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On Monday, 05 January 2015 the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums held our annual general meeting to review and plan for 2015 and beyond.  Over 50 members were in attendance.  A copy of our presentation to the band can be found here.

As an overview…band elections were held and we are pleased to announce Joe Brady will continue to serve as band manager, Jean Russell as assistant band manager, John Schodtler as treasurer, Lloyd Johnson as secretary and Bill Atwell as member at large.  It is pretty amazing to see 3 of our 7 founding band members on the board for the band.

The board appointed the pipe majors and lead tips for the 2015 competition season.  They include:

  • Ken McKeveny, G3 pipe major and Patrick O’Leary, lead tip
  • Bruce Ledet, G4 pipe major and Jacob Egen, lead tip
  • Michael Bishop, G5 pipe major and Laura Okagaki-Vraspir, lead tip

The board went on to re-appoint existing NCOs and add new ones.  The band NCOs for 2015 are as follows:

  • Joe Brady, pipe major
  • Jason Lane, drum major
  • Patrick O’Leary, drum sergeant
  • John Schodtler, pipe sergeant
  • Seth Wells, pipe sergeant
  • Bruce Ledet, pipe corporal
  • Michael Bishop, pipe corporal
  • Jacob Egen, drum corporal
  • Laura Okagaki-Vraspir, drum corporal
  • John Lovett, bass corporal
  • Jean Russell, tenor corporal
  • Ken McKeveny, senior piping instructor
  • Thomas Foote, senior drumming instructor


A 2014 year in review was discussed (a detailed description by our band secretary, Lloyd Johnson, can be found here).  We highlighted how the band is always answering the call to serve public safety agencies in the region at graduations, promotions and other celebrations.  Thankfully, as a band we were not called upon to play an honors funeral in 2014.

We went on to recognize the following competition related accomplishments:

  • G4 2nd place overall EUSPBA
  • G5 10th place overall EUSPBA
  • Garrett Justice 6th place overall — upgraded to G3
  • Jean Russell 1st place overall — upgraded to professional

 We are proud of all of our members and their commitment to the work.  “There is a really good piping scene in your area…Wake and District is a big part of that, and as you grow you want to continue to be a positive force…it is great to see good things happening down there.”  – June Hanley, chair of the EUSPBA music board

The board went on to recognize a number of band members for 5+ years of service.  Uniform service marks were distributed and will be worn on the left sleeve of our Class A uniform jackets to recognize this commitment.

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 2014.  We are happy to announce so many new players joining the band – including several “traveling players” – a separate note will be shared about that…

Expectations were discussed in terms of rehearsal – which will result in additional rehearsal nights for the band in general, along with our G3, G5 and G5 competition programs; there is never enough time on a single Monday night.

Our tentative competition schedule was laid out – and we look forward to a large debut at Loch Norman on 18 April 2015.

Before that we have several events on the calendar including a NCSHP graduation on 17 January, the Tir Na nOg Burns Supper on  24 January, the WORLD RECORD KILT run on 07 March – and all things St. Patrick on the 14th of March.  The band is also making plans to attend the National Law Enforcement Memorial the week of 11 May 2015.

As we near our 10 year anniversary – we formed a committee (Jason Lane, Michael Bishop, Patrick McArdle) to spearhead all the events surrounding the marking of 10 years together…more to come.


The concept of KAIZEN will guide us through 2015 and forward.  Everyone should be willing to improve themselves for the better — continually.  It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you’re reasonably sure it won’t make things worse.


Part of the process of KAIZEN is to analyze and re-arrange the processes of how we do things.  We’ve already indicated we are changing how we are going to conduct rehearsals; adding nights.  Music is another change; band tune arrangements – battery 4 was distributed.  Some new tunes, some old tunes, some modified tunes and some tunes archived; something for everyone.

A Uniform Standards Guide was put together by our senior Drum Major, Jason Lane.  It provides detailed instruction on our various uniforms and how they should be worn.   New Summer uniforms were also distributed which include new short sleeve white shirts with band patches and charcoal grey socks (as a nod to our brothers and sisters in the NCHSP).



Our senior piping instructor, Ken McKeveny thanked everyone for their hard work throughout 2014 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 for the first time.  There is no point in trying to explain why we don’t achieve something:

  • If it is due to lack of investment, we need to try harder.
  • If it was a technique flaw, we need to fix it.
  • If it was a loss of memory, we need to focus more.

The band as a whole will get better from this effort.

Ken’s one request…make a good faith effort.


The meeting ended with a discussion of our stated mission:

To provide a distinguishing tribute for 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.

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.

Given the different levels within our program it is imperative – training, practicing, and playing be done as “one band”.

We will never waver from our mission; competition is a secondary undertaking.

We will continue to see the big picture & build at every opportunity.




#Kaizen #NewNorms #NeverSettle



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