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What we are about.

Updated: Jan 1, 2019

We often make the assumption, what is interesting to us is therefore interesting to others.

If you have read one of these year end entries before, then you know they normally follow a fairly set pattern. After all, it is meant to be a ‘year in review’. This year, at least for me, is different.

For me, this was a year of vast change. With the help of family and friends, I came to the realization that I needed time to turn inward; to take care of myself for a while. Some of you in the band may not know me, but you will. I will be returning soon, to take my place as a good band member; to learn your names and to try my best to remember them. To care for each of you as family. For those of you who know, thank you for your patience and your friendship. Words will never describe my thanks to you adequately.

So, if I have been away for a while, you might ask yourself how I could write anything about the band’s goings on for the past year? Well, that’s actually easier than if may first appear. I have been around for some events, but more importantly, this band is different than most. It is closer than most. So, this year’s entry is more about what we are than what we have done. Let the love-fest begin.

The band has not just continued on a steady course. It has grown greatly. For the first time in a long time, our numbers have swelled with some truly remarkable students, who we now refer to as pipers and drummers. We are all the better as an organization for having them among us. To those of you who have tried your hardest, who have stayed the course, and continue to grow and improve, thank you for showing up. Thank you for your work; and make no mistake, it is work. We hope you will stay with it. Continue to enjoy yourself. See you at rehearsal.

The band has remained consistent in its mission. We have honored the organizations that show grace enough to include us in their families; like the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, our home base for so many years now; like the Raleigh Fire Department, home to some of the first members of our band; like the Raleigh Police Department, who continues to honor their fallen comrades through memory and ceremony. So many others called on us this year, and we answered willingly. It is our honor to do so. It is our mission to do so.

Through the years, we have had the good fortune of having members behind the scenes who know how to make us shine brightly. They understand the importance of image and branding. They know what it takes to reach across generational divides and attract people of all ages and backgrounds. Chief among these has been our band manager and founder, Joseph Brady. While he would not accept any recognition for his work, he needs to know that we see him. His work is tireless and heartful. If you have the will to join this band and remain, you will one day be on the receiving end of the Brady stare, but make no mistake; he cares for each and every one of you in a way that is hard to describe or express. Don’t ever doubt this about him. Joe, from all of us, thank you.

We are only as good as those who teach us. Without instruction – consistent instruction, we would be a group of individuals, learning in our own ways, the best way we could find; occasionally coming together to see if we could make it all work. In our leaders and instructors, we have the best of everything. They not only show us the way, they show us the way properly, with understanding, patience and persistence. Personally, I have never met people with as much patience and genuine authenticity as these few. To our leaders and teachers, thank you so much. We simply wouldn’t be anything without you.

Finally, we come to folks who are certainly appreciated, but rarely spoken of. They show up. That’s it. Gig after gig, show after show, rehearsal after rehearsal. They have been around for years; not making a fuss, not trying to stand out; just trying to blend in; just trying to be good band members. They form the main body of this band. They are dependable, consistent and always well-meaning.

They bring the right attitude to every event they attend. They want to help. They want to make the group better. They will be heard to say, “Whatever is best for the band.” They are steady. To all of you, we say thank you for your steadiness; for your willingness to keep pushing forward. For helping this group continue to be what it is, thank you.

The year 2018 was very good to us. We saw much. We watched members rack up solo awards and gain upgrades in competition. We made new friends at highland games and gatherings, one of the best parts of what we do. Hopefully, the laughter and easy-going nature that exudes from our band tent is a large part of what makes folks wander over and see what we are about. We displayed friendliness, good sportsmanship, professionalism and good will wherever we travelled.

It was a great year. Thank you to everyone, for yet another great year.

See you in the circle.

- Lloyd Johnson


Lloyd Johnson is a bagpiper and founding band mem

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