Nine-year-old Cameron Ickert is hoping his lungs will grown soon so he can pump more air into his bagpipes - but his relative size didn't stop him from travelling to Scotland to take part in the World Pipe Band Championships.
After taking third place in the novice-juvenile category at the North Berwick Highland Games near Edinburgh with the Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 4 band, Cameron and his band mates are preparing for Saturday's worlds.
Cameron 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 Cameron 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," said the Maple Ridge youth, after facing the rigor of Scottish judges.
The Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) bands arrived in Scotland on Aug. 2 and participated in the North Berwick Highland Games on Aug 4.
Young Cameron, looking proud and serious, helped lead his crew to an impressive third-place finish. It was the 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.
All of the bands will spend the week practising before the worlds on Saturday, Aug. 11 in Stirling, about an hour from Glasgow.
The RMM band is named after two members of the SFU Pipe Band, Robert Barbulak and Malcolm Bokenfohr, who were killed in a car accident in 1993. It was formed to continue developing talented and dedicated players in the spirit of the two young men.
The SFU Pipe Band will be also be participating in the world championships.
In total there are more than 60 young musicians from the Grade 3 and 4 junior RMM band competing at the worlds along with the 44-member Grade 1 band.
In all, with relatives in tow, the SFU contingent in Scotland tallies around 250.
At John Forty's Court student residence in Stirling, where the Grade 4s are staying along with the other SFU bands this week, Cameron has been unwinding by playing cricket in the courtyard.
At home, Cameron practises daily and his friends think his piping is cool.
"It's a lot of work," he conceded, "but once my lungs get bigger that will help."
SFU Pipe Sgt. Jack Lee called Cameron an up-and-coming talent.
"He's a great young player, very promising," said Lee, who is also the pipe major of RMM's Grade 4 band. "He's a strong piper and he's very motivated to play. He has a bright future ahead."
Cameron - 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, which will see RMM's Grades 3 and 4 bands and SFU's elite Grade 1 band, eyeing its seventh championship, compete.
"I'll play my best. It's just cool to be here," Cameron said.
He is also looking forward to turning 10 years old two days after the worlds.
Along with the two young musicians, Grade 4 piper Russell Pengelly is also from Maple Ridge, as is piper Kevin McLean, of the senior band, who's hoping the Grade 1 band can claim its seventh championship.
"All of our bands are working hard this year and aiming high for wins at the worlds," Lee said.
"We (Grade 1) finished second last year and we would love to do a little better than that this year.
"The competition is extremely tough but we are right in the thick of the action," he added.
"The Irish and Scottish bands are very, very strong. We are on a roll, having celebrated our 30th anniversary with a concert and new CD live from New York's Lincoln Center. We hope to carry that momentum with us to Scotland."