Archive for the ‘Band Top Story’ Category


the impending vicissitudes…

It’s after April 15th — taxes are in the mail, and now it’s time to tackle the real challenge of Spring — pipe band competitions. Well, not exactly, but all around the world, bands of all sizes are gearing up for the new season of piping and drumming from G5 to G1.  As we approach this rite of passage with a combination of excitement and dread, we ponder the impending vicissitudes: the thrill of success, and the agony of defeat—not the euphemism, the real deal— registering in every fiber of our  being and right there for everyone to see.

Folks may start out with the best intentions and grip on their emotions picture— the tuning to Scotland the Brave, flam after flam — but with the first error (or perceived error) things degenerate quickly and it’s Jackson Pollock on a bad day. There’s the pre-game freak out, the post-game melt down, the throwing down of the pipes, drumsticks, or whatever the case may be, followed by the “I hate everything, everything stinks, I quit” self-recrimination rant that occurs once the doors auto-shut on the mini-van.

Why is it that some players can’t lose? Is it their über focus on getting being the “champion”, the pressure to accept anything else but beyond the best? While there is no doubt that those success-crazed folks gone wild don’t help and need to be benched themselves, usually they only broadcast in stereo the message going through a player’s own mind: winning is everything; losing is the end of the world as we know it.

It’s also clear that our culture is out of whack, witness the 5:00 am sports practices, travel tournaments for 2nd graders, and cut-throat competition for all. While rectifying these variables will certainly improve the outcome, it will not eliminate the problem of folks who fall apart in the face of defeat. Especially since many of these folks fall apart even with just the anticipation of defeat. So losing isn’t the real disaster for these people, their relationship to losing, is the disaster.

We have all been witness to the poor sportsmanship and in those moments we thank goodness it’s somebody else’s band freaking out this time and not ours. But if you’re a player, chances are your number will come up, and you will be that band too. Until you can help your fellow players change the news feed in their mind about what just happened, no reassurance or tough love will be a match for the wrath or despair of your miserable player in ghilless.

What’s it all about? Are we being bratty sore losers, or is there call for compassion?

No one likes to lose, but for some folks losing isn’t a superficial scratch on the ego, it goes deep. In fact the reason why some have trouble losing is that they can’t hold on to who they were before the loss; instead, no matter how many successes they had under their belt, the loss transforms them irrevocably into a loser. It’s as if each game is a gamble where they put all their chips on the table, and if they lose, they’re cleaned out of all of their assets. If this is starting to sound like some people you know, including yourself, read on, the solutions are pretty much one size fits all.

The secret to a successful season isn’t just taping up the chanter, getting your tempos right, roll and repeat… it’s building up your muscle to lift yourself out of disappointment, and quickly. Even if your putting in hours everyday practicing, the way you ares going to succeed in piping and drumming (and in life) is to make friends with, or at least not be mortal enemies with, losing.

In sports more than any other arena, losing is a built-in. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s the other team, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yet, for many, it’s like they never saw it coming and it knocks them flat on the ground. The more who can re-think what it means to lose, the more they will be resilient people—not only bouncing back from disappointments, but coming back stronger, because they’ve made use of what went wrong to improve— for the next time— what they can do right.


These strategies will help maintain perspective when there are those disturbances on the field and put the bounce back in your spirit:

  1. Empathize, Empathize, Empathize! Though it’s tempting to rush in and reassure or correct your thoughts and feelings (by saying, don’t feel that way, don’t say that, that’s not true!), this will only get folks more upset because rightfully so, they feel you haven’t heard them. Instead reflect what they are saying, “this feels like the worst day of your life,” or, “you feel like you’re the worst player.” Empathizing doesn’t mean agreeing with their conclusions, it means accepting that this state at this moment. By hearing your thoughts played backwe are often able to move beyond the feelings and recognize how we are different from the facts, “I feel that way, but I know it’s not true.”
  1. Lower the Stakes not the Standards: Separate your Values from the Outcome of the Game.Your values as a human being are not at stake every time he steps on the field (it only feels that way), your value is a permanent possession. Don’t dispense with the importance of playing well, but dispense with the inaccurate interpretation of what it means to lose: ask what it means to if we lose, and then ask to think what it really means in life. What is the interpretation that the coach has? The other players? Even MVPs lose games and strike out—lots of games, lots of strike outs. It doesn’t mean you are a loser or even a bad player, it’s one moment in time. The outcome of the game is temporary and changeable, your value, permanent and only will improve with effort.  
  1. Find the Wins within the Losses and Learn from the Mistakes: While every game or event has winners and losers, the real loss is when you don’t give credit where credit is due. Ask your what went well. Don’t dispense with the credit just because it is easy. While you are critical of the one things we did wrong, we will be dismissing and devaluing the things we did well, because in the all or none game, if you can’t do it all, you lose. Not so. Look at professional athletes, the best hitters have the most errors, the best basketball players can’t master the free shots.  Help make the crisis an opportunity for learning how to improve: analyze like a detective what went wrong and see if there are things to make it happen differently next time (practicing a particular skill, staying focused on the game).
  1. Separate the Feelings from the Facts and Ditch the Absolutes: When we’re upset our feelings are extreme, fortunately the facts are not. Best way to point this out is to simply reflect back what we say and remind ourselves that feelings are strong at first, but they pass; they don’t last forever.  So, if someone says: “Everyone is better!” you say, “It feels like everyone is better than you—is that what you really think is true, or just how you are feeling right now?”  Listen and help your mates correct the absolutes: “everyone is better” becomes “some people play better, some don’t”, “I never do anything right,” becomes, “I usually play well, this was a tough game.” “I stink at everything” becomes I am strong in pitching, I need to practice my fielding more.
  1. Identify the Outlier: When perfectionist players make a mistake they assume that error redefines their life, starts a new trend for them as a loser. Help them see that exceptions here and there do not make a new rule, separate their baseline playing from the outliers or exceptions that are going to occur.
  2. Identify Where We are On the Learning Curve: Ask when we started to learn how to _______. Think through about how long it will take to learn a new skill and how she will know when they have mastered it. Ask to draw a curve and make an X to denote your current position.
  1. Control What You Can: Set Your Own Personal Goal: Help go into a game with one or two ideas about what we want to do differently in this game, that way regardless of the outcome of the game, we can circle back to the goals and see how we did with the part we could control. 
  1. Bring in the Pros: How Would Your Favorite Player Narrate the Story? Identify with your band one or several players who they look up to and “ask” (imagine) what they would say about a tough game. Imagine or research how they have dealt with their own challenging games. Every sport has examples of winners who also lose, this is the norm.  Take Ryan Howard, first basemen of the Phillies, who won MVP in 2006. In that year he had more home runs and RBIs than any other player in major league baseball, AND, had 199 strikeouts in 2007, the all time strikeout mark for a hitter in a season! If Ryan were telling the story, he’d probably say, don’t let those losses get in the way of your success!


We all want to protect our mates from disappointment, but the more we can see that disappointments are survivable, ordinary moments of life, the less we will stumble and get stuck. We will not only be more resilient and more willing to get in there and play, we will probably play better because we’re are not doing battle with ourselves on the field (let alone how much more pleasant the rides home will be).

#Grit — firmness of mind or spirit



what drives you…

‘Sacrifice’ Motivational Statements :: with Les Brown, Eric Thomas & Ray Lewis – invest a few minutes in these words… 

There will never be a point in your  in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they become satisfied.

People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide.When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have.

When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.

There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.

You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done.

You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.

What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.

If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.

I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.

And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.

Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.

Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.

The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.

The question is what are you going to do with your time?
What drives you?
Greatness is a lot of small things done well.
Day, after day. Workout after workout.
Obedience after obedience.

When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.

You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I challenge you to push yourself.

See it’s easy to be on the bottom,
it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser.
It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive
in order to stay down there on a low level.
But it calls on everything in you.
You have to harness your will to say
I’m going to challenge myself.

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.

Yet the biggest enemy that you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I got a saying that when life knocks you down, try to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up. If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.

See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying yes to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. Yes to your unfolding future. Yes to your potential. As opposed to saying no.

When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.

Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.



take the throne…

Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle of the Throne has begun.   It will stretch from the south, where heat burdens reeds, tempos and attitudes; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of kudzu protects the field from the dark forces which lie beyond (Canadians). Pipers and Drummers, knights and renegades, liars, lords and larpers…all will play the Game of  Thrones.

The new competition season for the G5, G4 and G3 members of the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums begins in Loch Norman on Saturday, 18 April 2015.  #FoF  #TakeTheThrone

Here is some info on Wake and District and what motivates us…

Hard work. Members of Wake and District preach a lot about hard work. Always posting about it and writing about. A lot of people work hard. But they don’t get where they want to go. We fall into the trap of sometimes life isn’t fair – and the reality hard work won’t turn us into the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

Since we stepped onto the EUSPBA competition field for the first time at Loch Norman in 2008 — we’ve realized we have two options: work hard – systematically go after the things you want – or – complain and hope things change. We all realize “hope” is a really bad plan. So, don’t confuse success with winning. Set the tone for success. Help your band go after things you want and push no matter the circumstances.

Hard work is the currency of success — HARD WORK IS never-ending. The harder we have to work, the greater the stakes, and the scarier it all becomes; exciting, but scary. Don’t get caught up in “we’re only as good as our last run” or “we won”.

We need to work hard to continue to deliver. The second you’re not hungry or hustling – you don’t matter. Play or do not play. Hard work keeps us good, it is our competitive advantage. We rehearse to be the best – we hustle, we work. We don’t walk in with instant success. Have goals and keep the mission on the horizon — the advantage is to never lose this mindset.

Systematically cut-away and move forward with the understanding expectations are not always met. When goals are not met we have two additional choices:

  • Systematically, aggressively, go after your goal through hard work and hustle.
  • Blame the judges, other bands, players in your band, the weather, the rules, your gear, the other band’s honey badger and it’s feisty attitude, whatever.
  • There are no “secrets” to success. Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.





good teachers

ways to practice…

As a boy growing up in New Orleans,  remembers his father, Ellis, a pianist, and his friends talking about “sheddin’.” When they got together, theyʼd say, “Man, you need to go shed,” or “I’ve been sheddin’ hard.” When he was around 11, he realized that sheddin’ meant getting to the woodshed – practicing. By the age of 16, Wyston understood what the shed was really about – hard, concentrated work. 

When his brother Branford and he auditioned for their high school band, the instructor, who knew their father, was excited about Ellisʼ sons coming to the band. But his audition was so pitiful he said, “Are you sure youʼre Ellis’ son?”

At the time, his comment didn’t bother Wynton because he was more interested in basketball than band. Over the next several years, however, he began practicing seriously. Practice is essential to learning music – and anything else, for that matter. Wynton likes to say that the time spent practicing is the true sign of virtue in a musician. When you practice, it means you are willing to sacrifice to sound good. 

Even if practice is so important, kids find it very hard to do because there are so many distractions. Thatʼs why he always encouraged them to practice and explain how to do it. Wynton developed what he calls “Wynton’s 12 Ways to Practice.” These will work for almost every activity – from music to schoolwork to sports.


Wyntonʼs Twelve Ways to Practice: From Music to Schoolwork
Published in the Education Digest | Sept 1996 

1. Seek out instruction: Find an experienced teacher who knows what you should be doing. A good teacher will help you understand the purpose of practicing and can teach you ways to make practicing easier and more productive.

2. Write out a schedule: A schedule helps you organize your time. Be sure to allow time to review the fundamentals because they are the foundation of all the complicated things that come later. If you are practicing basketball, for example, be sure to put time in your schedule to practice free throws.

3. Set goals: Like a schedule, goals help you organize your time and chart your progress. Goals also act as a challenge: something to strive for in a specific period of time. If a certain task turns out to be really difficult, relax your goals: practice doesnʼt have to be painful to achieve results.

4. Concentrate: You can do more in 10 minutes of focused practice than in an hour of sighing and moaning. This means no video games, no television, no radio, just sitting still and working. Start by concentrating for a few minutes at a time and work up to longer periods gradually. Concentrated effort takes practice too, especially for young people.

5. Relax and practice slowly: Take your time; donʼt rush through things. Whenever you set out to learn something new – practicing scales, multiplication tables, verb tenses in Spanish – you need to start slowly and build up speed.

6. Practice hard things longer: Donʼt be afraid of confronting your inadequacies; spend more time practicing what you canʼt do. Adjust your schedule to reflect your strengths and weaknesses. Donʼt spend too much time doing what comes easily. Successful practice means coming face to face with your shortcomings. Donʼt be discouraged; youʼll get it eventually.

7. Practice with expression: Every day you walk around making yourself into “you,” so do everything with the proper attitude. Put all of yourself into participating and try to do your best, no matter how insignificant the task may seem. Express your “style” through how you do what you do.

8. Learn from your mistakes: None of us are perfect, but donʼt be too hard on yourself. If you drop a touchdown pass, or strike out to end the game, itʼs not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, analyze what went wrong and keep going. Most people work in groups or as part of teams. If you focus on your contributions to the overall effort, your personal mistakes wonʼt seem so terrible.

9. Donʼt show off: Itʼs hard to resist showing off when you can do something well. In high school, I learned a breathing technique so I could play a continuous trumpet solo for 10 minutes without stopping for a breath. But my father told me, “Son, those who play for applause, thatʼs all they get.” When you get caught up in doing the tricky stuff, youʼre just cheating yourself and your audience.

10. Think for yourself: Your success or failure at anything ultimately depends on your ability to solve problems, so donʼt become a robot. Think about Dick Fosbury, who invented the Fosbury Flop for the high jump. Everyone used to run up to the bar and jump over it forwards. Then Fosbury came along and jumped over the bar backwards, because he could go higher that way. Thinking for yourself helps develop your powers of judgment. Sometimes you may judge wrong and pay the price; but when you judge right you reap the rewards.

11. Be optimistic: How you feel about the world expresses who you are. When you are optimistic, things are either wonderful or becoming wonderful. Optimism helps you get over your mistakes and go on to do better. It also gives you endurance because having a positive attitude makes you feel that something great is always about to happen.

12. Look for connections: No matter what you practice, youʼll find that practicing itself relates to everything else. It takes practice to learn a language, cook good meals or get along well with people. If you develop the discipline it takes to become good at something, that discipline will help you in whatever else you do. Itʼs important to understand that kind of connection. The more you discover the relationships between things that at first seem different, the larger your world becomes.


In other words,
the woodshed can open up a whole world of possibilities.


don’t be a bully…

We’ve heard it said that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. If this is true, then what is it about these particular managers that cause people to bail? What poor behaviors are being displaying that drive talent away and risk the success of their organizations?

If you are in a leadership role, now is the time to pay attention. Here is my list of eight bad leadership behaviors you must eliminate if you want to keep top talent and set the stage for your organization to prosper and thrive.

1. FAILING TO LISTEN TO THOSE YOU LEAD :: Do you listen to your team members when they share information with you? Are you listening to what they tell you in meetings and appointments? And, do you care about what they are telling you? Because you are working with many people, personalities and work styles, it is imperative that you pay attention to the issues, concerns, successes, and challenges of each of your team members. Good leaders know what their team members are doing, take the time to listen when they need mentoring and go to bat for them whenever necessary. Failing to listen will result in frustrated team members who lose faith in their leader and their organization.

2. FAILING TO EMBRACE AND UTILIZE THE TALENTS OF THOSE YOU LEAD :: Each of your team members has a unique gift that brings value to your organization. Do you know what these unique gifts are for each of your team members? Have you taken the time to discuss with each team member how you want to embrace and utilize their gifts? Have you consulted with each team member on the knowledge they have regarding your industry and how they can help you improve your organization because of their gifts?

Good leaders actively embrace and engage their team members in work that compliments their unique gifts and brings value to their organizations. Failing to engage your team will result in  discouragement, lack of motivation, and low productivity for your organization.

3. FAILING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE WORK OF THOSE YOU LEAD :: When is the last time you thanked your team members for the work they do? How often do you acknowledge their efforts, address their successes, and identify how each member has contributed to making your organization a success? Good leaders take the time to acknowledge efforts and success and they end with a charge that motivates future effort and success. Acknowledging good work will build loyalty and empowerment in your team members and they will be determined to do their best work for you. Failing to acknowledge your team will drive down performance and effort eventually harming the progress of your organization.

4. WITHHOLDING INFORMATION FROM THOSE YOU LEAD :: What are you doing to keep your team informed of issues in their departments? Are you sharing positive feedback as well as negative? If a complaint is made regarding a team member, do you address it with that person immediately? Do you collect all the facts before you make a judgment or a decision on how you should proceed? Good leaders are loyal to their team members and make every effort to address and correct performance issues with them. Failing to communicate crucial performance information will destroy loyalty to both you and your organization.

5. BEING A SPIN DOCTOR :: Do you avoid giving your team members straight answers to their questions? When your team members need answers, are you denying them direct, clear and specific information? If you are unwilling to provide a straight answer, you are withholding information and cutting off valuable communication to your team. Good leaders answer directly and are not afraid of communicating positive or negative information to their team members. Failing to provide answers when needed will result in mistrust from your team. And, mistrust will result in poor performance that harms your organization.

6. BEING A BOUNCER :: Do you demand that all information, content, ideas, suggestions, proposals, and so on, end with you? Do you refuse your team members access to higher level management, or deny them the privilege of assisting you in presenting their ideas and/or information to higher level management?

If so, you are a bouncer keeping your team behind that proverbial white line. Good leaders provide their team members the honor of sharing their unique gifts and value to the entire organization. This builds enthusiasm, trust, and loyalty and failing to remove the white line will result in discouragement, reduction in  performance and potential for harming your organization.

7. HOLDING GRUDGES AGAINST THOSE YOU LEAD :: Perhaps a team member disagreed with a decision you made. Or, you were criticized by a team member and you took it personally. Do you turn these conflicts into grudges? If so, this is not leadership behavior and, if you are not able to grow a thick skin, you have no business leading. Good leaders welcome feedback from their team members knowing the importance of allowing everyone a voice. Organizations run at their best when everyone holds one another accountable. Failing to allow your team members to have a voice will destroy trust and critical feedback necessary for the organization to run at its best.

8. BULLYING THOSE YOU LEAD :: Maybe you don’t physically push, punch or trip up your team members, but are you doing it emotionally? Do you talk down to your team members or use a condescending tone? Perhaps you disrespect your team members or shame them in public. If so, you are a bully and your team members will do everything possible to avoid you. And, avoidance will result in poor communication, lack of motivation, loss of productivity, and an organization heading for ruin. Good leaders make it a point to be approachable and respected by their team members. You must be the go to person for their issues and concerns in order to maintain a strong, successful organization.


So, how did you do?
Are you guilty of any of these?

Remember, it only takes one of these behaviors
to begin blazing a trail of destruction through your organization.
However, there is hope for you. Identifying what you are doing wrong is the first step.
Remember. You have the power to change and it is never too late to become a leader who will bring your organization to the top.


do you have the spirit…

On April 1, 2015 — the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums and the City of Atlanta Pipe Band put out a fake (April Fools’) press release:   “The premier pipe bands of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Southern Branch (the City of Atlanta Pipe Band and Raleigh’s Wake and District Pipe Band) are pleased to announce the merger of their two organizations into one — the “RalAnta” Spirit of the South Pipe Band (#SoS) – competing in Grades 5, 4, 3 and 2 in the Southern EUSPBA branch and beyond…” 


Yes, the RalAnta “Spirit of the South” pipe band was an April Fool’s Day joke – but lets rally around the idea of the gilded Spirit of the South arising from the flames — and help raise scholarship funds for young pipers and drummers in the Eastern United Sates Pipe Band Association’s Southern Branch — through a BOOSTER t-shirt campaign.  SHOW YOUR SPIRIT — ORDER a t-shirt TODAY HERE!!!

We felt we should leverage the interest and hype by actually creating the Spirit of the South t-shirt mentioned in the full (fake) press release — and direct all funds raised to to help young and aspiring pipers and drummers from our EUSPBA Southern Branch — further their pipe/drum educations.

The Wake and District Pipe Band will match every dollar raised – creating a scholarship for young EUSPBA Southern Branch pipers/drummers.

ORDER a t-shirt TODAY HERE!!!


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.



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