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What is important?

On Monday, January 13, 2020 the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums held our annual general meeting looking back at 2019 while planning for 2020 and beyond.

Almost 50 members were in attendance, with a dozen or so enjoying the live stream on our BAND member app.  A summary of the band’s presentation can be seen below.


While a game of "What will Joe do or say" BINGO commenced, our fearless leader got right to business to talk about band elections, NCOs, the State of the Band, Uniforms, Music, Priorities and an ever present reminder of our mission.

Elections were held for open positions including Secretary and Member at Large. Four people ran for Member at Large while only 1 ran for Secretary. That said, the band is happy to announce Joe Brady will continue to serve as band manager, Lindsey Kosydar as assistant band manager, John Schodtler as treasurer, Caren Smith as secretary and Jean Farrell as member at large.  


The board reappointed Dalton Marshall as pipe major for another season. In accordance with our by-laws, Dalton appointed the following NCOs. 


The band NCOs for 2020 are as follows:

Jason Lane, drum major

Fisher Reese, drum sergeant

Joe Brady, pipe sergeant

Andrew Kosydar, drum corporal

John Schodtler, pipe sergeant

Cameron Brown, warrant sergeant

Paul Landers; pipe corporal

Bridget Englebreston; pipe corporal


Competition:

Ken McKeveny, G3 pipe major

Michael Iannuzzi*, G3 drum sergeant

Seth Wells, G3 pipe sergeant


* While Michael Iannuzzi could not be present for our meeting because of work obligations, my hope is you are reading this right now Michael so I can tell you how thankful I am for everything you have brought to Wake and District as a drummer, leader, sounding board and pot-stirrer. We are in a better place today because of you. While the torch of band drum sergeant has been passed to Fisher, I look forward to continuing to play alongside you and having my buttons pushed for your enjoyment. Thank you Michael. Love, Joe Brady

A 2019 retrospect was discussed from the perspective of of founding member, Lloyd Johnson (give it a read here).  We highlighted how very good 2019 was to the band. We watched members rack up solo awards and gain upgrades in competition. The band demonstrated how it has grown greatly - while remaining true to the line of our mission.


Some other 2019 highlights included:

  • Andrew Kosydar crowned Amateur Bass champ at Winter Storm.

  • Our Sass-Pack attending the Greensboro Tenor Workshop and member Caren Smith winning the Sally Warburton scholarship.

  • Getting the Class of 2018 pipers on instruments and into the circle and competing in G4.

  • Implementing tone stabilizer chanter caps for all of our pipers.

  • Growing the G3, G4 and G4 bands and competing more.

  • Starting a new class of bagpipe students in March.

  • Attending the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

  • A book signing by member Alan Armstrong for his work on PM John Grant.

  • A workshop with Michael Grey.

  • An amazing party with family, friends and fans in December at All Saints Chapel.

  • Continuing to reach out to like minded people interested in becoming a part of our program.

  • Solo lessons and solo competitions.

  • Providing matching RG HARDIE twist trap practice chanters for all of our pipers.

  • Full implementation of the BAND app for collaboration and messaging.


We missed a few marks along the way in 2019 - and intend to focus to fulfill them in 2020. They included:

  • Practicing deportment and protocol for funerals.

  • Marching more.

  • Implementation of musical deadlines.

  • Pipe Band Mix-Tape.

  • Police Week Competition.

  • Pub Crawls.

Finances were discussed. The band recognized $39,264.54 in revenue (16% YoY growth).

Here are a few ways these funds were invested into the band:

  • Uniform items.

  • Chanter reeds.

  • Practice chanters.

  • Drum heads.

  • Refurbishing our mid-section drums.

  • Additional snare drums...

  • Swag and bling of course.

In line with finances -- a conversation around fundraising was held and we intend to conduct more fundraising (holding members accountable). Our Assistant to the Band Manager will be forming a committee to focus on the high holy season of all things St. Patrick's.

Our conversation switched over to a discussion to membership highlighting a 10% growth year over year with kilted playing members. We are now at 66 -- with 10 pipers, 1 bass and 1 snare in in the wings.


We recognized members with service marks for 10 years (Patrick O'Leary) and 5 years (Dyland Radford) with the band.


Sadly, we were informed by long time member Alan Armstrong, he would no longer be able to actively participate with the band. Our response was to make him our first Emeritus member. There will always be a spot in the circle for you Alan. Thank you for everything you've done for our band.

We are very fortunate to rehearse on the training ground of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. As we grow larger - and our desire to practice together more frequently grows, we now find ourselves looking for a larger space of our own. More to come on that after we establish a committee focused on building our very own band hall.


For now, regular band rehearsals will remain on Monday evenings, piper session lessons will be held on Thursdays from time to time as needed, Grade 3 will continue Sunday rehearsals, along with pipe students on Sunday afternoons.


A new group of snare drummers will be working together on Monday evenings as well.


Our G3, G4 and/or G5 schedules are still being determined...

For the first time in many years, we will be staying home for St. Patrick's Day marching and making shenanigans in our hometown. Be on the lookout for all kinds of information on where you can see us perform. The high holy season will come to a close on Saturday, March 21st when we play at the nOG Run Club Kilt Run.

In addition to pipers and drummers from across the United States of America, a number of our members will be participating in the 25th Virginia International Tattoo. The dates of performance are April 30th through May 3rd. Stay tuned for more information on this amazing event honoring the Greatest Generation.

As indicated as a missed goal last year - we are officially registered and ready to participate at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Police Week pipe band competition being held on Thursday, May 14th in Washington D.C.

While we do not intend to hold a Tartan Ball or party in the Fall of this year - we will be honoring Robert Burns with a BARNS SUPPER event in January 2021. Yes, BARNS - as in we want to hold a Burns Supper in a barn. #JoCo

A conversation on uniform designations was discussed by Drum Major Jason Lane and included designation reminders and a new link was provided to help guide members on all of our uniform parts and pieces -- raleighpipeband.com/uniforms

  • Class A

  • Class B

  • Competition

  • Summer

Dalton took time at the meeting to layout musical plans he and our new band Drum Sergeant Fisher Reese will be putting in place through January 2021. Our updated repertoire will put into a book for distribution on 14 February. For now, you can see what the tunes are here,

As we neared the end of the evening we discussed priorities for 2020. They include:d

  • Integrate the Class of 2019 and Class of 2020 Pipers into the band.

  • Organic membership growth; teach more people.

  • Publish a Tune Book.

  • Practice...practice....practice.

  • Workshops on tuning, maintenance and other a hoc topics.

  • Winning every time we perform; don’t confuse success with winning. We are referring to setting the tone for success.  Helping the band go after things we want and push no matter the circumstances.

  • Learning ALL THE NEW TUNES and becoming even more proficient with existing pieces of music.

  • More solo competitions.

  • G4 and/or G5 contests.

  • Making ourselves uncomfortable...

  • Exceeding our own expectations.

  • Evolving -- and watching excellence follow.


Joe Brady likes to remind everyone these three things we need to do as related to pipe band life:

  • Don't Fall down; while literally not falling down is a very real thing...focus on being at rehearsals and events on time, in the correct uniform, with an instrument ready, knowing all the music front to back and ready to make it happen. If we miss any of these things and we show up late or don't show up, have the wrong uniform parts on, a drone double tones, we make note mistakes, have trailing drones -- we all fall down.

  • Stay In Step: Not only stay in step while in formation and marching down the street, but stay in step with the organization. Be responsive to polls, events and practicing. Don't disappear without communicating. Learn the music before the deadlines. Stay in step with the organization and don't fall behind. Recognize getting out or taking a break if you find yourself out of step.

  • Have Fun: If we're successful in not falling down - staying in lock step with one another and we're making music -- we can all raise our cups and the fun follows.

Our mission was reiterated -- as it is every year to members new and old alike.

To provide a distinguishing tribute for our fallen. To be of service to the family, friends and co-workers of public safety employees of Raleigh, Wake County and all those who serve and protect. Strengthen relations between the protective services and the public and to preserve cultural heritage and enrich our community by providing traditional bagpipe and drum music. For Our Fallen is everything we stand for.

In closing - we shared these words from Lloyd Johnson: "With everything going so well in so many ways, it would be all too easy to sit back and rest on the laurels of our accomplishments. If we weren’t careful, we could even fall victim to taking the whole thing for granted."


You're correct Lloyd. Which leads to this question for Wake and District for 2020...what is important?


The answer for us: Where we are going, not what we have done.


Don't reveal in the past.

So, there it is. Another amazing year together making music. Some new faces, a few changes, challenging goals and more music.. Thank you to all of our band members for helping make it happen.


Band ready!


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