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Saturday, 08 April 2017 we took members of the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums to Huntersville, North Carolina to compete at the Loch Norman Highland Games.  We were back after a 1 year hiatus because of our participation in the 2016 Virginia International Tattoo.  Band members have been working hard and were all really excited to be back at this Southern Branch EUSPBA season opener.  All of our members couldn’t be there because of injuries, work, family or other obligations, but we had a fantastic time seeing so many old friends and making some new ones.  Before we share what we learned from the contest we thought it would be fun to share a few photos from the games:

Wake and District “taking the field” at the Loch Norman Highland Games.
The G5 getting ready to roll into the circle with a few words of encouragement.
Drum Major Jason Lane leading the G3 from the field after the win.

As we headed back to Raleigh we couldn’t help but think of how cool the dynamic is at a pipe band competition.  There is something incredibly energizing about having an entire field full of people cheering for their band to win.  There is a passion and energy amongst the crowd that you cannot help but get caught up in. The music and highland dancing just adds to the fun. Having so many people focused on a common goal of winning is incredibly exciting.  And we love that everyone is cheering each other on.  Total strangers become friends for the period of the games, high-fiving the people around them that they have never even met before.  Everyone is united.

We also think there is so much excitement in watching these incredibly talented musicians who have truly honed their skills to the point that it is genuinely a thing of beautiful to watch them play.    They inspire everyone watching to want to grow in their own talents and abilities.  It is just awesome.

A few great lessons that we took away from the games comes from our Pipe Major (Dalton Marshall) and Drum Sergeant (Michael Iannuzzi):

Dalton: There will be plenty of discussion to be had once we look at the sheets in detail, but I just want to say that I am proud of our performance and organization yesterday. There will always be more to improve on, but I feel as though both bands produced a pretty fair representation of our music. Outside of our musical execution, I witnessed continuous behavior of a strong team that was attentive to each individual and the mission of the moment. We might be a bunch of misfits, but we were the best acting (and best dressed) misfits out there. Let’s keep it going!

Michael: Days like yesterday make me proud to be a member of this organization. Days like yesterday make others wish their band was more like ours. A little trust in your leaders and personal effort go a long way. We are just getting started. This was just the appetizer, and I’m hungry for the main course…

Let’s take this bit of success and build on it. I hope members who didn’t join us this weekend will consider playing with us at the next games. Members that didn’t intend on competing stepped up and made it possible for us to put out a great sound. For all of the members that came and helped out with setup, water, tuning and everything else, thank you.

We are all one organization that shares a common purpose to uphold this musical tradition and honor our fallen. Yesterday was a prime example of just that. Congrats to Jessica Johnson and Chandler Anderson, along with Cameron Brown and Dylan Radford for you work in solos. You represent our core values and are final examples of what our organization is all about. Everyone represented that yesterday, and we have the metal to prove it.

All in all, I am very proud of everyone and I hope that we can share the experience and emotions of game day with more of the members at the next contest. Let’s keep building and pushing forward.

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