The premier pipe bands of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Southern Branch (the City of Atlanta Pipe Band and Raleigh’s Wake and District Pipe Band) are pleased to announce the merger of their two organizations into one — the “RalAnta” Spirit of the South Pipe Band (#SoS) – competing in Grades 5,4,3 and 2 in the Southern EUSPBA branch and beyond...
This announcement comes not at a time of reduced numbers or the loss of members. To the contrary, both bands currently have more members than ever before, continue to see growth, and are increasing the positive impact felt by those with ties to the organizations. This announcement comes as Atlanta Pipe Band celebrates its 45th anniversary, and on the eve of Wake & District’s 10th anniversary.
Over the past several months the memberships of both organizations have held joint rehearsals, discussed organizational structure, and agreed on band leadership as well as equipment and uniforms for the family of bands. The merged organization will conduct full band rehearsals each month in Bennettsville, SC – a location convenient to both cities. Additionally, the leadership will continue with two Pipe Majors: Robert Minnear (of Atlanta) and Kenneth McKeveny (of Raleigh). Each, with support of their current NCOs, will hold weekly practices in their respective home cities in order to maximize effectiveness of monthly rehearsals. J. Michael Brady (W&D) has been appointed Band Manager (leading fund raising, logistics, social media, and balance).
When asked about how the PM’s felt about the merger they could not have been more motivated. “I cannot say what a great opportunity this is for our new group to really show what the South has to offer for piping and drumming. The combination of two bands that have grown the RIGHT way is going to be stellar,” said PM Minnear. PM McKeveny had very similar remarks “rules are usually just suggestions and barriers are to be taken down. Our two teams can finally enjoy the talents of both organizations, helping us to grow each other.”
Jerry Finegan, a longtime friend of Minnear and McKeveny (having all played together in the City of Washington Pipe Band) related “I am really pleased about this merger because both bands are coming in from a position of strength, and this merger will allow us to combine the best players from the entire region.”
Brady, the founder of Wake & District, was beyond pleased about the new venture. “After 10 great years of growth we now have the ability to partner with another like-minded program. Our passion for the pipes and drums has melded our organizations together – and the gilded Spirit of the South will arise from the flames.”
Concerns about how traveling organizations will function, and the pitfalls encountered by them over the years have been considered in this merger, the Spirit of the South Pipe Band (SoS) has a clear path where such issues will be avoided. One major worry was determining funding, but thanks to ten corporations in Raleigh and Atlanta, there will be no shortage of funding. SoS has been blessed with a large endowment of $525,600 per year for the next 11 years! This will allow for the band to have matching instruments and uniforms, as well as other operating expenses including lodging, food, airfare, and rental vehicles. There will also be four fulltime instructors for the band running daily Skype lessons (further announcements to follow).
A spokesman for the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association advised they have reviewed and approved the petition for the merger.
For more information please visit the band’s new website @ www.SpiritoftheSouthPB.com
Their first contest together will be the Loch Norman Highland games on 18 April 2015 where the RalAnta: Spirit of the South will field bands in Grades 3, 4 and 5. The band will have t-shirts available for sale for $15.
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