Author Archive


do it anyways…

A while back the always lovely, and ever vulgar Ashley Ambirge from The Middle Finger Project wrote this:  “Being prepared and being ready are two different things. F*** the first. Run with the second. Preparedness comes w/ experience – never before.” – Ashley Ambirge

It got quite a few re-tweets and agreements, and while we think Ashley is awesome, we completely disagree. Sorry Ash.

Being prepared and being ready are two different things. You can be prepared as all get out, but, if you’re doing things that matter, things that push your limits, things that are seemingly impossible, it doesn’t matter what you ever do. You’ll never be ready.  That’s why so many people don’t end up doing great things. They’re not ready…and they let that stop them.

Not being ready, isn’t a problem. It means you’re human. No one is ever ready to do something impossible. It’s way too scary, way too difficult and way too far out of your comfort zone to be “ready for”.

You can prepare as much as you want, but you will never, ever be ready to do anything that is significantly difficult enough to be worth your time and dedication to doing.

If you’re doing it right, you should never be doing something you’re “ready” to do. Sure, you might do your homework, maybe do some research and have an idea of what you’re getting into, but you’ll never be ready.

Because you’ll run into situations you’ve never, ever could have imagined. You’ll realize:

  • Your homework is just scratching the surface.
  • Your research isn’t relevant.
  • You have no idea what you got yourself into.

It doesn’t matter.  None of it matters.  We’ll never be ready if we keep waiting for the perfect time to come – Mat Kearney

You’ll never be ready, if you keep waiting for the perfect time to come. Because it won’t. Ever. Never. Never ever ever. Never ever ever ever. You’ll keep waiting and waiting and waiting until you die, when all you really need to do is start. Just start.

When you’re ready to jump off a bridge, at a certain point, you’re prepared as much as you can. You’ve got your harness on, you’ve checked & double checked your connections, and all you have to do is jump and figure out things on the way down.

Things will go wrong.  You’ll jump out of a plane, think you’re strapped into your tandem instructor perfectly find andyour goggles will fly off your face and you’ll look like an idiot. But don’t let that stop you from jumping.

You won’t be ready. You’ll never be ready. Something will go wrong. Do it anyways. Prepare. Jump. React.  Figure it out on the way down because you’ll never be ready at the top of the bridge.

You can prepare as much as you want, but you won’t be ready to do the impossible until you decide to actually do it. None of us are. It doesn’t matter. Do it anyways.

Oh, and if you are ready for whatever it is you’re about to do, maybe you need to think twice about what you’re doing and take things to the next level.


grace under pressure…

The phrase “grace under pressure” first gained notoriety when Ernest Hemingway used it in a profile piece written by Dorothy Parker. Parker asked Hemingway: “Exactly what do you mean by ‘guts‘?” Hemingway replied: “I mean, grace under pressure.”

Musicians struggle with maintaining their composure under the intense pressure of competition. Many wilt under this pressure, being unable to maintain the high level of performance they regularly exhibit in rehearsal. Those who fall apart, do so because they have completely lost their perspective of what’s really important. Peak performance can only come from the musicians’s heart — from a performance which is inwardly driven by the love and passion for the performing and NOT by a worry about the outcome. When you can learn to play from your heart, just for YOU, because you are passionate about playing, then you will truly be freed up to transcend your normal limits and be a model of performance — grace under pressure.



never give up…

While reading a book about Treasure Hunter John Chatterton — Wake and District Pipe Sergeant John Schodtler came across a compilation of truth’s Chatterton acknowledged while reflecting about life after returning from Vietnam. We share them with you — as they relate to each and every one of us in life; whether at home, work, or while we are together in a pipe band.

These are his principles for living:

  • If an undertaking was easy, someone else already would have done it. — If you follow in another’s footsteps, you miss the problems really worth solving.
  • Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.
  • Every so often, life presents a great moment of decision, an intersection at which a man must decide to stop or go; a person lives with these decisions forever.
  • Examine everything; not all is as it seems or as people tell you. –It is easiest to live with a decision if it is based on an earnest sense of right and wrong.
  • The guy who gets killed is often the guy who got nervous. The guy who doesn’t care anymore, who has said, “I’m already dead-the fact that I live or die is irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the accounting I give of myself,” is the most formidable force in the world.
  • The worst possible decision is to give up.

Forming the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums was not an easy undertaking.  The time, the money, the exhausting efforts getting things going while others looked at us and said “look, it’s just another police/fire band“.  Over the past 9 years we’ve striven for excellence and have been successful because of the dedication, focus and tenacity of our members (none of whom are average).   Some of this hard work has led to police/fire bands saying “their just a competition band”.  

Wake and District is so much more than the pegs others put us in.  We continue to examine everything we do – growing at ever opportunity and all along doing the right things for all the right reasons.  The work sometimes seems neverending…rehearsing 3-4 times per week, playing gigs in Virginia, South Carolina and points in-between.  The work is worth it.

For those of you still becoming familiar with who we are and what we do — read below:


The tradition of bagpipes and drums played at fire department and police department funerals in the United States of America goes back over 150 years.  When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to the States, they brought many of their customs with them. One of these was the bagpipe, often played at Celtic weddings, funerals and Céilís.

Those who have been to funerals when bagpipes play, know how haunting and mournful the sound of the pipes can be. Before too long, families and friends of non-Irish firefighters and police officers began asking for pipe bands to play for these fallen heroes. The pipes and drums add a special air and dignity to the solemn occasion.  Today, the tradition is universal and not just for the Irish or Scottish. The pipes have come to be a distinguishing feature of a fallen hero’s funeral.

The Wake and District Public Safety Pipe Band was formed in May of 2006 and originated out of the idea we need to better recognize and thank the individuals who risk their lives on a daily basis for the safety of the community.  In addition to this goal this group strives to honor those heroes who have lost their lives in these endeavors.

These heroes are no longer with us. But we can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son.   We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our community for generations to come.

This is our commitment.  This is our duty — for our fallen




marching on…

For those gigs we felt like we made a mistake – those days when at the end our feet ached.  As we hear the music fade, we reflect on all the tunes we played; we’re marching on…   

The fog has lifted and another St. Patrick’s Day is in the books. We are so thankful to everyone who came out to support and promote the band both in and out of the circle – and all the folks behind the scenes putting the pieces together. We were very well received everywhere we went – and left a quality impression of the culture and music we work so hard to share. We are all part of a powerful tradition. What a secure place it is to be part of a tradition. We are fortunate to have one another. 

From Flynn’s Irish Pub and the streets of Myrtle Beach – to Tir Na nOg and the corners of Raleigh-Durham — there were many memorable moments we will keep with us from all things St. Patrick this 2015. 

We will continue to put one foot in front of the other and move like we ain’t got no other.  We go when we go, We’re marching on. #OneRepublic

By the right, quick, march!


a myriad of photos from the St. Patrick’s Day 2015 shenanigans can be seen here.




all the souls we encounter…

Our travels took us across the Carolina’s this past weekend.  On Saturday morning we were privileged to be back in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — leading their parade (with several new members in our ranks — Katherine Priu, Rusty Smith and Raymond Swinton — among others).  On Saturday afternoon and throughout the evening we shared the skirl of the pipes and drums all across the Triangle  with so many souls.

The skirl of the  pipes and beat of the drums are an integral part “shtick” surrounding St. Patrick’s Day — a day where everyone is Irish.  We took a moment to step out of the shenanigans and honor the departed actor, poet, writer, director and photographer that was Leonard Nimoy.  Thank you to Mo Lightening and the folks at Wizard World for allowing us to share the nobility of these cantankerous instruments we love.  We happy and honored to play at the Raleigh Comic Con.


The dust has settled from the weekend – and we are preparing for St. Patrick’s Day — TUESDAY — March 17th.  Here is a quick glance at where you can find Raleigh’s Pipe Band…

Group #1

  • 6pm-7 Pipers Tavern – 8304 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615
  • 7ish North Raleigh Hiberian – 8021 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615
  • 7:45 Tra Leì –  10370 Moncreiffe Rd #109, Raleigh, NC 27617
  • 8:30  Hiberian / Napper Tandy’s – 311 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603
  • 10pm Woodys at City Market – 205 Wolfe St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Group #2

  • 7pm Bull McCabes – 427 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701
  • 8pm Rally Point – Harrison Square, 1837 N Harrison Ave, Cary, NC 27513
  • 8:30ish. Hibernian Cary – 1144 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, NC 27511



to boldly go…

Our inner nerd is shining — we’ve been asked to play at the Wizard World Comic Con in Raleigh on Saturday, 14 March 2015 at 4:45 pm.  We will be playing after William Shatner hosts a panel in Ballroom C of the Raleigh Convention Center.

We’re pretty geeked-up to be sharing some St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans with our fellow fans of pop culture.  Rest assured there will be a moment of silence and Vulcan hand-signs raised as we play an Amazing Grace tribute to Leonard Nemoy.

For more information on the Wizard World “Raleigh” Comic Con — check out their website here.



rally the realm – spread the word…

On Saturday, 14 March 2015 — Wake and District will be heading back to North Myrtle Beach, SC to lead their 27th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade (which steps off at 9:00 am).

But don’t fret Raleigh peeps –

We will be back in town to party with our friends at Tir Na nOg @ 6:30 with a wee parade…here is our full schedule once we’re back:

Saturday the 14th

Tuesday the 17th

The madness starts at 9:00 am at the nOg as well — check out the schedule below.



Venue: Tír na nÓg Irish Pub

March 14, 2015, 9 a.m.

This event is free!

Pub open for full Irish breakfast & Bar from 9am

10am James Olin: & Guests
12pm Shenachie
2pm Kevin Kendal and co
3.30pm Gerry Mc Crudden
5pm My Three Kilts
7.15pm Wake & District Pipes & Drums walk through:
7.30pm pm Nine Times Around:
10pm Special Guests “The Fighting Jameson’s.”

Outside Stage in Our Moore Square Irish Village party
12pm Barrowburn
1.45pm Inis Cairde Irish Dancers
4.30pm Nine Times Around:
6.30pm Mini Parade with Wake & District:
7pm My Three Kilts till close

Vendors/Food/ Beer & Wine. Including GUINNESS, an all-day Irish Party
Sorry NO reservations:
Tir na nOg voted Raleigh’s #1 Irish Pub 218 South Blount Street Raleigh NC 27601

Call or email for more information:
Tír na nÓg


winning and plain winning…

Stealing some mantra from Michael Grey — In life there’s winning prizes and then there’s just plain “winning”. In “plain winning” I mean, winning as in feeling really (really) good about the group where you’re a member, feeling an affinity with your team, your pals; win or lose, the group just feels right. In “plain winning” you almost always feel better after having attended rather than not. Like the American basketball legend, Michael Jordan, said, “winning isn’t always about championships”.   Someone once passed along an interesting definition of what makes a good friend — and that’s someone who makes you feel better after having had a chin-wag, a visit. That’s a “plain winning” group, you feel better after simply being a part of something…

We didn’t break the world record for most kilted runners.  We had 2,845 registered runners but unfortunately only 1,549 kilted runners. To Elizabeth Pagano and the organizers of the St. Paddy’s Run Green 8k – you did an amazing job of organizing this event.   World Records are nice – we’re still winners.

This year’s kilt run wasn’t easy.  The kilts, the questions, the comments,  the pressure of breaking the record.    The idea of being mindful — being present, being more conscious of life as it happens — may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living for pursuing their goals, but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more. In fact, you’re more productive when you’re mindful. But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything. Even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as showing up and running, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it – go for a run, participate in public charities, and remain fully present. It takes commitment, but it’s incredible.   We have a year, everyone get a kilt and lets break the record in 2016!

To Pete Pagano, Annie Nice (the entire staff at Tir Na nOg), thank you for creating a wonderful floor — under the music which we stand upon.   To all of our family, friends and co-workers who got kilted up and participated and ran with us– THANK YOU.  To our fellow pipe band mates from the North Atlanta Pipe Band and the Piedmont Firefighters Pipes and Drums — we appreciate you lending your support (your comradery is valued .  To the solo (kilted) Storm-Trooper from the 501st Carolina Garrison — we hope you found the droids you were looking for.  Tommy, Katy and Aaron from RangerUP – we admire everything you folks do – thanks taking part in our shenanigans.

To the bands who provided so much foot stomping inspiration – Albannach, My 3 Kilts and 9 Times Around — it’s always a pleasure!

We had a GREAT time warming up for St. Patrick’s Day with this wee kilt run.  We didn’t break the record, but shoren begorrah a grand time was had by all!  Check out all our photos by Band Photographer Daniel Solomon here.


practice time 2015

practicing and playing mindsets…

Practice activities are worthless without useful feedback about the results.  Here is a wonderful excerpt from Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else:

The best performers observe themselves closely. They are in effect able to step outside themselves, monitor what is happening in their own minds, and ask how it’s going. Researchers call this metacognition – knowledge about your own knowledge, thinking about your own thinking. Top performers do this much more systematically than others do; it’s an established part of their routine.

Metacognition is important because situations change as they play out. Apart from its role in finding opportunities for practice, it plays a valuable part in helping top performers adapt to changing conditions…[A]n excellent businessperson can pause mentally and observe his or her own mental processes as if from the outside:…Am I being hijacked by my emotions? Do I need a different strategy here? What should it be?

…Excellent performers judge themselves differently from the way other people do. They’re more specific, just as they are when they set goals and strategies. Average performers are content to tell themselves that they did great or poorly or okay. The best performers judge themselves against a standard that’s relevant for what they’re trying to achieve. Sometimes they compare their performance with their own personal best; sometimes they compare with the performance of competitors they’re facing or expect to face; sometimes they compare with the best known performance by anyone in the field…

…If you were pushing yourself appropriately and have evaluated yourself rigorously, then you will have identified errors that you made. A critical part of self-evaluation is deciding what caused those errors.

Average performers believe their errors were caused by factors outside their control: My opponent got lucky; the task was too hard; I just don’t have the natural ability for this. Top performers, by contrast, believe they are responsible for their errors. Note that this is not just a difference of personality or attitude. Recall that the best performers have set highly specific, technique-based goals and strategies for themselves; they have though through exactly how they intent to achieve what they want. So when something doesn’t work, they can relate the failure to specific elements of their performance that may have misfired…

…Since excellent performers go through a sharply different process from the beginning, they can make good guesses about how to adapt. That is, their ideas for how to perform better next time are likely to work…They approach the job with more specific goals and strategies, since their previous experience was essentially a test of specific goals and strategies; and they’re more likely to believe in their own efficacy because their detailed analysis is more effective than the vague, unfocused analysis of average performers. Thus their own effectiveness help give them the crucial motivation to press on, powering a self-reinforcing cycle.


shenanigans are coming…

Brace yourself, shenanigans are coming and our band members are gearing up for the crucible of all things St. Patrick.   Our journey begins on Friday, March 6th as band members take the stage at Tir Na nOg to kick-off the Celtic Warrior Weekend.  The following afternoon (March 7th) we will partake in the nOg Run Club  — WORLD RECORD KILT RUN attempt in Raleigh, North Carolina.

On Saturday, 14 March we will be traveling to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where we have the honor to lead their 27th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

We are looking forward to being back on parade in South Carolina with our friends from the New York Shields Pipes and Drums and the Myrtle Beach Pipe Band.

After two stage performances in North Myrtle Beach, we will be heading back to Raleigh-NC to partake in the Tir Na nOg annual Irish Street and Pub Party on Saturday evening, March 14th — along with whatever shenanigans come our way.

Side note – we get it that the skirl of the  pipes and beat of the drums are an integral part “shtick” surrounding St. Patrick’s Day — a day where everyone is Irish.  We ask you respect and understand these noble, yet cantankerous instruments we love.  We’re happy and honored to play for all of you.

If you see us out and about tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
using #RaleighPipeBand