Archive for the ‘Band Top Story’ Category


we play for you…

A very busy (and special) weekend on tap for the members of the Wake and District pipe band.

For the 9th year in a row, members of the band will be attending the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD.  This special Weekend honors the service and sacrifice of the families of fallen firefighters. New survivors will have the opportunity to meet fire service survivors from across the country, share experiences, make lasting friendships, and begin to look ahead.  It’s a time for pipe bands across North America to come together to honor their fallen comrades through music.

Our hearts go out to the families of these fallen firefighters. They’ve become members of a fraternity no one seeks to join. 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 to you. This is our duty —- For Our Fallen.

On Saturday – the band will be performing at the USO of North Carolina Salute to Freedom Gala in Durham, NC.  This is an evening of military pageantry as the USO honors heroes from each branch of service in North Carolina.  Two outstanding community members will be honored for their unwavering support of the USO of North Carolina and our military.   We are privileged to participate.

“We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.” President Ronald Reagan

We play for you.
In the name of God and Country.
To honor our comrades.
For dignity. For honor. For righteousness’ sake.


be honest, be committed, and be respectful…

Being in a band is one of the most exciting parts of music. You’re collaborating with other musicians, playing shows, recording, and becoming part of a larger musical idea. In many ways, a band is like a relationship, and you need to respect it and nurture it. Not everyone is going to agree or get along, but there are diplomatic ways of dealing with band disagreements. Be respectful, and don’t shoot yourself in the foot when interacting with your band. Here are five things you should never say to your band-mates – and what to say instead.

1. “You’re playing it wrong” —  Look, we understand how frustrating it can be when your band member isn’t getting the changes right. You have this perfect vision in your head of how the tune should sound, yet someone is messing up the flow. It happens. Everyone has their moments when the song is going great, and suddenly, you’re lost or you turn on the overdrive pedal instead of the reverb. There’s never a time or place, however, where it’s acceptable to lash out against someone for making a mistake.

If someone is playing a section wrong, first ask yourself, “Is it wrong to just me?” Perhaps your bandmate honestly believes the way he or she has chosen to play that section is a better fit for the tune. If it’s an obvious mistake like playing in the completely wrong key, then ask yourself, “Is my bandmate aware of the mistake?” Chances are that your bandmate knows a mistake was made and feels bad about it. Don’t be a jerk and rub it in.

What to say instead: “Hey, I noticed in section X that you’re playing it like Y. I like what you’re doing, but it sounds different than I remember. Did you change it up?”

2. “Here, let me show you” — Many of us have been guilty of doing this one before, but really, it’s never a good idea. Unless your bandmate asks, “Can you show me what you’re talking about?” and hands you their instrument, you shouldn’t “show them” how to play a section. We understand that you have every best intention for the tune, but you take the risk of belittling your bandmate. The point of a band is collaborative effort. If one person is deciding how each section sounds, then there’s no co-creation. Sure, most bands have a front person, but each member should be allowed to have creative input. If your drummer just can’t find the swing beat you have in mind, don’t tell him or her to get off the kit so you can demonstrate. Ask for ideas and get a conversation rolling. In the event you’re asked to show what you had in mind, respectfully let him or her know what you have in mind, but don’t kick them down.

What to say instead: “Tell me about your ideas for this tune. We’re getting closer to the right sound, and I want to keep exploring.”

3. “You’re replaceable” — This is downright pompous, but it happens as if music were some corporate entry-level job. If another band member isn’t holding up – like skipping practice or showing up to shows drunk – we understand that they may need to be replaced. However, it’s never acceptable to demean someone in such a cruel manner, nor should you threaten a band member with the harsh reminder that they’re replacable. It’s true; most musicians are replaceable in the sense that you can find someone else to play their parts, but each person contributes a unique sound to the music. If you get to the tough point in your band’s career where you have to replace a member, do it with respect. Your bandmate took time out of his or her life to play music with you and help grow the band. So, while his or her behavior and actions may have gotten out of hand, don’t rub it in that you’re going to replace him or her with someone better. Let your issues and reasons be known, then move on respectfully.

What to say instead: “We’ve noticed a change in your commitment to the band. Your talent and involvement means a lot to us, but we’re not sure we’re all on the same page. Is everything alright with you?”

4. “I can’t make it to practice because [insert lame excuse]” — Practice is an integral part of a band’s growth, both musically and personally. Time invested into practice is time invested into the power of your music and the power of your relationships with each bandmate. Even if you don’t have an upcoming show or studio session, it’s imperative you rehearse often with your band. When one person is making lame excuses as to why they can’t come, like, “I’m seeing a movie with my girlfriend,” “I’m too hungover,” or “I’ll just practice at home,” it gives the whole band the impression that they’re secondary. Sure, everyone needs a day off, but blowing off practice time because you were too rowdy the night before or because something “more fun” is going on doesn’t express commitment. Your bandmates want to feel confident that everyone is in it together, trying to make the best music possible, and having fun doing it.

What to say instead: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to practice next week as I have another important commitment. I wanted to let you know in advance so we can hopefully reschedule another time to rehearse.”

5. “I didn’t rehearse” —  This is equally as bad as skipping band practice. Practicing tunes on your own is just as important as practicing with the band. If your band’s new tune has an intricate 7/8 rhythm that’s been tripping you up, don’t wait until the next band practice to work on it again. Take it home, master it, and be ready for the next band rehearsal. Sometimes, musicians form their identity around a band, and the idea of playing music outside of that identity feels off, so, they don’t. But it’s important to practice on your own time in order to be the best musician you can be – whether it’s for the current band you’re in or your inevitable career as a solo musician.

What to say instead: “This was a tough section, but after rehearsing it on my own, I think I’ve got it up to speed. What do you think?”

Communication and respect are two of the most important keys for a band’s interpersonal success. Don’t let your ego or lack of dedication bring down the rest of the band. Be honest, be committed, and be respectful.

From: Sam Friedman — electronic music producer and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. His music blends experimental ambience with indie-driven dance music. In addition to pursuing his own music, he is a New Music Editor for Unrecorded and is passionate about music journalism. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter @nerveleak.



discover it…

We came across a Facebook post from the infectiously inspiring folks of the New York Metro Pipe Band.  It read “Always look at other musicians as inspiration.  Never as competition.” — These words got us to thinking…

We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives: We compare ourselves (our band) to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.

If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing. But in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves. There’s no one worse to judge!

If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on. If you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go.”

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more.

And this just leaves us coming up short.

But our minds do want to quantify. Our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give it something to do.

So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present self and keep the comparison within?

We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday. We are always in a state of creation. We decide and then we decide again, and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to expand.

So, when you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions instead.

What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done five, three, or even one year ago? How have you stepped out in the last year that you might have found inconceivable before?

What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?

What are your wins this year, compared to last year at this time? How has your life improved? How have you improved? What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?

What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in, that you never thought you could quit? What positive behavior have you been engaging in that up until now, you have resisted?

How are you doing more of what you said you were going to do and shown up more consistently for your own success?

In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved version of yourself?

That’s the stuff that counts. Comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick.

Think about the faulty logic. Take, for example, an introvert who feels energized after periods of solitude. What does she get by comparing herself to a gregarious, outgoing personality who gets bored by an hour alone with herself?

What kind of illogical conclusions can she come to by this comparison?

Take any one of our perpetual comparisons and question the logic. Most are completely irrational in their reasoning.

We all came in different. We all came in with certain intentions that through life experience, we have continued to hone. In fact, the only masterful creation we have to work with is ourselves.

So, why defame it?

Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

How well we do this is our measurement.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their block of stone. The statue that they are liberating is one of their own intentions. But how well we are doing with our own block of stone is our business.

And we must tend to it with honor, care, compassion, and praise.

Because when we have allowed for more expression this year than we have in the last, and more importantly we recognize it, then we can stand taller as a result of the comparison instead of diminished by it.

That makes more sense. Doesn’t it?

#BandReady #PipeBandLife #MotivationMonday

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: An Alternative to Competing with People By


we become what we practice…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. —Aristotle

Have you noticed this yet? That the more you do something, the more you are it? Although we are certainly more than what we do, we do indeed become what we practice.  To be sure, we are more than the mere sum of our actions. There’s something incredibly intangible about being human. That we large, animate pieces of meat can not only conjure ideas but transmit them to each other.  But let’s not for a second delude ourselves into thinking our actions don’t matter, that discipline and devotion aren’t essential to the formation of character and value systems. They are.

We regret what we fail to practice…there’s nothing noble about an unlived life you thought of living. There’s nothing romantic about audacious, unrealized dreams. Nothing honorable about sacrifices made begrudgingly for a life you end up resenting.

If you want to be something, why not begin by doing it? If you long to be a bagpiper, than bagpipe. If a drummer, drum. And if a runner, run.

This is what determines all great endeavors — not just another interesting idea to talk about at band practice, but the decision to act, to move. One small step after another.

That’s what a habit is all about.


hashtag winning…

The pitter-patter of the pipes and drums were abundant this weekend at the Boone Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC (as was the sun, clouds, rain, bits of breeze and enveloping heat).  This contest marked the kick-off of the the back half of the Southern EUSPBA season.   It was fabulous seeing so many of the Southern EUSPBA bands coming together;  as we looked around, we saw no enemies – just good, old-fashioned rivalry.    Soloists and bands are working harder.  At each grade level bands and players are getting better and better — playing with so much more expression and musicality and the pipes and drums sounding bigger and brighter.

Congratulations to the Loch Norman Pipe Band (G4) and John Mohr MacKintosh Pipes & Drums (G5) for their 1st place finishes in band play.  G3 MSR winner was the Atlanta Pipe Band and the G3 Medley winner was the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders.

To all the bands — lose the expectation everything in life should be easy.  It rarely is.  In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.  Enjoy the challenge of your achievements.  See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams.  It’s knowing deep down the work is well worth it in the end.

From Pipe Major Ken McKeveny — just a note of thanks to everyone for putting forth a great effort today at the Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. We were very respectable in both circles (G3/G4) — and the grade 4 did an outstanding job playing the MSR for the first time in the circle. Great progress and strides for the band.

Special thanks to the Justice League (and all our families and friends) for setting up camp. Great 1st place solo efforts by Timothy Hinson (G3 piping), Jessica Johnson (tenor) and Jason Lane (Drum Major).

We continue to build a strong foundation — and are always progressing forward.

Well done by the newbies in the circle including Russell W Jr Smith, Billy BC Gehringer and Raymond Swinton. I’m proud to be part of this journey with everyone. Thanks!

We’re glad to have you Ken — thank you!


right here, right now…

We seasoned pipers and drummers like to think we are pretty tough cookies and, by and large, we are, but we are always looking for something to give us an additional edge. So we want to share a little concept out of the University of Missouri which may just give you an intellectual advantage…

It’s called the McGuire-Ivey-Lattner Model of Mental Toughness, and coaches are using it to focus their athletes and build their mental skills. It is presented as a simple pyramid composed of various aspects of mental fortitude, and we hope you are already doing a lot of the exercises described in this program to develop these skills.

The good doctors at the Missouri Institute for Positive Coaching start with “Motivation” along the foundational base of the pyramid, and as we read about it we thought of how we need to spend more time reminding ourselves why we do what we do. It should come from an intrinsic drive because we enjoy what we do and believe in our mission. Our motive should be internal; we should want to continually become better at our jobs and not need others to drive us. Our approach to every situation should be positive, expecting to win, not just to get through it and survive.

The next level in the pyramid is “Preparation” and reminds us of the philosophy of all aspects of practice: physical, technical, emotional, and mental. For us, this requires an emphasis on job-specific training and mental perseverance in the face of adversity, which is very similar to athletics. After all, what is an athlete doing other than performing a skill in a stressful environment?

The next level of the pyramid is “Focus,” and this is a critical one in piping and drumming. Since focus is a complex issue it is broken down into five components: Time orientation—being in the now, pushing other thoughts and distractions aside; Positive Self-Talk—remember, the most important conversation you have may be with yourself; Composure—developed by using tools like breathing to keep your head when others around you are losing theirs; Concentration—Missouri’s motto on focusing is “See it…Feel it…Trust it!” “Trusting it” means you believe in yourself and your preparation and this leads to…Confidence—the good doctors believe confidence is a thought, one we can choose, so they teach their athletes to always choose to be confident.

To test if a player has done his or her prep for “Focus” a coach will ask, “Where are you?” and the correct response is, “Right here, right now!” This is a pretty good test to check if you are in “condition yellow,” the mindset our law enforcement brethren need to be in on the street.

Tier 4 of the pyramid is “Emotional Stability,” and it is divided into four categories: Flexibility, the ability to draw from a range of positive emotions in a variety of critical situations; Responsiveness, the ability to be “dialed in” in every situation; Strength, the ability to cope with emotional, mental, and/or spiritual pain, a skill we need to focus a great deal more on in law enforcement; and finally, Resilience, the ability to bounce back and recover from a blow. We are never going to avoid trauma in our profession, but too often we don’t proactively prepare for it. Preparation is the key to strength and resilience.

We are getting near the top of this mental toughness pyramid now and it should be no shock that “Accountability” is shown as the skill of penultimate importance for us. We need to be accountable to ourselves, to always keep striving toward our goals and constantly building good habits and avoiding bad ones. This simply involves choosing to do what is expected of us, not only by others but by ourselves.

Finally, we come to the top of the pyramid and the point of all training: “Performance.” What we do when we need to do it is the ultimate measure of our preparation. OK, here is your homework: Review this pyramid in your mind, practice the mental rehearsals and tactical breathing skills that are so valuable, and make sure you always win.

#RightHere #RightNow

Modified from an article posted by Dave Smith, an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of “JD Buck Savage.”

You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.


improvement is a double edged sword…

As we began 2015 we were resolute with the concept of Kaizen.  What is Kaizen? While Kaizen translates just to “good change” and doesn’t really have much implied meaning beyond that, in productivity circles the term means “constant, continual improvement.” Put simply, every aspect of a band should, at all times, strive to do what it does better.

This kind of continuous improvement can be broken down into six steps:

  1. Standardize: Come up with a process for a specific activity that’s repeatable and organized; how we practice at home and together.
  2. Measure: Examine whether the process is efficient using quantifiable data, like time to complete, hours spent, etc.
  3. Compare: Compare your measurements against your requirements. Does it accomplish the desired result?
  4. Innovate: Search for new, better ways to do the same work or achieve the same result. Look for smarter, more efficient routes to the same end-goal that boost productivity.
  5. Standardize: Create repeatable, defined processes for those new, more efficient activities.
  6. Repeat: Go back to step one and start again.

Step 6 is the most important step — it allows us to go back and focus on what needs improvement and what needs to be changed. While the overall tone at rehearsals can sometimes sound negative often, it’s because we focus more on what needs to be fixed.  It may seem exhausting, but once it’s part of our mental approach to band, it’ll feel very natural. If you’re always looking for better ways to do things, and you’re always willing to give them a try, it’s just a step up to formalize it and make sure everyone’s on the same sheet of music.

Kaizen is not change for change’s sake. It’s deliberate, constant improvement, and changes that don’t actually bring you rewards shouldn’t be made. Improvement is a double-edged sword after all.

It never gets easier,
you just get better.


NCSHP 137th basic school graduation…

On Friday, 11 September 2015 members of  Wake & District  had the great honor to pipe|drum for the 137th Basic North Carolina State Highway Patrol School graduation.   Our band has the distinct privilege to rehearse at the NCSHP Training Center on Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings.  According to the cadets — the skirl of the pipes and war beat of the drums is a much appreciated sound at the end of a long days training.

On behalf of the members of our band – we wish North Carolina’s newest troopers all the best in the days, weeks, months and years ahead of them serving the citizen of the old North State.

God speed.

From the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety website
19 Cadets Graduate in Highway Patrol Ceremony

RALEIGH — Nineteen State Highway Patrol cadets, who endured 15 weeks of what Colonel Bill Grey called the toughest law enforcement training in the country, became state troopers today during a graduation ceremony in Cary.

Colonel Grey recognized the families who supported and  sacrificed along with the cadets for 15 weeks.  Grey told the cadets to keep those family members close, “and always remember the toughest part is not being a state trooper —– the toughest part is waiting on you to come home safely.

“It goes without saying that as a state trooper you will face many challenges and dangers that will test your courage,” Grey continued. “As we all know and see almost daily, the world can be a very dangerous place where bad things happen. Being a state trooper will require that you have the courage to run towards danger while others are running away; the courage to risk your own life to protect others and the courage to always stand up and do what’s right; whether its popular or not.”

Fst. Sgt. M.S. Whaley, the commandant for the 137th Basic Highway Patrol School, said to the more than 600 people attending the ceremony, “Approximately 15 weeks ago, on a very hot, humid day in May, I stood in front of 29 students who reported to our campus to become North Carolina state troopers. Of those 29 people, 19 lived up to the challenge of entrusting us with their time and energy to make the mark.”

To the graduating class, Whaley said, “You reported on your first day of this journey with much anxiety and uncertainty, yet with a clear charge and expectation of excellence.  Although each of you came here with distinct individuality, you have truly grown into a family with a mission greater than yourself:  The duty and the ability to serve your fellow man. Be confident and proud that you are joining a family and a team that is filled with some of the finest and most courageous people in the world.”

Courage, confidence and compassion are the three attributes that Colonel Grey said will make the cadets excellent state troopers.  He said compassion is the single most important quality which includeds sympathy for others and a desire to help.

“This is a tough job with at times heartbreaking situations and compassion is required,” Grey said.  “For it is these qualities that will enable you, in spite of the dangers, to protect and rescue others; that will compel you to stop on the side of a busy interstate in the blazing heat, freezing cold or pouring rain to help a stranded motorist; that empower you to stop and arrest an impaired driver at 3 in the morning so that the impaired driver and others eventually make it home safely. Be confident in the fact that you are the best trained, best prepared, law enforcement officers in the country.”

Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Dollar addressed the assembly and said that the level of commitment and dedication state troopers have every day, saving peoples’ lives on duty and off, makes them heros in her eyes. She told the cadets that being a state trooper is a great privilege, and with that comes a great responsibility.

“Always strive to do what’s right,” Dollar said.  “You will encounter good and evil througout the course of your employment and your lives.  Let the good direct your course.”

Colonel Grey quoted the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

“However, I do not worry about evil prevailing…because it is the good men and women of this world, like those that serve on the North Carolina Highway Patrol, who hold evil at bay and keep our citizens safe,’ Grey said.

The following is a list of the graduates:

137TH  Basic School Duty Assignment Request

Last Name First Name Home of Record Duty Station
Altman Gary W Mecklenburg H5 – Mecklenburg
Butler Robert J Pitt A7 – Lenoir
Crawford Tyson W Jackson G5 – Jackson
Felton, III David Wayne C2 – Wayne
Foreman Steve W Jackson G6 – Macon
Greschak Matthew C Wake D7 – Orange
Hall Robert K Anson H3 – Union
Hegmann Sean C Bertie A2 – Hertford
High, Jr. Louis M Sampson B2 – Sampson
Holcomb Andrew C Rockingham D2 – Guilford
Lee Chuck Catawba F5 – Lincoln
Phillips Hunter D Graham G6 – Graham
Rice Colby S Person D4 – Person
Robinette Trenten L Alexander F4 – Iredell
Sanders Nolan J Wayne C2 – Wayne
Sellers Matthew E Pender C6 – Johnston
Stone Justin S Davidson E1 – Davidson
Strickland Brian K Robeson B1 – Cumberland
Travis Brandon E Alexander F5 – Catawba



Contact: Sgt. Michael Baker
Date: September 11, 2015
Phone: (919) 733-5027


North American Pipe Band Calendar…

Wake and District partnered with Whisky and Tartan (along with 11 other North American pipe bands) to create the 2016 North American Pipe Band Calendar. Our Senior Drum Major, Jason Lane is featured as “Mr. July”.   Calendars are now available for only $20 (free shipping).  All proceeds will go directly to the bands. The calendar was created by Whisky and Tartan and is being sold by participating pipe bands as a fundraiser. If you would like to purchase a copy, and support the band, you can order a copy through the PayPal link below.  All copies will be autographed by Mr. July!  Purchase yours NOW from this link.


Based in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina — the Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (Wake & District) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to improve piping and drumming quality, culture and tradition in the region; we will not compromise people and the art. Established in 2006, our program honors those who sacrifice their lives while serving others; FOR OUR FALLEN is everything we stand for.  All contributions are taxi-deductible.


together, we can make beautiful music…

By Timothy Hinson

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon a promotional video for the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band. I’m sure many of you have seen this video. There are some pretty profound statements about what it means to be in a pipe band, as well as some of the rewards and challenges that come along with our hobby. I think it’s important for us all to hear these things.

When you feel discouraged because your instrument is being uncooperative, when you feel frustrated because your hands won’t do what you’re trying to tell them to do, (or even if you’re disappointed that your band is not as prepared as you thought it was to compete), remember that there are others out there experiencing the same frustrations. But, at the same time, remember the history we strive to preserve. Remember the joy that you get when things (infrequent as they may) go incredibly well and fill you with joy. Remember who we are and why we do what we do.

We, and our instruments, have good days and bad days. When we arrive at a performance, we expect to look our best, play our best, be our best. Unfortunately, sometimes not everyone is able to perform at their full potential due to the instrument, physical limitations or stresses from other parts of life. I think that St. Thomas Alumni’s Pipe Major, Jamie Gattinger, succinctly and eloquently characterized the contribution that members not in the circle still contribute to the success of the whole band:

“This is a fun experience. Enjoy it, and enjoy playing. If you get cut, that’s your contribution to the band that day. Be a water guy, a helper, a towel holder, a whatever. Just be a part of the team. It’s not that you’re being exiled.”

We all have a part to play. In the circle and out, playing members or groupies/operational support, we all have our place. Together, we can make beautiful music.

“Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”