Archive for the ‘Band News’ Category


become what inspires you…

From Amy Rees Anderson —  Become what inspires you.” What a GREAT quote! I guess I have never thought of it like that before so when I saw that quote I had to share it.

We have to start by asking ourselves “What inspires us?” I asked myself that question and then I sat down and started typing up a list of what qualities people have that inspire me. A few of the things I wrote on my list include:

  • People who live with integrity at all times and in all circumstances.
  • People who stand up for what they believe and are proud and happy to do it.
  • People who are optimistic.
  • People who are willing to try, even when they know they might fail. They try anyway.
  • People who give 100% in everything they do.
  • People who set and achieve their goals.
  • People who make an effort to change world for the better.
  • People who aren’t afraid of what other people think and who are willing to be fun and be silly and be real because they give everyone else permission to have fun and be silly too.
  • People who are kind to others and who go out of their way to make others feel included.
  • People who care what most what God thinks and focus on making Him proud rather than worrying about making others proud.
  • People who know who they are and what they stand for, at all times, and in all places.
  • People who are leaders that lead through helping others to excel.

Those are just a few of the things that came to mind in the exercise. I loved doing this because it really helped me to visualize more of what I need to become if I am going to become what inspires me.

I loved the quote today and I love the call to action it provides. If you have time today sit and make a list of what qualities inspire you and then figure out what you can start doing to become those things.

Have an inspired weekend everyone!


Amy Rees Anderson is the Managing Partner and Founder of REES Capital, an an angel firm that provides entrepreneurs and business executives’ support and guidance.  Amy is also an author and serves as a weekly contributor to Forbes and the Huffington Post.



firefighter Chris Daniels at rest…

On behalf of the Wake and District family — we would extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and all the firefighters in Johnston County, North Carolina — on the loss of firefighter Chris Daniels.  Chris left to perpetual light on 17 August 2015 at the beginning of his shift at Pine Level Fire Department.

Chris was a full time firefighter at Smithfield Fire Department and also served with the Pine Level and Thanksgiving Fire Departments. He dedicated his life to the fire service and will be missed by everyone who knew him.  Eternal rest grant unto him O’ Lord — and may perpetual light shine upon him.


Funeral services will be held
Friday, 21 August 2015 at 11:00 AM
at Branch Chapel FWB Church

Burial with fire department honors will be held at the Price Cemetery near Pine Level (1839 Pine Level Selma Rd Selma, NC 27576).

The family will receive friends at the church just before the service starting at 9:30 AM. The public is also welcome to pay their respects to Chris at Parrish Funeral Home on Thursday from 11AM to 5PM.

Surviving, in addition to his parents, are his wife Kristie M. Daniels; his daughter Maegan Hicks and husband Caleb of Selma; brother Ellis Daniels and wife Brittney and children Corbin, Kaden and Avery; and sister-in-law Gina Garner and husband Jimmy and their children Trevor, Bryant and wife Sara, and MacKenzie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the ProTeens at Branch Chapel Original Free Will Baptist Church, PO Box 100, Selma, NC 27576.


NCGA resolution honors war’s end…

On Tuesday, 18 August 2015 45 veterans were greeted with bagpipes and flags at the Legislative Building — where they were honored for their service and courage by the North Carolina General Assembly as they passed a resolution marking 75th anniversary of war’s end.  The veterans arrived at the Legislative Building on a bus escorted by Highway Patrol motorcyclists.   The skirl of the pipes and beat of the drums played and hundreds of well-wishers applauded as the veterans walked into the building.

From our Facebook page — “the gentleman waving in the above photo is Steven Wagner‘s Uncle — Elton Price. He stormed the beaches of Normandy! The 3 in matching ties are brothers. There is a 4th that is still alive and served as well!” — Gina Lanvermeier Wagner


the music speaks for itself…

Bob Worrall described the G1 performances with some of the following words and phrases; integration, subtle and without intrusiveness, blanket of drones, a little bit squarish, articulation problems, leaving a little wiggle room, organic, stunner, ear so keen he can hear the grass grow, forward motion, emotional…

No words were necessary at the end of all of today’s G1 World Championship performances — our musical art at it’s finest.

CONGRATULATIONS to our friends from the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band — “what a performance – they delivered — nothing careful — they went for it” — Bob Worrall.  Two of our members (Seamus and Jean Russell) are friends with several members of the Shotts family – and Wake and District was fortunate to receive instruction this past January from the Shotts Danimal himself – Dan Nevans.

There was a strange bright light observed in the sky throughout the afternoon  — something J.J. Abrams would have appreciated — as it brought the flare to Glasgow Green #LensFlare.  So many amazing performances today at the World Pipe Band Championships.  Back to the woodshed…


11 ways to become a better person…

Nobody’s perfect. Most people are aware of their shortcomings and want to become better. It will impact their profession, their relationships, and their body image. Here are 11 tips to become a better person. If you are perfect, there is no need to read on 😉


1. Show some respect

If you are late, rude, or do not reply to phone calls, messages, and emails, then there is something wrong. Here are the main areas where you can make sure that you are not offending anyone. If you can tick these off, be pleased with yourself. It means that you show respect for people and their time:

• You are always punctual.
• You reply to messages and phone calls the same day.
• You deal with emails within two business days at the most.
• You are totally reliable – you do what you promise.
• You show respect for people’s opinions but are not afraid to express your own.
• You recognize people’s efforts and can say thank you in an appropriate way.
• You never change arrangements at the last minute, unless there is an emergency.


2. Work for a healthy body and mind

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha

Obviously, a healthy mind and body are inextricably linked. They go hand in hand. Exercising regularly helps the body to stay in good shape. There is the added bonus that endorphins are produced after exercise which lift your mood and can stave off depression. Study after study has shown thatexercise may be far more beneficial than anti-depressants for the treatment of depression and anxiety.


3. Learn how to be assertive

“The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging somebody’s ego, that’s it, game over.” Gordon Ramsay

You can be a better person by empathizing and sympathizing with people. There is a risk of going too far with this and you end up by being a doormat. You may be putting the other person’s needs first and neglecting your own. You may have to make compromises which are not to your advantage.

When you reach the stage of being the world’s best empathizer, it is time to make two lists. The first is full of all the things you have done; the second is what you have gotten back in return. No prizes for guessing which one is the shortest!

Then you make a third list containing what you expect to get back and actually mention these things at the appropriate moment. The objective is to get two lists which are the same length. This is when you have to be assertive.

4. Eat well

Being a better person depends very much on what you eat. If you do not make any effort to eat a healthy diet, you will find that your health is at risk. Diabetes and obesity may start to stalk you. You start to feel unwell and that destroys your good mood. You become less sociable. It is a downward spiral.

5. Broaden your horizons

Everybody loves routine. It is comforting and leads to a sense of well-being. But when that comfort zone becomes a rut, then it is time to sit up and take notice. Doing exactly the same things, watching the same TV shows, and hanging out with the same old people will ensure that your life is like a nuclear fallout shelter!

Time to go to new places, do different things, and eat ethnic cuisine. Make new friends and promise yourself to do one different thing each week.

6. Be a hero

It does not take much to be a hero. Simple acts of kindness will not cost you anything. Help people with photocopies in the office, or offer to carry shopping bags for an older person. Spread a little karma and you will be rewarded.

7. Listen up

Being a good listener has many great advantages. It demonstrates that you are empathetic and at the same time, lets you off the hook in making any comments. Just listen!

8. Gravitate towards positive people.

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

This is a no-brainer. Negative people will dispense bitterness, regret, pessimism, envy, and sorrow. Positive people radiate joy, gratitude, hope, optimism, and energy. These people can inspire and uplift. You choose!

9. Be thankful

Once you start counting your blessings, you almost immediately become a better person. You can keep a gratitude journal where you jot down things for which you are truly grateful. There are numerous benefits for your health. You are in a better mood and you feel more relaxed and less envious.

At your job, you can make faster decisions, work better, and you get on well with colleagues. Research done by psychology professor, Robert Emmons, at the University of California shows innumerable health benefits. He says that gratitude is the best approach to life.

10. Look at nature

Be inspired by a beautiful sunset, a starry night, or an awesome dawn. Any activity which makes you aware of the beauty of nature is bound to make you a better person. In fact studies show that people are more empathetic and have nobler goals after exposure to nature.

11. Help somebody

When you help a person in need, you are not just empathizing. You are taking it a step further and showing your concern for a fellow human being. It makes you feel grateful. You also feel more confident in yourself and less preoccupied with your own problems.



the greatest fraternity…

Cary’s Police Chief Patricia Bazemore retired on 31 July 2015 after 29 years of service.  Bazemore began her career as a patrol officer in 1986. She served as the department’s first female lieutenant, female captain, female major and female deputy chief. She was promoted to chief in 2008.   The skril of the bagpipes sounded as Chief Bazemore took the oath in 2008 — the same piper bookended this event playing as she walked through a sea of blue and was escorted home as she went 10-42.  It’s been said that – “music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is”.  We’ve been honored to extend our friendship to the men and women of the Cary Police Department.

You’ve face so many challenges in life.  Congratulations on 3 decades of service – marked with prominence and success.


When a good cop leaves the ‘job’ and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if she knows what she is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if she throws them away, they will be on her with every step and breath that remains in her life.

These are lingering burdens from the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the law enforcement world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the ‘job’ and merely being allowed to leave ‘active’ duty.

So what we wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God,’ and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.






beginning new chapters…

On Thursday, 30 July 2015 Wake and District was once again honored to send a piper to participate at a promotional ceremony for the Raleigh Fire Department.  CONGRATULATIONS to all those promoted – we wish you tremendous success as you begin a new chapter in your career with the the Fire Department.   Photos from the event by Mike Legeros can be seen here.

The tradition of bagpipes played at fire department ceremonies in the United States goes back over one hundred fifty years. When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to this country, they brought many of their traditions with them. One of these was the bagpipe.  While more traditionally recognized in larger cities like New York and Chicago — Wake and District has been proud to share this tradition with the Raleigh Fire Department since our formation in 2006.




better ways to practice – part 2

How to Accelerate Skill Development:  Here are the five principles I would want to share with a younger version of myself. I hope you find something of value on this list as well.

1. Focus is everything: 
Keep practice sessions limited to a duration that allows you to stay focused. This may be as short as 10-20 minutes, and as long as 45-60+ minutes.

2. Timing is everything, too: Keep track of times during the day when you tend to have the most energy. This may be first thing in the morning, or right before lunch. Try to do your practicing during these naturally productive periods, when you are able to focus and think most clearly. What to do in your naturally unproductive times? I say take a guilt-free nap.

3. Don’t trust your memory: Use a practice notebook. Plan out your practice, and keep track of your practice goals and what you discover during your practice sessions. The key to getting into “flow” when practicing is to constantly strive for clarity of intention. Have a crystal clear idea of what you want (e.g. the sound you want to produce, or particular phrasing you’d like to try, or specific articulation, intonation, etc. that you’d like to be able to execute consistently), and be relentless in your search for ever better solutions.

When you stumble onto a new insight or discover a solution to a problem, write it down! As you practice more mindfully, you’ll began making so many micro-discoveries that you will need written reminders to remember them all.

4. Smarter, not harder: When things aren’t working, sometimes we simply have to practice more. And then there are times when it means we have to go in a different direction.

I remember struggling with the left-hand pizzicato variation in Paganini’s 24th Caprice when I was studying at Juilliard. I kept trying harder and harder to make the notes speak, but all I got was sore fingers, a couple of which actually started to bleed (well, just a tiny bit).

Instead of stubbornly persisting with a strategy that clearly wasn’t working, I forced myself to stop. I brainstormed solutions to the problem for a day or two, and wrote down ideas as they occurred to me. When I had a list of some promising solutions, I started experimenting.

I eventually came up with a solution that worked, and the next time I played for my teacher, he actually asked me to show him how I made the notes speak so clearly!

5. Stay on target with a problem-solving model: 
It’s extraordinarily easy to drift into mindless practice mode. Keep yourself on task using the 6-step problem solving model below.

  • Define the problem. (What result did I just get? What do I want this note/phrase to sound like instead?)
  • Analyze the problem. (What is causing it to sound like this?)
  • Identify potential solutions. (What can I tweak to make it sound more like I want?)
  • Test the potential solutions and select the most effective one. (What tweaks seem to work best?)
  • Implement the best solution. (Reinforce these tweaks to make the changes permanent.)
  • Monitor implementation. (Do these changes continue to produce the results I’m looking for?

Make Your Time Count

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about perfecting violin technique, improving your golf game, becoming a better writer, improving your marketing skills, or becoming a more effective surgeon.

Life is short. Time is our most valuable commodity. If you’re going to practice, you might as well do it right.


better ways to practice – part 1

A Better Way to Pratice: Noa Kageyama

While it may be true that there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going, there certainly are ways of needlessly prolonging the journey. We often waste lots of time because nobody ever taught us the most effective and efficient way to practice. Whether it’s learning how to code, improving your writing skills, or playing a musical instrument, practicing the right way can mean the difference between good and great.

You have probably heard the old joke about the tourist who asks a cab driver how to get to Carnegie Hall, only to be told: “Practice, practice, practice!”

I began playing the violin at age two, and for as long as I can remember, there was one question which haunted me every day.

Am I practicing enough?

What Do Performers Say?

I scoured books and interviews with great artists, looking for a consensus on practice time that would ease my conscience. I read an interview with Rubinstein, in which he stated that nobody should have to practice more than four hours a day. He explained that if you needed that much time, you probably weren’t doing it right.

And then there was violinist Nathan Milstein who once asked his teacher Leopold Auer how many hours a day he should be practicing. Auer responded by saying “Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 1/2 hours.”

Even Heifetz indicated that he never believed in practicing too much, and that excessive practice is “just as bad as practicing too little!” He claimed that he practiced no more than three hours per day on average, and that he didn’t practice at all on Sundays.

It seemed that four hours should be enough. So I breathed easy for a bit. And then I learned about the work of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson.

What Do Psychologists Say?

When it comes to understanding expertise and expert performance, psychologist Dr. Ericsson is perhaps the world’s leading authority. His research is the basis for the “10,000-hour rule” which suggests that it requires at least ten years and/or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve an expert level of performance in any given domain – and in the case of musicians, more like 15-25 years in order to attain an elite international level.

Those are some pretty big numbers. So large, that at first I missed the most important factor in the equation.

Deliberate Practice — meaning, that there is a specific type of practice that facilitates the attainment of an elite level of performance. And then there’s the other kind of practice that most of us are more familiar with.

Mindless Practice

Have you ever observed a musician (or athlete, actor, trial attorney) engage in practice? You’ll notice that most practice resembles one of the following distinct patterns.

1. Broken record method: This is where we simply repeat the same thing over and over. Same tennis serve. Same passage on the piano. Same powerpoint presentation. From a distance it might look like practice, but much of it is simply mindless repetition.

2. Autopilot method: This is where we activate our autopilot system and coast. Recite our sales pitch three times. Play a round of golf. Run through a piece from beginning to end.

3. Hybrid method: Then there’s the combined approach. For most of my life, practicing meant playing through a piece until I heard something I didn’t like, at which point I’d stop, repeat the passage over and over until it started to sound better, and then resume playing until I heard the next thing I wasn’t pleased with, at which point I’d repeat the whole process over again.

Three Problems

Unfortunately, there are three problems with practicing this way.

1. It’s a waste of time: Why? For one, very little productive learning takes place when we practice this way. This is why you can “practice” something for hours, days, or weeks, and still not improve all that much. Even worse, you are actually digging yourself a hole, because what this model of practicing does is strengthen undesirable habits and errors, increasing the likelihood of more consistently inconsistent performances.

This also makes it more difficult to clean up these bad habits as time goes on – so you are essentially adding to the amount of future practice time you will need in order to eliminate these undesirable tendencies. To quote a saxophone professor I once worked with: “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.”

2. It makes you less confident: In addition, practicing mindlessly lowers your confidence, as a part of you realizes you don’t really know how to produce the results you are looking for. Even if you have a fairly high success rate in the most difficult passages, there’s a sense of uncertainty deep down that just won’t go away.

Real on-stage confidence comes from (a) being able to nail it consistently, (b) knowing that this isn’t a coincidence but that you can do it the correct way on demand, because (c) you know precisely why you nail it or miss it – i.e. you have identified the key technical or mechanical factors that are necessary to play the passage perfectly every time.

3. It is mind-numbingly dull: Practicing mindlessly is a chore. We’ve all had well-meaning parents and teachers tell us to go home and practice a certain passage x number of times, or to practice x number of hours, right? But why are we measuring success in units of practice time? What we need are more specific results-oriented outcome goals – such as, practice this passage until it sounds like XYZ, or practice this passage until you can figure out how to make it sound like ABC.

Deliberate Practice

So what is the alternative? Deliberate, or mindful practice is a systematic and highly structured activity, that is, for lack of a better word, more scientific. Instead of mindless trial and error, it is an active and thoughtful process of hypothesis testing where we relentlessly seek solutions to clearly defined problems.

Deliberate practice is often slow, and involves repetition of small and very specific sections of a skill instead of just playing through. For example, if you were a musician, you might work on just the opening note of a solo to make sure that it “speaks” exactly the way you want, instead of playing the entire opening phrase.

Deliberate practice also involves monitoring one’s performance – in real-time and via recordings – continually looking for new ways to improve. This means being observant and keenly aware of what happens, so that you can tell yourself exactly what went wrong. For instance, was the first note note sharp? Flat? Too loud? Too soft? Too harsh? Too short? Too long?

Let’s say that the note was too sharp and too long with not enough of an attack to begin the note. Well, how sharp was it? A little? A lot? How much longer was the note than you wanted it to be? How much more of an attack did you want?

Ok, the note was a little sharp, just a hair too long, and required a much clearer attack in order to be consistent with the marked articulation and dynamics. So, why was the note sharp? What did you do? What do you need to do instead to make sure the note is perfectly in tune every time? How do you ensure that the length is just as you want it to be, and how do you get a consistently clean and clear attack to begin the note so it begins in the right character?

Now, let’s imagine you recorded each trial repetition, and could listen back to the last attempt. Does that combination of ingredients give you the desired result? Does that combination of elements convey the mood or character you want to communicate to the listener as effectively as you thought it would? Does it help the listener experience what you want them to feel?

If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Which might explain why few take the time to practice this way. To stop, analyze what went wrong, why it happened, and how they can produce different results the next time.

Simple though it may sound, it took me years to figure this out. Yet it remains the most valuable and enduring lesson I learned from my 23 years of training. In the dozen or so years since I put down my violin, the principles of deliberate practice have remained relevant no matter what skill I must learn next. Be it the practice of psychology, building an audience for a blog, parenting, or making the perfect smoothie, how I spend my practice time remains more important than how much time I spend practicing.


until we meet again…

Join the members of Wake and District this Saturday, 25 July — as we head to Tir Na nOg to bid a bittersweet farewell to lads of My Three Kilts (@MyThreeKilts).  

My Three Kilts ain’t your grandpa’s Celtic music. They have as much in common with the Ramones as they do with The Dubliners. Combining traditional Celtic influences and instrumentation with punk rock influences, ideals and attitude, they played a unique brand of Celtic/Pub/Punk. Their shows have been punctuated with blasts of music and interactions with the audience.  My Three Kilts have been the dog’s bollocks of the NC Celtic scene since 2007.

They have built a steady following from the mountains to the coast – and we’re humbled to have been a part of their shenanigans — and to call them friends.

Raise a pint with members of Wake and District and Nine Times Around as we toast the lads from My Three Kilts – and bid fond farewell.

The show starts at 7:30 pm.


It’s not goodbye.
but until we meet again..