RCMP 150th Anniversary Music Collection

**UPDATE** The publishing run of 250 books sold out in less than 24 hours.

Downloadable version of the collection coming in Fall 2023.

Stay tuned!

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the RCMP, the 25th anniversary of both the RCMP tartan and the national program of RCMP Community Bands of Pipes and Drums, a dedicated member has compiled a collection of new music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. Two years in the making, this book has gathered 227 tunes from 76 composers and arrangers. They are presented in a 260 page book with photos, stories and biographies.

The book was released for sale in a limited edition on 23 May 2023. You can get more information about the book and how to order a copy on our page here.

Netherlands Liberation Ceremonies

In May 2023, a composite RCMP Pipe Band of 42 hardy volunteers toured Europe. The group consisted of pipers, drummers, dancers and helpers from the Ottawa, Halifax and Regina bands. We were participating in Liberation ceremonies in the Netherlands and ceremonies of Remembrance in Belgium, France, and Germany. Two RCMP regular members carried our flags, providing the link to Canada for those who might not recognize us at first. Eight Dancers from the Ottawa band contributed high energy, providing audiences a special visual treat. They were very popular with everyone!

The visit was originally planned for 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the Liberation, but of course was pushed back due to Covid restrictions. We were delighted to finally be able to take the tour in 2023 for the 78th anniversary.

We honoured Canadian veterans and civilian victims of war by conducting short Remembrance services at community memorials and Canadian War Cemeteries in Groesbeek and Holten.

Visiting and performing at our national monument at Vimy and at Hill 70 were very special moments. We were told that our visit to Bienen and Rees in Germany was the first Dutch memorial service to be held on German soil.

May 4th is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, with the country pausing for two minutes of silence at 8:00 pm. We had the honour of participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony in the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. On May 5th in Wageningen, Netherlands, we were especially honoured to lead the Liberation Day parade together with the City of Apeldoorn Pipes and Drums, following a small contingent of veterans that were able to attend.

We also had the privilege to play at the Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony in Ypres, Belgium, honouring 54,389 British and Commonwealth soldiers (including 6,940 Canadians) who died in the area around Ypres and who have no known grave.

The band performed at two sold out evening benefit concerts with local choirs and orchestras in Silvolde and Gendringen, both of which were live streamed. Short concerts were presented in many town squares, parks and other venues to very appreciative crowds. It was an extremely busy tour. The reception by the Dutch people was unfailingly enthusiastic and welcoming, especially in the small towns where the sacrifices of Canadian Liberators were marked by memorials and gravesites. The speeches and conversations by local mayors and dignitaries praised the contribution of Canadian troops in restoring Freedom to the Netherlands in 1945 and really emphasized how they value and recognize that gift. The children lining the parade routes in large numbers shows how the Dutch ensure their children also understand that others paid a high price for that Freedom.

The visit was a profoundly moving experience for all band members, and gave us all a better understanding and appreciation of the contributions of Canadian veterans and of our own freedom. It should be noted that the RCMP formed #1 Provost Company of the Canadian Provost Corps, who assisted in the Canadian Army’s liberation of the Netherlands in WWII. It was an absolute privilege for the RCMP Pipe Band and Dancers to represent Canada in the Netherlands for the 78th anniversary of their Liberation.

Thousands of photos and videos were taken and posted on social media by band members, spectators and friends, many of which can be viewed on our Facebook account. Over the coming weeks, a more detailed account of the band’s trip will be featured in blog posts with a selection of the best photos from that huge collection. We hope you will come back to visit the site again to enjoy the trip with us.

The Pipe Band moves Divisions

The RCMP Pipe Band and Dancers of National Division now has a new home. We have now moved under Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policing (DCFP).

The band has been a part of the RCMP’s National Program of Pipe Bands across Canada since 2000. We are one of eight bands across Canada. Since inception the band has been part of RCMP’s National Division in Ottawa (previously known as ‘A’ Division).  Due to an RCMP reorganization, our band transitioned on 1st April 2023 to our new home. We are not moving and not much changes, but we now fall under National Headquarters reporting to the Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policing (DCFP). So, we are now know as “RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers, National Capital Region”

In advance of our fundraising concert on 2 April, acting for our Deputy Commissioner, Chief Supt. Mitch Monette welcomed the band to their new Command. He also presented Drum Major Hampson the new Pipe Banner to be carried by the Pipe Major.

The tradition of banners attached to the Pipe Major’s base drone dates back to the early Highland Regiments.  All of the RCMP pipe bands have a banner which has the RCMP badge on one side, and on the flip side, the initials of their Commanding Officer and the Ensign logo of their Division. The Deputy Commissioner Federal Policing logo consists of a gold crown with maple leaves and horseshes, embroidered in gold wire on the scarlet fringed banner

The band bids a fond farewell to National Division and our previous CO, Asst. Commr. Ches Parsons, whose support to us will be always remembered and look forward to working with our new Commanding Officer.

From left to right, Corps Sergeant Major Al McCambridge; Chief Supt. Mitch Monette, OIC Protective Operations DCFP, on behalf of Commissioner Duheme; Drum Major Brad Hampson; Pipe Major Graeme Ogilvie; our new Band Officer Inspector Aaron Toner; Sergeant Major Kathleen Aitken of National Division; Sgt Major Scott Williamson, Riding Master of the Musical Ride

Police Service Horse “Noble”

PSH Noble leading the Pipes and Drums

Have you ever wondered why parade horses, such as those of the RCMP Musical Ride, remain so calm when ridden? It is ALL about the training! This winter, the members of the RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers had an opportunity to assist in this training with one specific horse. Piping to train Noble – certainly exciting for the band, especially in this 150th anniversary year of the Force in 2023.

Over the past year, a 7 year old RCMP mare named “Her Noble” (Noble for short), was selected as an ideal gift for His Majesty King Charles III, the Honourary Commissioner of the RCMP, to celebrate his upcoming coronation ceremony. There is a long standing tradition of the RCMP gifting horses to the Royal Family. Because of the select breeding and training they receive, these horses are quite suitable to be ridden by the Royals for public ceremonial functions.

The most famous of the eight previously gifted horses, was the well-loved “Burmese”, gifted in 1969 to the late Queen, and on whom she rode for every Trooping of the Colour ceremony until 1986. The RCMP’s special association with the Royal Family began in 1897 when they represented Canada at the 1897 Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria. With many visits afterwards, the Mounted Police took part in successive coronation parades in 1937 and 1953, and many more visits on other Jubilee celebrations.

Police Service Horse Noble toured with the Musical Ride in 2022, with 90 public performances under her belt across Canada. She demonstrated a superior physical and athletic ability, and a calm demeanour. These traits, plus her size, made her an ideal horse for His Majesty.

Extra training for Noble began late in December, to prepare her for the challenges and unusual environment she would encounter in her new role. This is where the Pipe Band came in. Naturally, military parades involve music, so she had to become accustomed to the skirl of the pipes and the pounding of the drums, as well as the loud words of command and the movement of troops around her.

Band members travelled to the stables to serenade, march, and follow the horse, which became “normal” for her. Starting small with only a few pipers and drummers, eventually the full pipe band and dancers were marching and performing there every few days, as she curiously sniffed out instruments and the humans that played them. She took to it all like a champion, even coming over for a nibble at the tassels on the pipes and a turn at playing a snare drum.

On 17 February, a formal “passing out” grad parade was held with members of the Musical Ride forming the marching troop, led by the Pipes and Drums. Shortly after, Noble was flown over to the U.K. to take up residence at the Royal Mews in Windsor Castle. Our hope is that His Majesty the King will ride Noble in the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremonies.

The Royal Family has posted the story and some photos of Noble’s first encounter with His Majesty at the following link:

The Band was proud to participate in this effort and wishes Noble well in her new role with the Royal Family.

RCMP 150th Anniversary Music Collection

**UPDATE** The publishing run of 250 books sold out in less than 24 hours.

Downloadable version of the collection coming in Fall 2023.

Stay tuned!

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the RCMP, the 25th anniversary of both the RCMP tartan and the national program of RCMP Community Bands of Pipes and Drums, a dedicated member has compiled a collection of new music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. Two years in the making, this book has gathered 227 tunes from 76 composers and arrangers. They are presented in a 260 page book with photos, stories and biographies.

The book was released for sale in a limited edition on 23 May 2023. You can get more information about the book and how to order a copy on our page here.

RCMP Pipes and Drums in Basel 2022

In July 2022, nineteen RCMP Pipers and Drummers assembled in Basel, Switzerland for the 2022 Basel Tattoo. Most were Ottawa members, but we were augmented with friends from RCMP Pipe Bands in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. The Tattoo had been cancelled for the previous two years, as had most big events due to Covid, so the chance to be there for the 15th anniversary of the Basel Tattoo was very exciting.

This year, we were the only Canadian band in the Tattoo. Pipe bands joining us on parade were from South Africa (2), Australia (1), Malta (1), the U.K. military (4) and from Switzerland itself (1). Military bands (brass and reed) were from Switzerland, Bulgaria, Norway and the U.K. Adding excitement to the show were the USAF Honor Guard drill team, the Kumudini Homes School Pipe Band from India, the Flings and Things Highland Dancers from Scotland, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Top Secret Drum Corps, the local boys. Not to mention the Cows and singers from Les Armaillis de la Fete de Vignerons.

Band members arrived on 11 July and settled into the hotel. The next morning, we started four days of intensive rehearsals to fine tune the formations and the choreography. The music came together quickly as all of the bands had done their homework and were ready to play. The choreography took a bit longer as there were many adjustments to the plan until the Director was satisfied. Then, it was on to the first of 11 shows on 15 July.

Saturday, 16 July was a very busy day. It featured a 2 km street parade, with the Tattoo acts joined by over 20 guest formations. This was a popular event, with an estimated 100,000 spectators lining the route. There is a great video of the entire parade on YouTube if you’d like to watch. Just search for “2022 Basel Tattoo Parade”, or click here. After the parade, we changed to dress uniforms and presented an afternoon and an evening show, both to a full house of over 8000. I think the spectators were overjoyed to have live events again as the ovations were long and enthusiastic!

View of the parade on the Rhine bridge

The last day of the Tattoo was Saturday, 23 July and a special event took place – Children’s day. Many of the participating acts took place, giving the visiting kids a chance to try out instruments, ask questions and admire the uniforms. The RCMP tent was a popular stop. Five members were on the show floor handing out candies and RCMP and Canada flag pins. They also allowed the kids to try their hand at both snare and tenor drums, under drummer supervision of course. Many kids took the opportunity to get their photos taken holding the Drum Major’s mace and wearing some of the uniform accoutrements. Then, of course, all members were back into full uniform and marching on for the 5:30 and 9:30 PM shows to wrap up the tattoo experience.

Photos from Childrens’ Day

Basel was a very warm place to be in July, with the temperatures in the high 30s, reaching 37 degrees on one day. We were happy the majority of the shows only started at 9 PM when it was a tad cooler. Of course, it was not all hot, sunny days. Thunderstorms moved in Thursday night and pelted the city with monsoon like rain. Fortunately for us, the rain ended before the Massed Pipe Bands marched back on, but the band of the Welsh Guards got a drenching.

Band of the Welsh Guards – they don’t let the rain deter them

I should mention that the Tattoo was very well organized and took good care of the participants. Each band had a liaison officer assigned who made sure our needs were met and that we made it to our commitments on time. They brought in many pallets of water to help keep us well hydrated on those warm days. The food and accommodation was great and the passes for the city transit system were well used. It was nice to feel wanted.

Tattoos are hard work, but there is time for fun and comradeship as well. One of the highlights for many was a float down the Rhine; especially appropriate given the heat. Not everyone tried it, but many wished they had. Recreational trips organized by the Tattoo were popular, with visits to Bern and Lake Neuchatel, a day in the Alps at Stoos and Fronalpstock, a visit to the St Beatus Caves and a chocolate tasting among the offerings. On the 25th, those of us still in Basel took the opportunity to ride the local tram to the area where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. Not often you get a chance to have breakfast in Switzerland, a beverage in France, lunch in Germany and back to supper in Basel, all in the same day!

The two weeks of the Tattoo commitment signalled a return to a more normal year for the RCMP Pipes and Drums and was an experience we won’t soon forget.

Royal Visit 2022

On 18 May 2022, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited the RCMP Musical Ride at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa. Their visit was part of the celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

The band and dancers had the privilege of assisting at the show. We marched the RCMP Guidon on parade to the RCMP Regimental March, then proceeded to the menage to perform for the assembled crowd. Our job was to entertain those attending while they waited for the arrival of the special guests, who were visiting with the Ride members and the horses.

After our performance, we were able to watch the Ride before forming up once more to play for the departure. It was a perfect day for the show.

The cover photo for the post took advantage of the rare opportunity for the band to get a nice photo with the full band and the Musical Ride. Scroll down to see a larger selection of photos from the event. Also enjoy the vido of the dancers, performing to “Corky’s Gift”, a tune written by our Pipe Major, Graeme Ogilvie.

The RCMP and the Monarchy

Members of the RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers have had the privilege of performing for members of the monarchy on many occasions. We look forward to any further opportunities in future. The RCMP has a long association with the monarchy and with our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II who is a strong proponent of the Force. The Vancouver branch of the RCMP Veterans Association published a very interesting history of the association between the monarch and the RCMP. It turns out it has existed since the very early years.

It is well worth your time to have a read of this article. We hope you enjoy it!

PPBSO Feature on Andrew Hayes

The RCMP Pipes and Drums is a group of volunteer pipers, focused on community service vice competitions. Because of this, we are fortunate to have pipers and drummers from various skill levels, both competitors and casual players. We were privileged in the early years to have Andrew Hayes in our ranks. Andrew is the son of Patrick Hayes, who was the RCMP Pipe Band’s founding Pipe Major. Both are featured in the photo above.

Andrew has played with several successful competitive bands in Canada. Recently, he was the Pipe Major of the Ottawa Police Services pipe band and led them to championship titles in Grade 2 and 4, before turning over that role to focus on his solo career.

As a solo competitor, Andrew has been extremely successful. He has won many prizes in Canada and has been successful in Scotland as well. Among the prizes he has won were London Gold Medals at the Northern Meeting in 2010 and the Argyllshire Gathering in 2019.

The Ottawa Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO) branch is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It has published articles about notable members of the piping and drumming community to celebrate this milestone. Issue #34 provides Andrew’s history. It is an interesting read and can be found here. While you are there, browse the other PPBSO articles and enjoy the interesting history of piping in the Ottawa area.

Thornton Award for 2021

Every year one very special person is identified as the recipient of the Thornton Award, which goes to the band member or dancer who has served as a role model by being the ultimate team player through exceptional commitment, motivation, perseverance, and cooperation. You can read about the award’s beginnings in the 2012 History post here

At the band’s Regimental Dining-In on Saturday night, the award for 2021 was presented to Jenny Putinski. Congratulations, Jenny, from the band management team, and all band members and dancers, on this extremely befitting honour. So very much deserved.The citation for the award follows:


Jenny Putinski came to the band in 2010, and although she was not sure at first about playing for a non-competitive band, she quickly came to enjoy all the amazing events the band had to offer, including over the next two years, a Dominion Chalmers concert, a trip to Loon Mountain as Duty Band, and the FIMMQ Tattoo in Quebec City.

Already a well-accomplished piper, pipe major, and drummer, and extremely well regarded within the pipe band community of Eastern Ontario, she quickly immersed himself in the band as a committed team player whose presence has had a significant positive impact ever since.  She has participated in more than 150 events in red serge, many of them major occasions such as the presentation to the Princess Royal at the RCMP stables, and as well as domestic trips to Quebec City and Halifax, international trips to the Netherlands, Loon Mountain, Estes Park, Belfast, Edinburgh, and China.

Jenny has also done more than 30 solo events and far more than the 5,000 volunteer hours itself would belie, her commitment to representing the RCMP has been exemplary.  But even more important has been Jenny’s commitment to being the ultimate team player.

Jenny has volunteered as member on the Board of Directors, she has been acting/Pipe Major, and she has been an acting/Pipe Sergeant on many occasions.  She has also voluntarily taken on the role as one of the band’s most influential teachers and mentors, significantly helping the overall quality and presentation of the band.

Jenny’s exceptional commitment, motivation, perseverance and cooperation, serving as a role model to others in the band, makes her this year’s Thornton Award winner.