a night in blue gala…

Members of Wake and District were honored to participate at the North Carolina Auxiliary – Wives Behind the Badge – 3rd Annual A Night In Blue Officer Appreciation Gala.  The North Carolina Wives Behind the Badge Auxiliary Chapter is dedicated to providing resources and emotional support to North Carolina law enforcement families.  Our performance has always begun with a solo piper playing Amazing Grace in honor of  our fallen; this year’s solo piper was Ashby Spratley.

While these fallen heroes are no longer with us — we can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son. We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our community for generations to come. This is our commitment to you. This is our duty —- For Our Fallen.

Thank you to the North Carolina Auxiliary – Wives Behind the Badge for putting on this gala in appreciation of all our law enforcement heroes.



right things, right reasons…

In a ceremony Tuesday at the State Highway Patrol Training Academy, Colonel Bill Grey, SHP commander, recognized Wake and District with the Colonel’s Appreciation Award on behalf of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.  Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry was on hand to present the awards. Here is the write-up from the Colonel:

In 2006 Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (W&D) played a graduation event for the N.C. State Highway Patrol and have been playing graduations, promotional ceremonies and special events ever since.

W&D consist of members of law enforcement, fire, EMS, military active, reserve, and retired, as well as civilians who have a heart toward public safety and want to give back to the men and women who give so much. W&D is a nonprofit organization whose main focus is to honor our fallen and provide service to the families of fallen men and women of public safety. W&D members honored Trooper’s Demuth and Stocks after the tragic events that took their lives.

W&D member’s, have a passion for what they do and the public safety community they serve. W&D has been not just ambassadors to public safety but ambassadors for the patrol, always being happy to assist at a moment’s notice.

“I do not consider them just friends but a part of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol family,” Colonel Grey said.

Wake and District has set out from the beginning to do the right things for the right reasons.  We are simply HUMBLED to be recognized by North Carolina State Highway Patrol – and HONORED to be a part of their family.



it’s neverending…

We are going to steal a mantra from our friends at RangerUp…

Hard work.  Members of Wake and District  preach a lot about hard work.  Always posting about it and writing about.  A lot of people work hard.  But they don’t get where they want to go.  We fall into the trap of sometimes life isn’t fair – and the reality hard work won’t turn us into the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

We realize we have two options: work hard – systematically go after the things you want – or – complain and hope things change.  We all realize “hope” is a really bad plan.  So, don’t confuse success with winning. Set the tone for success.  Help your band go after things you want and push no matter the circumstances.

Hard work is the currency of success — HARD WORK IS never-ending.  The harder we have to work, the greater the stakes, and the scarier it all becomes; exciting, but scary.  Don’t get caught up in “we’re only as good as our last run” or “we won”.

We need to work hard to continue to deliver. The second you’re not hungry or hustling – you don’t matter.  Play or do not play. Hard work keeps us good, it is our competitive advantage. We rehearse to be the best – we hustle, we work. We don’t walk in with instant success.  Have goals and keep the mission on the horizon — the advantage is to never lose this mindset.

Systematically cut-away and move forward with the understanding expectations are not always meant.  When goals are not met we have two additional choices:

  1. Systematically, aggressively, go after your goal through hard work and hustle
  2. Blame the judges, other bands, players in your band, the weather, the rules, your gear, the other band’s honey badger and it’s feisty attitude, whatever.

There are no “secrets” to success. Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

We’ve got news for you – the honey badger doesn’t care.


marching in honor…

On Saturday, 08 November 2014 members of Wake & District have the privilege to march in the 2014 North Carolina Veteran’s Day Parade.  Thank you to Mr. Terry F. Chatfield, Vice President, Wake County Council of Veterans Organizations, Inc and Mr. Scott Kennedy of the North Carolina Society, Sons of the American Revolution for once again inviting the band to perform in the parade — and giving us the honor of being up front to lead the way.

Honestly…we hate everything about parades: the staging, the weather, the parking, the horse poop – you name it.  While all parades hold special meaning to people, this parade is different for us; we march in honor of the valor, courage and sacrifice of the brave men and women of our Nation’s military (including several band members) who call North Carolina home.  For more information on the parade – please visit the NC Veteran’s Day Parade website @

As we marched – we couldn’t help to think about a certain number; 22.  According to a VA report — 22 veterans commit suicide each day in our Nation. That is significantly more than the daily numbers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

The generation which survived those wars—and others—are struggling to keep our brothers and sisters with us. What’s happening is an utter travesty. There’s no other way of putting it.

We can postulate the reasons all day: stress from prolonged conflicts and multiple deployments, trauma from horrific experiences, coming home to an apathetic public, a poor job market for veterans, etc. Those are issues, but not the biggest one. Our biggest issue is what we’re doing and what we’re going to do to stop this domestic epidemic.

This problem is the public’s as much as it the veteran community’s. We’re losing bright minds—people who could have contributed great things for our nation and the human race. We’re losing experience. We’re losing our soul—the American veteran.


We, along with our friends @ Ranger-UP care. Talk to them. Keep tabs on them. Make trips to see them. Remind them they are loved.

RANGER-UP made a shirt to bring awareness to the problem. They made this shirt so the public couldn’t turn a blind eye.


25% of the sales of this shirt will go to Captain Lee Stuckey’s A Hero Foundation.

Their mission:

A Hero is a wounded veterans foundation whose purpose is to serve America’s wounded veterans by providing fellowship and mentoring opportunities through recreational activities. A HERO will provide a supportive environment enabling veterans to continue the healing process, so they can focus on their future and reconcile the traumatic events of their past in a healthy and constructive environment.

Our goal is to serve as many wounded veterans as possible and offer them the healing opportunity that comes from time spent with fellow veterans. A HERO will accomplish this goal by welcoming veterans into a community willing to donate the time, recreational equipment and both natural and financial resources necessary to support a variety of events in order to facilitate fellowship and mentoring activities. Through these activities, A HERO will establish and support a network of veterans with previous experience in dealing with the emotional and physical wounds caused by the stress of combat and war. This network will be self-sustaining and will support veterans all across the United States of America.

Please join us and help heal our wounded veterans, hearts and minds through camaraderie, esprit de corps and memorable experiences.

Let them know that their sacrifices are appreciated, respected and never forgotten. They truly are America’s Heroes. – See more at:


band stand at ease…

Members of Wake and District piped and drummed our way into the grass circle one last time for 2014 — this time in Richmond for the Central Virginia Celtic Festival & Highland Games — which were held under sunny skies on Saturday, 25 October 2014.  Our G4 members were anxious to give our MMSR and Medley one final run.

In Grade 4 we placed 1st (1-1-2-1) with our MMSR and we challenged up to Grade 3 against the MacMillan and Richmond Pipe Bands (both excellent  programs) and finished 3rd; we received some really positive comments from the judges and the other Grade 3 bands.  As noted by one of the G3 judges — “best tenor|bass line today!” #SASS

To the committee of the games – WELL DONE on an organized, friendly and relaxing games. To the “Mid-Atlantic” bands — WOW — thank you for your hospitality and the recognition as we approached the line and left the circle. Ya’ll are a classy group; we hope to see more of you in 2015…

The competition circle is now empty and the skirl of the pipes and rattle of the drums has come to a end for the 2014 EUSPBA competition season.

We had a fantastic season – and learned so much; we will wrap that up in another post.

There is a lot of hard work ahead of us (more to come on that).  

Don’t stand easy just yet…



make ready…

We are making ready to close out the season with a trip to Richmond for the Central Virginia Celtic Festival & Highland Games.   We will be competing in Grade 4 and challenging up to Grade 3 against the eminent MacMillan Pipe Bands and our friends from Tide-Water and Richmond (among others).

No need to fix bayonets…”Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”  -Sun Tzu

There are some concerns…why would they put FLYING AXES next to the pipe band circle?!  Are they trying to tell us something…



amazed by grace…

Listening to the Atlanta pipe band play Amazing Grace at the closing ceremonies of the Stone Mountain games caused me 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, 18 October 2014 in Stone Mountain, Georgia – we congratulate the champions of the day…  G5’s Grandfather Mountain Highlanders, G4’s City of Chattanooga Pipe Band and G3’s St. Andrew’s University Pipe Band.   CHATT has taken the G4 Throne for 2014!  Be on the lookout for new “thrones” for 2015 which will include grades 3, 4 and 5…

To the members of Wake and District – thank you 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).

Our G5 band closed out the season at stone 7th of 11 (3,9,5,5) and our G4 band finished 2nd (1,1,3,2).  SCORE-SHEETS HERE.  Next weekend our G4  members travel to Richmond to partake in the Central Virginia Celtic Festival Pipe Band Competition  challenging up to G3 as we looking forward to 2015.

Amazed by Grace – not triumphant, merely grateful…

– Joe Brady


music is a place…

It’s been said there are only two mistakes one can make along the road to success – not going all the way, and not starting.  The road to success is not easy to navigate. The members of Wake and District have been fortunate over these past 8 years together – having guidance and support to see us along, help us navigate and drive the work and passion possible to succeed.

Music is a place. Stone Mountain is another stop on the road.
We look forward to seeing all the Southern EUSPBA bands coming together again for the 42nd Annual Stone Mountain Gathering
– and what the day will bring.

So much behind us, so much ahead of us — as is ever so on the road.    Safe travels to all those attending the games this weekend — and best of luck to all the competitors.  #MakeNoMistakes  #TakeTheThrone


side by side…

Firefighters from across the United States of America gathered together this weekend at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Maryland.  This is an annual gathering honoring those brothers (and sisters) who gave their lives in service of others.

Playing the pipes and drums is how we honor our fallen; no spoken words – side by side with respect and honor.

This year firefighters (and pipers and drummers) from across North Carolina had the opportunity to come together in fraternal fellowship to honor our fallen comrades.  Although we work for different agencies, play different instruments in different bands and wear different kilts – music brings us together FOR OUR FALLEN.

The 33rd Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service honored five firefighters from North Carolina who died in the line of duty last year. They were among the 98 firefighters who died in 2013, as well as nine firefighters who died in previous years, remembered at the official national service held at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.

  • Firefighter Tony Barker, age 36
    Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department
    Died after being electrocuted while operating at a fire on June 13, 2013.
  • Assistant Chief Jeffrey L. Fields, age 51
    Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department
    Died December 25, 2013, from a heart attack after responding on a motor vehicle accident on December 12, 2013.
  • Captain David A. Heath, age 48
    New Hanover County Fire Rescue
    Collapsed then died while participating in department training on October 14, 2013.
  • Fire Chief Scott A. Morrison, age 44
    Knotts Island Volunteer Fire Department
    Died after he collapsed at the scene of a brush fire on March 3, 2013.
  • Captain Jon Schondelmayer, age 44
    Cary Fire Department [also Firefighter with Swift Creek Fire Department] Died after responding to multiple calls on December 18, 2013.

Our hearts go out to the families of these fallen firefighters.  They’ve become members of a fraternity no one seeks to join.  These heroes are no longer with us. But we can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son. We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our community for generations to come. This is our commitment to you. This is our duty —- For Our Fallen.


the sum of our independent parts…

As we ramp up toward the last contests of the season — we stop, listen and reflect — knowing we are aspiring to assist our members reach their highest competitive potential, while raising the level of our art.  To our members:

  • ENJOY the music; it’s the greatest music in the world
  • become an organic part of the music
  • play with confidence
  • play with mechanical precision
  • walk off the field satisfied you gave it all you had

“Gave it all you had” means — all of your focus — all of your concentration — all of your effort.  Pipers, Snares, Tenors and Bass — we are greater than the sum of our independent parts; we’re a band.  We must go out there every time playing the best we can.

Everyone wants us to do well, including the judges.