Archive for the ‘Band Top Story’ Category



The difference between success and failure is a great team.   When we first started Wake and District in the spring of 2006, we were not certain of what was to come.  We were police officers, lawyers, engineers, students, machinists, Doctors to name but a few — all tremendous individuals who shared a common goal of being a successful and driven pipe band standing ready to honor our fallen.

Ten years, three competition bands, 100+ members (past, present, traveling and guest) and hundreds of chanter reeds later, we’ve learned the only way to build a band with great success and scale is to build a great team.

No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as a band depends on your ability to build and inspire a team; members working well together toward a common mission and goals.   

Teams need to believe that their work is important.  Teams need to feel their work is personally meaningful.  Teams need clear goals and defined roles.  Team members need to know they can depend on one another.  But, most important, teams need psychological safety.  How do you do this?   Listen to one another.  Don’t interrupt.  Admit what we don’t know.  Don’t make excuses.

We need to encourage one another (especially when we are upset) to express frustrations and encourage teammates to respond in nonjudgmental ways; call out intergroup conflicts and resolve them through open discussions.

Bands succeed when everyone feels like they can speak up and when members show they are sensitive to how one another feels.

To inspire one another, we talk. We hate meetings, but love short huddles to inform, align and motivate one another. One effective way to begin or end a huddle is by sharing a quote. Here are 15 quotes from well-known coaches, athletes, business leaders, and authors that will compel you and your band members to work well together:

  1. “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi
  2. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” –Michael Jordan
  3. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie
  4. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
  5. “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” –Patrick Lencioni
  6. “I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition.” –Jean-Francois Cope
  7. “None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard
  8. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford
  9. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” –Henry Ford
  10. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson
  11. “Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence.” –Mike Schmoker
  12. “It takes two flints to make a fire.” –-Louisa May Alcott
  13. “Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” –Mattie Stepanek
  14. “To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” –Mike Krzyzewski
  15. “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” –James Cash Penney

You can do better with your team than you can alone. Here’s to your–and your team’s–success!


the sacrifices we make…

Sacrifice – the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

Sacrificing isn’t easy and it sure as heck isn’t always a whole lot of fun. But we make sacrifices because deep down in our hearts we recognize that there is a greater cause at stake. For some the cause is doing charitable service, for some the cause is family, for some the cause is religious, for some it may be friendship.

Whether it is the father that gives up golfing or fishing trips to be able to spend more time with his children, or it’s the mother who sets aside some of her own aspirations to be able to dedicate her days to raising her children, or it’s the person who donates their time and talents to serve their church, or it’s the person who gives up a fancy toy or belonging in order to help someone in need – All of those are examples of someone making a significant sacrifice. But sacrifice can also be as small as giving your time to open the door for someone, or it can be paying a few dollars for the meal of the person behind you at the drive through, or it can be turning off a favorite television show to read a book to a child, or it can be showing up at an event even when you are worn out to let someone else know they matter to you. All of those sacrifices – whether big or small – matter. They all make a difference. They all serve to improve the life of another. They are all important.

Investment – a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something

Life is full of hard choice on which sacrifices to make and the only way I know how to get through those hard choices is to step back and ask myself if the thing I am hanging onto is of greater value than the purpose that could be served if I make the sacrifice? Then to emotionally get through the blow of making the sacrifice I remind myself that what I am actually doing is making an investment into something of far greater value.

Whenever we sacrifice something what we are really doing is making one of the smartest investments we could ever make…we are investing into the greater good and what better investment could we make than that?

Have a glorious day!

from Amy Rees-Anderson



Virginia International Tattoo…

Members of the Wake and District Pipe Band (and some guest players) are on the road to Norfolk, Virginia to participate in the Virginia International Tattoo as part of the largest cast of over 1,500 performers! Military bands, drill teams, bagpipers, drummers, celtic dancers, choirs and more from around the globe will create a series of spectacular performances throughout the week of 18 April 2016.
What is a tattoo? A tattoo is a military performance of music or display of armed forces in general. The term comes from the early 17th century Dutch phrase doe den tap toe (“turn off the tap”), a signal sounded by drummers or trumpeters to instruct innkeepers near military garrisons to stop serving beer and for soldiers to return to their barracks.
The tattoo was originally a form of military music, but the practice has evolved into more elaborate shows involving theatrics and musical performances. It is also used to designate military exhibitions such as the Royal International Air Tattoo.
The term dates from around 1600 during the Thirty Years’ War in the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). The Dutch fortresses were garrisoned with mercenary troops that were under federal command since 1594. The Dutch States Army had become a federal army, consisting mostly of Scottish, English, German and Swiss mercenaries, but commanded by a Dutch officer corps. Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30PM) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. The process was known as doe den tap toe (Dutch for “turn off the tap”), an instruction to innkeepers to stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00PM). Tattoo, earlier tap-too and taptoo, are alterations of the Dutch words tap toe which have the same meaning.
Over the years, the process became more of a show and often included the playing of the first post at 21:30 hrs and the last post at 22:00. Bands and displays were included and shows were often conducted by floodlight or searchlight. Tattoos were commonplace in the late 19th century with most military and garrison towns putting on some kind of show or entertainment during the summer months. Between the First World War and the Second World War elaborate tattoos were held in many towns, with the largest in Aldershot, England.
Canada’s Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the largest annual indoor tattoo, each year featuring over 2000 performers from around the world. The tattoo has been produced since 1979 by Colonel Ian Fraser, who also produced the1967 Canadian Centennial Tattoo, the world’s largest travelling show. Through the course of his career Fraser has produced and / or directed more than 1000 international tattoo productions across the globe.
The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is unique in that it is a full theatrical production, comprising costume designers, props designers, full wardrobe staff, and is presented as ‘theatre in the round’. The show is intensely rehearsed over a two-week period and is a wholly combined military and civilian production. The Nova Scotia Tattoo was the first tattoo to receive royal designation on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th Birthday in 2006

The largest tattoo in the United States is the Virginia International Tattoo, held every year in Norfolk, Virginia.  Over 1,500 performers play traditional music and many international acts join every branch of the Armed Forces.

The United States Air Force holds tattoos for many different events and celebrations, like base openings and closers, and special events like the 21st Annual Langley Tattoo.[2] The Air Force’s largest tattoo is held the last Friday of June each year at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The 2010 tattoo there drew an estimated 75,000 people and featured the rock group .38 Special. The 2011 event featured aircraft flyovers and music by country group Lonestar.
The now-defunct Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands, and its Quebec City Military Tattoo, took place in August between 1998 and 2013.


talk to each other, not about each other…

“I’ve always believed that a lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.” — Ronald Reagan

All of us have made the mistake of believing gossip to be true at one time or another. I know there was a time many years ago when I myself got sucked into believing gossip that was shared with me by one person about another person I knew. This one person told me that this other person had said all kinds of horrible things about me. Rather than going directly to the source to ask if this other person had truly said these negative things about me I just believed it and as a result I stopped communicating with this other person altogether. It wasn’t until several years later I was with this other person again and we opened up to one another and I shared why I had stayed away. She shared that she had been told the very same thing about me by this person…we both had spent years feeling hurt about something that was totally untrue! Neither of us had felt the way the person told each of us we did…it was nothing more than gossip from someone who was insecure and looking to drive a wedge in our relationship so they could feel more important themselves and we were both dumb enough to believe it. Even worse we were both dumb enough to react to it by cutting the other person off! I decided that very day that I would never make that mistake again. I would never take gossip as truth. I would always commit to going directly to the source to obtain truth and then and ONLY THEN would I react to it.

If you want to truly know what a person thinks or feels then ask THAT person directly, and stop asking everyone else. Far too many relationships fall apart because someone talked about a person instead of to a person. And once a person lets themselves engage in gossip and speculation it is far too easy for them to cling to it as if it is truth when in reality it isn’t truth at all. From there it become a rapidly downward slide…they work themselves into a frenzy, their anger grows, and then they lash out…all as a reaction to gossip and speculation…sadly when the truth ends up being something totally different it is too late…the damage is done…relationships are ruined…

If a person is truly seeking the truth they will go directly to the source and get it firsthand – When a person doesn’t go to the source and instead they go to other people to discuss it, they don’t really want truth at all…they simply want to gossip.

My favorite quote to those who gossip is: “If you didn’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.”

And to those who hear gossip I would suggest they learn from my previous mistake – don’t believe it, and for heaven’s sake don’t allow yourself to react to it or lash out over it because once your words are spoken they can never be taken back…

If you want your relationships to last – talk to each other, not about each other.

From Amy Rees Anderson



your biggest haters are really your biggest fans…

Haters, bullies, mean people…they all have one thing in common…they all suffer from one of the following:

1.  They hate themselves,

2.  They want to be you, or

3.  They see you as a threat

Think about it – “Have you ever met a hater doing better than you? Me Neither….”

There are far too many examples of haters in the world today. Our schools are full of bullies. Our political arena is full of haters throwing shade at one another. Our news broadcasts are far too full of hateful stories or angry interviews. And then there are those adults who are bullies, haters, and just plain mean people. They use profanity as their means of communication, they call people vulgar names, they make up rumors and spread gossip, and they flat out lie in an attempt to vilify others…and they do all of this because they believe somehow it will make themselves feel better about who they are. They are wrong.

The truth is that anyone who hates or bullies is unhappy and insecure…Period. Even more disturbing is that they have led themselves to believe that if they put other people down they will then feel better themselves…but they won’t. They will only sink deeper into their black hole of unhappiness because hate only begets more hate…

So what do you do if there is a hater or a bully in your life?

  1.  I learned long ago that you can’t change someone else – they have to be the ones to change themselves. You cannot fool yourself into believing that if you stay around the other person you will eventually change them. You won’t.
  2. My father told me long ago that if you lie down with dogs you will get fleas. That is a fact. So by allowing bullies and haters to stay in your life you open yourself to catching fleas and no one should want that. You have the choice to walk away from that person and not let them continue to be a part of your life. No one benefits from allowing a toxic person into their life. No one.
  3. For our own sake we have to forgive the haters. No exceptions. However, forgiving does not mean allowing them to stay in your life. You can completely forgive someone, wish them the best, and still choose to remove them from your life. God expects us to forgive. God doesn’t expect us to subject ourselves to abusive situations. You have the right to remove yourself from people who are abusive with you or toxic to be around.
  4. Never be less than who you are meant to be in an attempt to please a hater. You can never do enough to make that hater happy. Happiness is a choice we all make for ourselves, no one makes it for us. So focus your attention on being the best you can be. Focus on improving yourself. Choose to be happy. And deep down just realize that your biggest haters are actually your biggest fans

Have the strength to shut the negative out and allow all of your room for the positive. And BE HAPPY because clearly you must be TOTALLY AWESOME or no one would have hated on you in the first place.

From Amy Rees Anderson



always, always, always keep moving forward…

Becoming a Champion doesn’t come easy. It takes an effort that goes far beyond the norm. It takes discipline, persistence, dedication, and total commitment. It takes working your guts out and never giving up. A Champion can’t do things halfway, they go all in on everything they do.

Anyone can be a Champion if they choose to be. All it takes is a willingness to put in the work, persevere, stay positive, never give up, and always, always, always keep moving forward.

“A champion is someone who does not settle for that day’s practice, the day’s competition, that day’s performance. They are always striving to be better. They don’t live in the past.” – Briana Scurry

Look forward, give it your best, and then give it a little more because YOU are a CHAMPION and that’s what you do!

The average runner runs until

The breath in him is gone,

But the champion has the iron will

That makes him carry on.

For rest the average runner begs

When limp his muscles grow,

But the champion runs on leaden legs.

His courage makes him go.

The average man’s complacent when

He’s done his best to score,

But the champion does his best and then,

He does a little more.

-Vaughn J. Featherstone

From Amy Rees-Anderson



living a life of honor…

Winning. It’s something that everyone wants because let’s face it, it is far more fun to win than it is to lose. But there is something that should mean more to all of us than winning does, and that is living a life of honor.

In the world today it too often feels that people are determined to win at all costs, even if it means sacrificing their integrity in order to do it. The sad part about that is that winning is a temporary satisfaction, whereas the regret of losing their honor will be permanent.

We have all seen it a million times. A person who wins in business, or sports, or a political race and everyone sings their praises and they receive that temporary satisfaction. But then it comes out that they stole to succeed, or they cheated to win, or they lied to get elected, and instantly the praises are gone and all respect for them is lost and they become a sad tale.

Now take the flip side of that. A person who loses in business, or sports, or a political race, but their performance was admirable, their efforts sincere, their integrity intact, their example undeniable. They may not have people initially singing their praises, but when people look back in time it is these people who will be remembered and respected the most. Their place of honor is permanent.

When we think of the people we respect the most, those heroes we all revere, we don’t revere them because they won or lost, we revere them for how they played the game. And that is why each of us should determine to live our own lives with honor, because the joy that will bring us is permanent.

Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life,
All I ask is a field that is fair,
A chance to be equal to all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare.

If I should win, let it be by the code
With my head and my honor held high.
If I should lose, let me stand by the road
And cheer as the winners go by.

From Amy Rees Anderson


who are we…

Wake and District worked with a local Raleigh designer, Joel Perrego of VAST DESIGN on branding our band.  We told Joel and his team we are a public safety bagpipe and drum band – formed in 2006, serving those who have chosen a career to serve others.  Our mission >> to provide a distinguishing tribute to our fallen comrades and to be in service to the family, friends and co-workers of public safety employees of North Carolina.  Our desire is to strengthen relations between the protective services and the public while preserving cultural heritage and enriching our community by providing quality traditional Bagpipe and Drum music. Our motto >> For Our Fallen << would become our shared value as members of Wake and District.

Change “company” to “band” and “employee” to “band member” – and apply the message in this article to your pipe band.

Successful companies don’t just have a brand identity, they create a total brand experience. A total brand experience causes people to FEEL their brand, and I can’t think of a finer example of a Company who has mastered creating a total brand experience then Disney.

Several years ago I was asked to come out to Disney Studios in Burbank, California to meet with one of their executives to discuss the film incentive program we offer in the State of Utah. I have always been a huge fan of Disney, from their theme parks to their family films, but it was on this particular trip that it struck me just how much Disney had mastered the art of creating the total brand experience. And as a CEO myself, going through the experience at their Studio that day gave me all kinds of ideas on how my own company could learn from Disney’s example of how to create a total brand experience.

It could almost go without saying that the décor branding Disney does is nothing short of amazing! From the moment you pull up to the street for Disney Studios you see the rod iron fence has Mickey Mouse heads molded from iron inside the fence. When you get past the guard you see a grassy area with a bronze statue of Walt Disney sitting on a bench next to Mickey Mouse. Every wall is covered with framed movie posters of the films they have done. The restaurant for lunch was inside the Studio and even the chair backs were wooden with carved out Mickey Mouse heads. They completely envelop you in the Disney brand and you just FEEL that Disney brand while you are there. It made me realize the impact it has when a company carries their brand through every aspect of their offices. For example, if a company is international they could add international flags outside of their building to have the brand identity felt from the time some drives up. But it can’t stop there. The brand needs to be tied into each room of the office, from the lobby to the restrooms, there needs to be brand elements incorporated throughout the entire space that create a feeling of your Company’s brand the way that Disney does.

In addition to the décor, a brand experience requires the efforts of the people.

“You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it requires people to make the dream a reality.” –Walt Disney

When I arrived at the security gate of the studio the guards greeted me by name with a huge smile on their faces as if they were so excited that I had arrived! They expressed how honored they were to have me visit them. They made me feel like I was the queen of the castle arriving…it felt really nice! It made me realize how impactful that initial impression is when you first arrive at the front entry of a company. Little things like having a welcome sign with the arriving guests name displayed as they enter the building and having a person assigned to await the guests’ arrival so they can enthusiastically greet them by name can make all the difference in showing your guests that you value them. In true Disney fashion, you could even consider rolling out a red carpet runner for the arrival of those extra special guests.

After passing through the entry, they then directed me to the next guard station where the guard had a badge printed with my name, the date and time, and the name of the Disney executive that was hosting me for the day’s visit. That was a nice touch as it made others aware of who I was there to see. Every company should give a badge like this to their visitors when they arrive because it helps the guest feel more comfortable and it alerts employees of who the guest is there to visit.

At the end of the day I understood why a Company’s brand experience is dependent on the behavior and attitude of its employees. A nicely decorated lobby will become meaningless if the employee at the desk isn’t willing to greet a visitor with a smile, and the employee on the phone isn’t willing to create a “wow” experience for the customer they are supporting.

The best way for any company to begin transforming their brand identity into a total brand experience is to have the Leader communicate their Company’s desire to create it and ask the employees to help them to make it happen. Ask employees for ideas on how to use design elements to incorporate the brand into every aspect of the company office décor. Ask every employee to think through every single touch point where a customer has any interaction whatsoever with their company, whether it be a touch point in person, through a company website, through a company software application, or over the telephone, and create a comprehensive list that includes all of those touch points. Then walk through each one and have each employee give ideas on what can be done to ensure that a brand experience is created at every single one of those touch points and have them vote for their favorite ideas. Then use the best ideas to create an overall action plan that can be implemented throughout the organization.

Including every employee in the process of coming up with ideas is the best way to garner support from each person in the organization. Everyone enjoys the excitement of being part of the improvement process and everyone appreciates knowing their ideas are valued by their company. Walt Disney was bold in letting his people know how pivotal they were, stating “The whole thing here is the organization. Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group. A tribute to our combined effort. I feel there is no door which, with the kind of talent we have here, cannot be opened.” With a leader like that it is no wonder that they have been able to create the magical brand experience we all know and love called Disney.

Amy Rees Anderson (follow my daily blog at )

Vast Design helped Wake & District understand who we are through a creative, strong and humble design which speaks volumes.  The mark consists of FOF, For Our Fallen, making the shape of a shield. The checkered Battenburg pattern is traditional and worn by the band members (read more on why we wear checkered Glengarry hats here). The mark represents everything Wake & District stands for, “For Our Fallen”.


settling for something less…

The speed at which we expect everything today is almost unbelievable. We as a society want everything RIGHT NOW! We want our food instantly, we want our internet speed to be instantaneous, we want answers to questions to be given immediately, we want the news the instant it happens….

We want everything right here, right now, and the thought of waiting for anything has become almost foreign to us.

I thought about this today as I was looking up some info on the web and found that our internet connection was having serious slowness issues. I was so frustrated I almost couldn’t take it. I was sitting with one of the partners at work when the slowness began and I asked him, “Do you ever wonder how we actually functioned when our Internet speed was always this slow?” We both talked about how crazy it was that we used to have to live like that…we would search something and then wait for a minute or more to get our response…how in the world did we ever function??  Neither of us could imagine going back to a world like that.

We are so used to having everything so quickly that it has become the baseline of our expectations and anything that goes outside of that is simply unacceptable.  I can’t help but see this as both a blessing and a curse.

On the blessing side we have information and capacity to do things so much faster today which allows us to move forward more quickly and accomplish far more than we ever could before.

On the curse side we expect everything immediately which has almost trained people to accept what you can have instantly rather than working for what they truly want in life. There is also a tendency for people to be willing to trade what they want most for what they can have right now, sacrificing the things that are most important in the process.

I suppose in the end it is up to each of us personally to make the choice to embrace the blessings of instant gratification and avoid the curses. We should embrace the innovations that have brought things into our lives more quickly, but commit to not allowing ourselves to become so impatient that we would trade off the things in life we truly want by settling for something less that we can have right now.

Slow down.  Focus and simplicity.
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

From Amy Rees Anderson



we’re still winners…

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.   To Elizabeth Pagano and the nOg Run Club members (everyone associated with this years St. Paddy’s Run Green 8k) — you do an amazing job of organizing these events.   World Records are nice – we’re still winners.

This year’s kilt run wasn’t easy.  The change of venue, 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.

To Elizabeth and Pete Pagano, Annie Nice (the entire staff at The Raleigh Beer Garden), thank you for doing what you do and having the pipe band be a part of it.  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 mate from the Charleston Pipe Band— we appreciate you lending your support (your comradery is valued – thanks taking part in our shenanigans).  To 9 Times Around — who provided so much foot stomping inspiration – it’s always a pleasure!

We had a GREAT time closing out the St. Patrick’s Day season with this wee kilt run.  We didn’t break the record, but shoren begorrah a grand time was had by all!

Band, stand at ease.

Here are some FANTASTIC band related photos from Rhesa Versola —