The 150th Anniversary of the RCMP was expected to be a busy year. We hoped there would be extra events that would highlight this important anniversary. Our hopes were answered big time!
We thought that 2022 had brought the band back to a more normal schedule after the COVID years, but 2023 ended up being well beyond expectations. In fact, 2023 equalled the previous busiest year in the Band’s history (2019), with performances at 41 different events. This compares to 26 events in 2022 and only 11 in 2021. As hoped, much of the activity was related to the celebration of the RCMP’s 150th Anniversary. The most significant for us was the presentation of the new RCMP Guidon in Regina, Saskatchewan in September, where we participated as part of a composite band with pipers and drummers from across the country.
The major activities of 2023 were a full band/dancer concert at Orleans United Church in the spring, 75th (+3) anniversary Liberation Ceremonies in the Netherlands (with side trips to Vimy in France and the Menin Gate in Ieper Belgium, and to Germany) for 2 weeks in April/May and to the Basel International Tattoo (Switzerland), the second largest tattoo in the world, in July.
The Band continued its support to the RCMP by parading at many garrison events, including the RCMP Commissioner Change of Command, the O Division Change of Command in Toronto, V Division Change of Command in Iqaluit, and a number of Long Service Medals Ceremonies in Ottawa.
It’s not just full band events that keep us busy. We had band members perform more than 120 solo/duo events through the year.
A sad but important task for the band is leading the troops parading to honour police officers killed on duty. Unfortunately, this happened often in 2023. Our band members joined those from other RCMP and police bands at the services for OPP Cst Pierzchala (Barrie), Surete du Quebec Sgt Brault (Trois Rivieres), RCMP Cst Dhami (Edmonton), OPP Sgt Mueller (Kanata), and RCMP Cst O’Brien (Vancouver). Along with the funerals, we attended the annual Ontario Police memorial in Toronto in April and the National Police Memorial in Ottawa in September.
Long time support also continued to local charity organizations such as the ALS, Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy, and the Shriners.
If it sounds to have been a busy year, it was. Band members logged over 20,000 volunteer hours in 2023, a doubling of the volunteer hours over 2022.
Ahead for 2024
It is anticipated that 2024 could be another very busy year. While a full schedule has yet to be finalized, the Band will support numerous events in the National Capital Region, representing National Headquarters as well as collaborating with our sister RCMP Bands as appropriate. We already have two major events scheduled – the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland (the world’s largest and most famous tattoo), and the Scottish-Irish Festival of Estes Park, Colorado in early September. Watch our social media for more information as it becomes available. We hope to see you at our events.