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Be Better.

On Monday, January 3, 2022 the members of Wake and District gathered virtually as we held our annual general meeting -- looking back at memorable moments from 2021 while moving our mission forward into 2022. Almost 50 members were in attendance. A summary of the band board's presentation can be seen below.

Elections were held for open positions including Secretary, and Member At Large. The position of Secretary was unopposed, while the position of Member At Large had two candidates -- John Kilduff and Michal Iannuzzi. The position of secretary will remain with Caren Smith, while the new member at large will be Michael Iannuzzi. The board is rounded out with Joe Brady as band manager, Lindsey Kosydar as assistant band manager, and John Schodtler as treasurer.


A 2021 retrospect was reviewed from the perspective of John Schodtler; give it a read here. What came next? We began to work hard and have fun again. We needed to deemphasize the pandemic and focus on the music, one another, and our mission. If we stay ready – we don’t have to get ready.

There is a standard of being ready, As a band, we hold each other accountable to who we said we want to be. It’s not an abrasive conversation, because we truly want what's best for the band. The standard is high, but so is the example and support to reach it.


Some 2021 highlights included:

  • We’re still here after 15 years

  • Awesome LOVE IS and #BandReady shirts designed by Cameron Brown

  • Retirement of Colonel McNeill of the NCSHP

  • A few St. Patrick’s Day gigs

  • A few Covid related funerals

  • JoCo Flags for Heroes

  • An awesome Independence Day parade and party

  • New kilt pins, cufflinks, and tie bars

  • Practices in the park

  • Finally getting all of our British Co. drums…

  • Police, Fire, and Campbell Graduations

  • Chanters, and bag covers, and cords, oh my!

  • Hockey and Baseball jerseys!!!

  • New kilt pins, cufflinks, and tie bars

  • Fresh new rolling pipe-cases for a few

  • Online Quartet contest

  • Online band contest

  • The loss of Jimmy McIntosh

  • In search of tone…

  • All 3 bands at ScoCo

  • All things Olde Raleigh Distillery

  • Kilt Run and KILT NIGHT!!!

  • Dining Out

  • Jake and Chelsea (re)married!

  • Fisher and Madison married!

  • Ian Wilkinson born into the world

  • USMC Memorial and 82nd Airborne Dining Out

  • pa-rum-pum-pum…

There were some misses as well...

  • No new trailer, tents, or chairs.

  • No Celtic Cultural Center.

  • Family of Bands won’t work for us…

  • Some members disappeared.


Our members of the year were announced in November and included:

  • Piper of the year, Brent Hale

  • Drummer of the year, Keaghan Smith

  • Band member of the year, Our G4 Band

For the first time in the band's 15 year history we named an honorary member -- Captian Tramp Dunn, Raleigh FD (ret). Thank you for standing with us these past 15 years Tramp, we love you.


Finances were reviewed. The band recognized $23,177.75 in revenue (still a $17,000 pre-Covid deficit). Here are how funds were invested back into the band:

  • The Band Dining Out

  • New kilt pins, tie-bars, and cuff-links commemorating 15 years

  • Melvin and G1 chanter reeds

  • MacLellan Elevation chanters

  • Drone cords and covers from Highland Gear


Our conversation switched over to a discussion about membership. With a number of members moving on because of life, we welcomed some old faces back, along with some new faces -- and now have 67 rostered and kilted band members. There are also a handful of pipe and snare students in the wings.

We recognized members with service marks for 10 years and 5 years with the band. Including Bridget Englebreston, Katie Hope, Chris Rae, Ron Pender, Tom McGrath, Doug Austin, and Isaiah Smith with FIVE YEARS of service -- Mark Montgomery and Bruce Ledet with TEN YEARS of service -- and John Schodtler, Jacob Egen, and John Kilduff with FIFTEEN YEARS of service.


While Zoom continued to be a major part of our rehearsal routine (and will remain a part) we were able to make the move back to in person practice sessions once the weather broke. In the Spring we found an indoor place to practice at Olde Raleigh Distillery.

We look forward to continuing to rehearse at Olde Raleigh -- as well as at the Wake Tech Public Safety Campus, the NCSHP Training Academy, the myriad of parks throughout the region -- as well as a new studio space opening up this summer in downtown Zebulon...

As a band, we will rehearse together == with layers of musical leadership surrounding our members. We intend to learn a few new tunes, as well as bring back a few crowd favorites.


We had a conversation regarding uniforms. with a reminder to make sure your uniform fits properly. All of our uniform descriptions can be found at

For the first time - in a long time - there will be no uniform changes this year...


In 2021 we updated our musical repertoire and distributed books in the Spring. New year, new music with the addition of a few 9/8 marches, a band MSR, a St. Patrick's Day set, and a tribute to Olde Raleigh Distillery. Stay tuned to hear the results.

The new massed band drum scores were also discussed as we await for flourishes for the tenor drummers. Our thanks to Ed Best for recording and sharing snare videos of the new settings.


As we neared the end of the meeting, we discussed goals, for our members and for the band. These included:

  • Wear the right socks and flashes

  • Stay on top of your instrument

  • Stay focused on current music

  • Learn a few new tunes

  • Be ready

  • Believe in the Band

  • Be committed to one another

  • Be Better (we should be and we can be)

  • Play well wherever we go

  • Have fun

  • Start more students (pipes and drums)

  • Band Party or Performance in November

  • MacLellan Bagpipe Studio in Zebulon


While standing For Our Fallen remains our constant -- our mission was reiterated a little differently this year:

We have the best musical gear. We have far too many uniform options. We have amazing resources. We play well together as a band. No one can match our swag game. Our social media presence is on point.

None of this matters without our members. We need you to fulfill the mission:

  • Our mission is the moment.

  • Our mission is to make music.

  • Our mission is to keep moving.

  • Our mission matters.


In closing...a big shout must go out to our families who are often right there by our sides. I imagine we all felt a little doom and gloom at times, but we pulled through. We will continue pulling through. Who would have thought some of us would get married or have children during these challenging times. We deal with it. We do not quit.

In 2021 we showed everyone we were Band Ready. It is not easy to re-adjust, to re-begin, to re-focus, or re-set and yet we continue to do it time and time again. We were and continue to be motivated to the mission of not quitting. We are Band Ready.

John Schodtler XV

Pipe Sergeant

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