Vive Le Canada

U.S. senator rescues Edmonton police band pipes from customs
Date: Saturday, March 24 2007

March 23, 2007

U.S. senator rescues Edmonton police band pipes from customs


BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - It took a U.S. senator and the Montana Highway Patrol to ensure the pipes, the pipes were calling during Butte's St. Patrick's Day celebration this year.

The Pipe and Drum Band of the Edmonton Police Service was forced to leave behind two sets of bagpipes at the Sweetgrass border checkpoint because the instruments are made in part from elephant ivory.

That was a problem since one set belongs to James McKee, who is the band's pipe major and acts as the conductor.

"The band can't play without that one person giving the cues and the leads," said Jana Richards of the Friends of the Pipers, a Butte non-profit group that raises money to pay for the volunteer pipers' meals, lodging and transportation to Butte.

The band spent nearly three hours March 15 trying to cut through red tape at the border, north of Great Falls, before opting to leave the bagpipes behind with Canadian customs.

"They didn't want to let us down in Butte, so they left the pipes at the border," Richards said.

She contacted U.S. Senator Max Baucus and asked for help bringing the bagpipes to Butte before the St. Patrick's Day parade March 17.

Baucus's office contacted the highway patrol and a trooper went to the border for the pipes, which were taken to Great Falls. Employees from Baucus's Helena office picked up the instruments and took them to Butte by 6:30 p.m. March 16.

"Max wasn't about to let a little international red tape get in the way of St. Patrick's Day in Butte," said Baucus spokesman, Barrett Kaiser.

[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on March 26, 2007]

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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