Home / Band News / member of the month #June2K15…


Raleigh’s Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums currently has 70+ members who come from all walks of life and bring an indeterminate amount of experience with them. Our members are police officers, lawyers, engineers, students, machinists, Doctors to name but a few and all are tremendous individuals who share the common goal of being part of a successful and competitive pipe band.

We are adding a new feature to our website — the member of the month – and thought we would  start with our newest bass drummer, T. Stephen Turnball (Mr. Boom-Boom).

In his words…

I am on a C.D.  In the year 2007 to raise monies for the band to go to Scotland, we made a CD. Went to a recording studio in Colchester, VT. Paid the fellow about $3,000 for the production and manufacture of 1,000 cds. We figured we would sell them for $15 apiece, raise $15,000…Consequently, $12,000 profit.

I am the bass in all of the tunes except one. Also, my photo is on the cd itself. Ayup, get this….just prior to the Boston parade, Iain and I were taking a leak side by side under the overpass when Steve Looke, tenor drummer, took a photo of us peeing. Of course, nothing inappropriate was seen. But when we saw this photo everyone said, “If we make a cd, this photo is going on it.” So we are literally peeing on everyone’s turntables when they play our band cd. The cd is labeled “Marking Our Territory.”

The band always planned for many years to compete at the Worlds. It came to fruition in August, 2011. The CPB came in 10th in their Grade 4A. I was not able to attend because I was under the knife at Duke that month due to a cancer tumor operation.

In 2013 the band said “Steve, you have to come this time.” So in August, 2013 I went with the band for two weeks in Glasgow, Scotland. Flew via USAirways from RDU to Philadelphia to Glasgow. We stayed at the University of Glasgow dormitories. Had about five floors. About 70 were with us including family members. Single rooms, kitchenette, single showers. Took taxis everywhere. We sent two bands. IV and V.

What an experience. Most of the band one night bought tickets to hear the Grade I bands play at the Royal Hall. Not me. I went across the street to the Pub and watched England vs. Scotland play soccer. It was at Wembley Stadium in London and when “God Save the Queen” was sung, there were so many boos, one could not hear the words. The Scots were well represented there. Nothing like being in a Scottish Pub, drinking Scottish beverages, with fellow Scots in kilts. They gave me three free hot dogs. Yay.

The band came in 4th in the world in Grade 4A. The announcer said “And coming in 4th place is Catamount Pipe Band from Vermin, USA.” He did not say Vermont, he said Vermin. We all joked about that. The band is going this year 2015. They plan to go every other year. Grade 4A competed with 27 others. Two ranks of 14. The top six made it into the finals. We came in 4th. The Grade 4B competed against 66 others the next day on Sunday. Grade 4B came in 17th in their heat of 23. The top five made it into the finals. We did not. What an experience. I was not a competitive member of course. But I was the photographer, cheerleader, and go to guy to and from the beer tent.

I came to North Carolina due to medical reasons. Living in Vermont I was always flying to RDU to visit my daughter’s family or flying to ATL to visit my son and his family. In April, 2011 my life turned upside down due to diagnosis of neuro-endocrine cancer tumor coming out of pancreas. “It is malignant but operable,” my doctor said. The endoscopy created pancreatitis. The pancreatic surgeon in Vermont said “Steve, we will not be able to operate on you until the pancreatitis subsides. It could be one month, two or three months.” My daughter said, “Dad you are going to live with us and I will get you into Duke.” So I had my CIGNA changed from Vermont to NC and came down here in May, 2011. When they operated on me in August, they did not remove the tumor because it was right next to the SMA artery. So they took out the gall bladder and a cyst and sewed me back up. Gave me radiation for six weeks, cancer pills for 14 months, and now I go every month for a shot in the derriere.

I could live ten, twenty, thirty years with this tumor in me because it is slow growing and slow reducing. It is stable, I have had 19 cat scans. Not until the tumor is away from the artery will they ever attempt to open me up again to yank it out.

Consequently, I have left the CPB. I am an emeritus type of band member with them though. They all miss me. I always had jokes at the end of my emails and had “Welcome Aboard” summaries of the newbies and “Fair Winds and Following Seas” tributes to those dedicated members leaving the band.

I went to a few practices of a local pipe band (NCSU) but I did not connect with anybody there. Gave the Lead Tip my name and email address but there was nothing.  Then last August, I went online and located the Wake and District PB. Plugged in the location on my GPS. The first person I talked to was you, Joseph, right by your car trunk. Then I talked to Jason who was sewing torries on glens, and then Jack approached me with greetings. I felt a connection and Voila — here I am.

As you know, I cannot do parades anymore because I have no stamina anymore to play the bass drum for an extended period of time. But to me this is my way of getting back into things, by being with a pipe band, and kicking the hell out of cancer. It is just a pothole in life and I will kick the hell out of it. Listening to pipes and drums is like my background music in life. I love this stuff. I wish my parents were still around. They both died prior to me participating in this.

I am open with my medical history. Everyone can find out about me. I am proud of being a cancer survivor. Already am. Had prostate cancer surgery the very first year with CPB. Out for a few weeks.


Steve, we are so happy you found us
and couldn’t be more pleased
to have you as a member
of the Wake and District Public Safety family.



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