Listening to the Atlanta pipe band play Amazing Grace at the closing ceremonies of the 43rd Annual Stone Mountain games caused us to stop, listen and look around and reflect on how special we as pipers and drummers are. John Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences which were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination.
Author Gilbert Chase writes “Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates the tune is performed about 10 million times annually. As bagpipers and drummers I think we take this tune for granted because the gawking onlookers expect to hear it from us; our own form of recalcitrant insubordination. Twists and coincidences, win or lose – we know this tune closes out another day together playing and promoting the music we all love.
We do amazing things through music – and the Stone Mountain gathering was indicative of how much better we are getting at raising the art; some truly brilliant performances throughout the day by all the bands. We can’t all march of the field with first place. For Saturday, 17 October 2015 in Stone Mountain, Georgia – we congratulate the champions of the day… G5’s Grandfather Mountain Highlanders, G4’s Jamestown Pipes and Drums and G3’s Atlanta Pipe Band.
Times like these my words seem to fall a bit short of my feelings. Tonight I reflected on how truly blessed I am. A wonderful wife, lovely home, stellar family, great church, and a career.
Then I considered my band. I have played in several bands over the years and I can truly and honestly say that Wake and District has become much more than just a band where I play. It is a family. Please know I do not say that breezily. A definition I found online for family helps describe us well: “a person or people related to one and so to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy.” In our band everyone treats others with respect. We have fun. We hold babies while moms and dads play. We eat good food. We laugh and joke. We are committed to one another. We pitch in. At every turn we build each other up. Apple pie. The list does not stop.
So before I get sappy let me just say thanks to my band family for being you. Let’s keep finding good people and keep the train going. This is our band and I am blessed for being a part of it.
— Seth Wells
To the members of the Wake and District family – we celebrate our gratitude for another brilliant season of hard word and diligence. Thank you as well to all of our family, friends and fans for supporting this “hobby” of ours (we all know it is much more than a hobby – piping and drumming has threaded itself into the tartan fabric of our lives).
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