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On Monday, 09 January 2017 the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums held our annual general meeting to review and plan for 2017 and beyond.  While Hoth like conditions enveloped the Raleigh-Durham region, about a dozen+ members were physically in attendance and another 35+ enjoyed the live stream on our members Facebook page.  A summary of the band’s presentation can be seen below.

Our band manager began the meeting with this quote —

Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.

As Ken Blanchard declared, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Feedback is the quickest way to learn about our weaknesses and those areas we most need to improve. Knowing our weaknesses is the most important step in overcoming them. So, why then do people get defensive the moment they receive feedback that challenges or corrects them if that is the very thing needed for them to improve?  This was addressed in an earlier post.

The evening commenced discussing Esse quam videri; to be, rather than to seem.  We were struck by this phrase as Wake and District has grown from our NC roots into a renowned and respected organization.   

  • To be: who you really are
  • To seem: who you want people to think you are

The words express the value of authenticity and are a good litmus test for us as we go forward.  For this conversion to be real and substantive, it must transform who we are and everything we do.

For this conversion to be real and substantive, it must transform who we are and everything we do.

The meeting continued on reminding everyone of our stated mission:

To provide a distinguishing tribute for our fallen heroes.

To be of service to the family, friends and co-workers of public safety employees of Raleigh, Wake County and all those who serve and protect throughout North Carolina.

Strengthen relations between the protective services and the public and to preserve cultural heritage and enrich our community by providing traditional bagpipe and drum music.

For Our Fallen is everything we stand for.

We will follow our mission while being mindful of the steps we are taking as a band.

We moved forward into the business of the band.  Elections were held and we are pleased to announce Joe Brady will continue to serve as band manager, Lindsey Kosydar as assistant band manager, John Schodtler as treasurer, Lloyd Johnson as secretary and Seth Wells as member at large.  It is reassuring to see 2 of our 6 founding band members on the board for the band.

The board went on to re-appoint existing NCOs and add new ones.  The band NCOs for 2017 are as follows:

  • Dalton Marshall, pipe major
  • Michael Iannuzzi, drum sergeant
  • Jason Lane, drum major
  • John McKeveny, drum major
  • Joe Brady, pipe sergeant
  • John Schodtler, pipe sergeant
  • Seth Wells, pipe sergeant
  • Andrew Kosydar, drum corporal
  • Ken McKeveny, G3 pipe major
  • Billy Gehringer, G3 lead tip

The board appointed  section leaders for the 2017 competition season.  They include:

  • Ken McKeveny, G3 pipe major and Billy Gehringer, lead tip
  • Dalton Marshall and Michael Iannuzzi as  G5 registered instructors

A 2016 year in review was discussed (a detailed description by our band secretary, Lloyd Johnson, can be found here).  We highlighted our renewed focus on perspective — reigniting the fires of ambition and commitment — and reminded ourselves to stay centered; not forget who we are and the mission we strive to fulfill.

We went on to recognize the following competition related accomplishments — 2016 was a full of constant change and evolution.  We ended our competition season with the following results:

  • G3 ranked 6th overall EUSPBA (21 bands)
  • G4 ranked 16th overall EUSPBA (41 band)
  • G5 25th place overall EUSPBA (93 bands)

As discussed at the 2016 AGM – it was a year of constant change and evolution.  We are proud of all of our members and their commitment to the work. 

A discussion was had how members, music and uniforms come and go; it was sad to see several plays step away from Wake and District in 2016.  We are happy to announce so many new players joining the band – including new “traveling players”.

We are also excited to be starting a new academy of new piping and drumming students.

The band made tremendous investments throughout 2016 — purchasing new Premier snare drums and Hosbilt mid-section drums.  We also invested in new competition vests purchased with the help of USA KILTS.  The new kit will debut at the Loch Norman Highland Games in April.

Expectations were discussed in terms of rehearsals – in addition to competitions and performances.   The band is progressing and learning new music.  Missing a rehearsal during this growth period sets members and the group back.

Our Pipe Major reminded us — “…in life we are a family, but when we circle up, we flip the switch to become a team.  Both are crucial for the band’s success, but let us all attempt to create a clear line between the two.”

We discussed which games we will be attending in 2017 as a band.  They include:

  • Loch Norman (Rural Hill, NC) 08 April
  • Virginia Tattoo (Norfolk, VA) 29 April
  • Murphy Indoor (Raleigh, NC) 22 July
  • Chicago Games (Chicago, IL) 17 June
  • Celtic Classic (Bethlehem, PA) 23 Sep
  • Stone Mountain (Georgia) 14 Oct
  • Central VA (Richmond) 21 Oct

We also marked out  dates for events which include the following:

  • Burns Supper
  • North Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parades
  • Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day events
  • Running of the St. Paddy’s Saturday, 25 March
  • Tartan Day North Carolina Thursday, 06 April
  • NCFFF Memorial March and Service
  • Raleigh Indoor Pipe Band Contest and after party 22 July
  • and perhaps a concert or revival of our Tartan Ball in November…

The band is progressing and learning new music – most of which will be classic marches.  Our set list will include:

  • Amazing Grace
  • Cullen Bay
  • Crags of Tumbledown Mountain + At Long Last
  • Scotland the Brave + Rowan Tree
  • Green Hills + Battle’s O’er + Balmoral
  • O’Sullivan’s March + Jean Mauchline
  • Band QMM: (Shoals of Herring + Farewell to Nigg + Pipe Major JK Cairns)
  • New Band MEDLEY
  • G3 Medley
  • G3 MSR

As always, some new tunes, some old tunes, some modified tunes and some tunes archived; something for everyone. While mistakes may originate from a single person, it is the band that makes it.  It’s not a matter of ‘don’t be that person‘, but instead, that ‘we do not have that person‘.   No matter where or when, we should display the best the band has to offer.

Our Uniform Standards Guide was updated by our senior Drum Major, Jason Lane.  It provides detailed instruction on our various uniforms and how they should be worn.  A discussion was had on the importance of appearance and having all the proper uniform items on hand.

Our senior piping instructor, Ken McKeveny thanked everyone for their hard work throughout 2016 and asked for everyone’s commitment to practicing at home and coming to rehearsals ready to play.  Competing both as a band and as solos was discussed – and we look forward to many of our members stepping onto the solo boards.  Ken asked members to stop making excuses and come to play.   Progress was made throughout year with tonality much improved.  We struggled maintaining numbers in circle for all grades.

He went on to add members should step down when not at their best; it’s about the band – not you.  He closed his comments asking us to  participate fully and have fun.

Ken’s goal for 2017 — for the G5 and G3 bands to march off as winners at the same contests.

The evening was closed with a quote from Matthew Kelly’s The Rhythm of Life.

“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards.

They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves.

We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own.  The people around them help to make them great.

We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.”




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