RCMP Pipe Band History Series – 2010

After the extremely busy year the band had in 2009, the year 2010 was a bit quieter and gave members time to decompress a bit. Of course “quieter” is a relative term, since they still did 38 events.

One of the sad duties of the band, but a very important one, is piping for funerals of police officers killed on duty. In that respect, 2010 was a particularly bad year with two funerals.

On a happier note, one event from 2010 which has been ongoing since, is a spring concert for the veterans at the Perley-Rideau health centre. This show is usually the first concert of the year, so gives the band members a chance to test out the new tunes and dances against a live audience.

The band also participated in four Tattoos, two of which were in the U.S. and three of which were over a period of less than one month.

Check out the full story, complete with many great photos, here

RCMP Pipe Band history series – 2009

In 2009, the RCMP Pipe Band had a banner year. The band played at 40 events and among them, 5 different Military Tattoos. That is a remarkable list of achievements, but is even more impressive when you add in the 2nd presentation of a variety show at the Dominion Chalmers, which they then took on the road to Pembroke for a presentation there.

One of the tattoos mentioned above was the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo. The RCMP were presenting a horse to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, so the band was invited to play at the tattoo where the presentation would take place. Twelve lucky musicians from across Canada formed the composite band for this event. As a side note, the RCMP had to ensure Police Service Horse George was not going to be surprised and react badly to the Pipes and Drums, so band members visited him at the Ottawa stable to acclimatize him. Apparently, he liked the pipes, but took a bit of time to get used to the “snap” of the snare drums and the whirling of the sticks. In the end, he proved to be a fan!

The cover photo above shows George posing with band members.

To read the full story of this exciting year, access the document here.

RCMP Pipe Band History series – 2008

In its eighth year, the band spread its wings even further and got involved in more varied events. One of the memorable highlights is their participation in a special event in Las Vegas, at the Planet Hollywood Resort Casino in Las Vegas, hosted by TV icon Regis Philbin. The story of that adventure is included in this year’s edition and is definitely worth a read. The cover photo is the band on stage in Las Vegas for that special event,

Other events in 2008 included a fundraising concert to a sell out crowd at the majestic Dominion Chalmers United Church in downtown Ottawa. This concert resulted in the production of a great CD. Trips to Regina, Kingston, Charlottetown and Pictou rounded out the very busy year. There were 38 band events in total and the dancers were also performing in eight of those. You might notice that a few of the events were labeled as Composite band participation. When there is a major event which would benefit from a larger presence, pipers and drummers are recruited from other RCMP Pipe Bands across the country. It makes for a bigger sound and greater presence, but does lead to other challenges.

Read the whole interesting story of 2008’s adventures here.

General Bruce’s Ramparts

In August 2019, a composite band of members of RCMP Pipes and Drums bands from across the country had the distinct honour to participate in the massed bands of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. One of the many highlights of this month-long experience was meeting the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, Major General Alastair Bruce. He entertained us with stories of his links to Canada through his ancestors; Lord Elgin and Lord Durham, both former Governors General. The grandfather of our Pipe Major, Graeme Ogilvie, was the lead of a string orchestra that played for the Royal Family at Glamis Castle in the 1930’s for Saturday night dinners. During the conversations, Graeme asked Governor Bruce for a favour regarding access to photo archives at Glamis Castle and the Governor asked for a favour in return – his own bagpipe tune.

Our PM rose to the challenge, and penned the tune, “Governor Bruces’s Ramparts” which the full band recorded for Governor Bruce early in 2020 in a special session at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. Governor Bruce loved the tune and played a recording of it for the Queen, who enjoyed the tune as well. Since Her Majesty is the Commissioner-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (and continues to ride their horses, several of which have been gifted to her throughout her reign) this was a happy and unexpected bonus. The members of the band enjoyed performing this tune and have been looking forward to this official release of the video.

A historical note – the get together for this recording was the only time so far in 2020 that the full band was together in red serge! We hope it’s not the last, but with the pandemic still raging, that is a strong possibility. We will enjoy listening to the video while we wait and hope you do as well.

You can listen to the video at this link. Make sure you read the caption and comments on the YouTube link to get a bit more of this interesting story.

RCMP Pipe Band History series – 2007

The band history series continues with this offering from the Pipe Major covering the events of the year 2007.

In 2007, the band moved into its new practice area at the then-RCMP National Headquarters in Vanier. The bigger space worked out well with the increase in numbers of band members and to allow joint rehearsals with the new dance corps.

There were many significant events, including the RCMP being granted Freedom of the City by the city of Regina in May that year. They also performed at the Saskatchewan International Tattoo, the Gold Cup Parade in Charlottetown, the Festival of Tartans in New Glasgow NS and the 125th Anniversary Policing Tattoo in North Bay. The highlight photo for this post is from the tattoo in Regina. There were 38 events in total for the band, and over 50 events where solo pipers from the band performed. The story of the performance at the Vimy memorial is definitely worth a read.

To get the whole story and see the fantastic photos from that year, check out the document here.

RCMP Pipe Band History series – 2006

The Band History series of posts continues with the year 2006. This was a significant year for the band. First, there was a fairly major change of players as many of the founding members went back to the Ottawa Police Service band. Fortunately, there were many new players who stepped up and joined the RCMP band.

In previous years, the Loch Murray Dance school had provided the dance contingent for the band to give events a bit of extra colour. In 2006, work started to build a dance corps integrated with the band to give senior dancers from all schools the opportunity to join.

The band participated in only 27 events that year, a few less than previous years. Of significance, though, was the first band international trips to the Greater Cleveland Police Officers Memorial Weekend and to Rochester, New York for their International Marine Tattoo. The feature photo above shows the band participants at the Rochester Tattoo along with some members of the Gurkha Pipe Band.

Read about these events and more in the full document here

Band History Series – 2005

The RCMP Pipe Band History series with this recap of 2005’s events and activities for the band and dancers.

The year was unfortunately marked by the RCMP tragedy at Mayerthorpe. Although most of the band members are not RCMP officers, we do have an attachment to the organization, so share the sorrow when the RCMP family is stricken. The band also strongly felt the unexpected passing of the band’s first Pipe Major, Ottawa Police Superintendent Pat Hayes.

But 2005 also saw the band and dancers do their first concert series; three performances at the Centrum Theatre in Orleans, and was involved in a number of other major activities. All told, the band members performed in over 35 events over the course of the year. Busy times for a bunch of volunteer musicians.

Read the whole story here

RCMP Pipe Band History Series – 2004

The band history series continues with a look at 2004. The band was now independent of the Ottawa Police Pipe Band and had a strength of 19 pipers and 10 drummers. Plus, we had the support of the Loch Murray dancers for performances. The variety and scope of performances increased and included the Hamilton International Tattoo and the St Patrick’s day parade in Toronto. Of course, the band also supported RCMP events, such as the police memorial in Toronto, medals parades and a change of command parade in London, Ontario. There was also an international event, with Pipe Sgt Gilbert Young piping for a conference in Arlington VA. The partnership with Ottawa Police Pipe Band continued with joint shows at a Gala fundraiser for Big Sisters and Big Brothers of Ottawa and the Sunset Ceremonies. The full list of the activities is included in the article.

The photo is of the band marching in the Canada Day parade in 2004, in front of the beautiful Chateau Laurier.

Lots of interesting snippets in the history for 2004. Have a read of the article here.

Piping in the military – a bit of history

Piping in the military had gone through some big changes in the 1980s. Our Pipe Major found this article in his archives, from the military’s Sentinel magazine in 1992. It talks about the situation with pipers in the military and how things changed over the years. Most pipers in military bands in 1992 were volunteers, except for a few professional musicians, who were the Pipe Majors and lead drummers. I don’t think the situation has changed much since then, but would be happy to hear if that’s the case. Pipers are largely a crazy lot who do it for the love of the music! Anyway, the article is here for your reading pleasure.

RCMP Pipe Band History Series – 2003

The Band History series continues for the year 2003. This was the first year the band truly stood on its own two feet, independent of the Ottawa Police Pipe Band and it was a busy one. Band members piped at over 30 events, from Regimental medals parades to telethons and fund raisers for charity events, to Celtic Festivals and Highland games.

The cover photo, above, has the dancers posing with then Prime Minister Jean Chretien. The notes don’t say where the picture was taken, but the participants are obviously thrilled at the chance to be together in the shot.

In 2003, the RCMP Regimental March was arranged for bagpipes by PM Graeme Ogilvie and added to the band’s repertoire. It has been an important part of band performances since then. Read the whole story of 2003 in the full article here.