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Youngsville Marching Eagles earn two championships on trip to Ireland

Members of the Youngsville High School Marching Band pose with one of three awards they won in international competitions during their trip to Ireland.

The Youngsville Marching Eagles traveled to Ireland last week to spend a week performing and sight-seeing.

They will be returning as champions of a pair of international competitions.

The Eagles were named best overall band and were awarded best overall performance in the 48th Limerick International Band Championship held in Limerick City, and won first place in the small band division after marching in the Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Dublin.

Not bad for the “Biggest Little Town on the Map.”

“It has been an incredible and humbling experience,” said Youngsville Band Director Cindy Scheid. “To win those awards just makes it even more special for the kids.”

Youngsville’s rendition of “Shut up and Dance” by Walk the Moon captivated an Irish crowd that Scheid described as “lively”.

“It is so much fun to perform in front of an Irish crowd,” she said. “They are so fun and kind. They clap along with your song, and if they know it they will sing along.”

2018’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin drew an estimated crowd of 1.5 million people. It wasn’t the first time that many of the 29 members of the band had performed in a parade, but it was certainly the biggest crowd they had played for.

“It’s a little bit different than performing at the Fourth of July Parade in Warren,” Scheid said. “At that parade, you see everyone with their chairs lined up to watch. At this parade, you see people with step ladders so they can climb up and see what’s going on.”

The Limerick Competition took place on a snowy day in Limerick City – a rarity for Irish climate. That didn’t hinder Youngsville from defeating 20 other bands from all over the world to win the best overall band and performance titles.

“We were competing against bands from all over the place,” Scheid said. “The other American bands were from New York, Texas, Alabama, and Connecticut. There were youth bands, some adult bands, some university bands.”

The competitions were just the beginning of the trip. The Marching Eagles were also able to perform in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and will do lots of sight-seeing before they return to the United States on Thursday.

This year’s trip to Ireland was the fourth such trip for the Youngsville band. They also traveled there in 2003, 2008, and 2013. Band members in grades 6 through 12 attend the trip which is paid for by tireless fundraising efforts.

“The students, parents, and boosters did everything they could possibly do to fund this trip,” Scheid said. “We have a turkey party every year, we had penny raffles, we sold just about everything we could sell in order to do this. It has been well worth it.”

Scheid says that, “God willing”, the Marching Eagles will return to Ireland in 2023.

They will have a pair of titles to defend when they do.