Archive for the ‘Band Top Story’ Category


never give up…

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

These are his principles for living:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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




marching on…

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

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

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

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

By the right, quick, march!


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




all the souls we encounter…

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

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


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

Group #1

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

Group #2

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



winning and plain winning…

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

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

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

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

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

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


practice time 2015

practicing and playing mindsets…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


drummers are more intelligent…

According to a collection of studies, drummers are super smart, due to a variety of factors relating to being in the rhythm section.

The news comes courtesy of Polymic, who have compiled a series of reports from Oxford and Harvard universities to name a few. What they found was that that dude at the back of the band isn’t the head scratcher that you might think he is, in fact he is more likely to be the smartest of them all.

For example, researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet found that drummers who kept a tighter rhythm also scored better on a 60-question intelligence test. This is a reflection of better problem solving skills, which creates a positive impact on those around them.

If that wasn’t enough, other studies added that rhythmic music actually makes people smarter. A University of Washington study showed better results from participants who undertook rhythmic light and sound therapy. Additionally research from the University of Texas tested the same process on children with ADD, finding that it not only had the same effect as Ritalin, but their IQ’s actually went up.

Going further than simple intelligence, Oxford University found that drummers produced a “natural high” when playing together, which heightened both pain and happiness thresholds. On top of this, at Harvard, they discovered that drummers who missed a beat were actually tapping into the rhythm of the earth, which moves in waves rather than like a clock.

So there you go, drummers are not only smarter than everybody ever, but they are also at one with the earth and happier than you are.

Time to take up some lessons.



make music…

Stealing a little APPLE (Marin Scorsese) mantra…

You can’t do your work according to the people’s values. I’m not talking about ‘following your dream,’ either. I never like the inspirational value of this phrase. Dreaming is a way of trivializing the process, the obsession which carries you through the failure as well as the successes which could be harder to get through.

If you’re dreaming, you’re sleeping. It’s important and imperative to always be awake to your feelings, your possibilities, your ambitions. But you also know this, for your work, for your passions, every day is a re-dedication.

Pipers, snare drummers, bass drummers, tenors, it’s the same for all of you, all of us.
Every note and beat is a first step, every measure is a test, every line is a lesson, every tune is a school.

So, let the learning continue.


surrounded by positive people…

When I was a teenager I was the primary target of an extremely persistent bully at my high school.  One day I came home in tears and wrote this on the whiteboard hanging on my bedroom wall:  “I hate bullies.  They make me feel like a loser.”

The next day, while I was at school, my grandmother erased what I wrote on the whiteboard and replaced it with this:  “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”

And from that day forward I felt better.  I made a conscious decision to stop letting the bully get inside my head.  I changed my beliefs about his level of importance in my life.

It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over what you choose to believe.  You can effectively defend yourself against all kinds of negativity by adopting simple, yet powerful, beliefs that support a positive outlook in the face of seemingly negative circumstances.

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
―W. Clement Stone

Below you will find 15 such beliefs that have helped free me from the grips of negativity.  I have these beliefs written down in my journal, and I review them on a regular basis, as needed, just to keep them fresh in my mind.  I hope you will join me by adopting them into your own belief system as well…

  1. What other people say about me is their problem, not mine. – Don’t take other people’s negativity personally.  Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  What they say and do is a projection of their own reality.  Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you.  What others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.
  2. I am free to be ME. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?  Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and what they want.  Stop living for other people and their opinions.  Be true to yourself.  You are the only person in charge of your life.  The only question is: What do you want to do with the rest of it?
  3. Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is great. – Our goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life in radical amazement.  To get up every morning and take and good look around in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is extraordinary.  Every day is a gift.  Never treat life casually.  To be spiritual in any way is to be amazed in every way.
  4. It’s okay to have down days. – Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down.  However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs.  It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
  5. Even when I’m struggling, I have so much to be grateful for. – What if you awoke today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday?  We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of appreciating everything we do have.  Stress thrives when your worry list is longer than your gratitude list.  Happiness thrives when your gratitude list is longer than your worry list.  So find something to be thankful for right now.
  6. Every experience is just another important lesson. – Disappointments and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success.  So don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  When things go wrong, learn what you can and then push the tragedies and mistakes aside.  Remember, life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  We must fail in order to know, and hurt in order to grow.  Good things often fall apart so better things can fall together in their place.
  7. Not everything is meant to stay. – Change can be terrifying, yet all positive growth and healing requires change.  Sometimes you have to find the good in goodbye.  Because the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.  Be strong when everything seems to be going wrong, keep taking small steps, and eventually you will find what you’re looking for.  Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.
  8. Being wrong is the first step to being right. – Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.  To be creative and productive in life, you must first lose your fear of being wrong.  And remember, a fear like this can only survive inside you if you let it live there.
  9. I do not need to hold on to what’s holding me back. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become.  It’s time to break the beliefs and routines that have been holding you back.  Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer grows you.  Listen to your intuition, not your ego.  When you stop chasing the wrong beliefs, you give the right ideas a chance to catch you.  
  10. My happiness today is simply the result of my thinking. – Happiness starts with you – not with your relationships, not with your job, not with your money, but WITH YOU.  It is not always easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is always impossible to find it elsewhere.  Regardless of the situation you face, your attitude is your choice.  Remember, you can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude.  When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behavior, actions, and opportunities.  If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would try your best to never think another negative thought again.
  11. Who I spend quality time with matters. – Surround yourself with people who lift you higher – those who see the great potential in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.
  12. Drama and judgments are a waste of perfect happiness. – Make a promise to yourself.  Promise to stop the drama before it begins, to breathe deeply and peacefully, and to love others and yourself without conditions.  Promise to laugh at your own mistakes, and to realize that no one is perfect; we are all humanFeelings of self-worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible.  
  13. Most people are judging me far less than it seems. – The truth is, while you’re busy worrying about what others think of you, they’re busy worrying about what you think of them.  Crazy?  Yes, but true.  The good news is this knowledge instantly frees you to let loose and do more of what YOU want.  And while doing so, you’ll also liberate others to do the same.
  14. I can make the world a happier place. – Do your best to help one person every day in some small way.  By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answers to our own.  When the people around us are happier, it’s a lot easier to smile.
  15. The work is worth it. – Lose the expectation that 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 that 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 that the work is well worth it in the end.


Source: Marc and Angel #BeGreatful #NoBullies


a weekend with piper Dan Nevans…

Wake and District spent the weekend with Piper Dan Nevans of the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.  Dan was in the states competing at Winter Storm and made his way to Raleigh/Durham as a guest of Séamus and Jean Russell.  In addition to a weekend workshop with our G4 and G3 bands — Dan also put on a wee concert at the home of James Olin Oden.   Thank you to Dan for a wonderful weekend.  Safe home.


here’s to continuous improvement…

As the calendar turns to 2015, many people make resolutions to improve themselves in the New Year. Resolutions would be a good idea for Pipe Bands as well…

Some bands have specific needs to address in 2015 — like changing tunes, adding more pipers and/or drummers or finding new instruction.  Others may need to totally re-build.

What is your band’s new year’s resolution?  

One of ours is Kaizen.

What is Kaizen?  Kaizen is based on making changes anywhere improvements can be made. Western philosophy may be summarized as, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Kaizen philosophy is to “do it better, make it better, improve it even if it isn’t broken, because if we don’t, we can’t compete with those who do.”   #ContinuousImprovement

Our on-going mission remains remembering those who serve and protect us. 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 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. #RememberThem  #ForOurFallen

Happy New Year, everyone.