade championship, as it placed first in piping, ensemble and drumming.

The next challenge, said Reyna, is to compete at a higher level.

“We will be making our first Grade I performance in a major competition in Las Vegas next year,” he said.