“Herbie MacLeod” Set Video

Here is a second virtual performance by the RCMP Pipe Band and Dancers of National Division. This video presents the dancers performing to the tunes “In Memory of Herbie MacLeod”, “Stone Frigate” and “High Drive”. Band members and dancers recorded their inputs in isolation (because 2020) and provided them to our Dance Team Leader Kelsey Stewart. She used her technical and artistic skills to synchronize the videos and produce this excellent video.

“In Memory of Herbie MacLeod” was written by Jerry Holland; “Stone Frigate” was composed by P/M Donald Carrigan and “High Drive” was composed by Gordon Duncan.

This video was first presented at the Scottish Society of Ottawa’s Hogman-eh celebration on 31 December 2020. It is available on YouTube at this link:

“Corky’s Gift” Dance presentation

Because of the regulations prohibiting gatherings, the RCMP Pipe Band and Dancers could not assemble as a band after March 2020. While frustrating, that did not stop the members from wanting to perform. In the Fall, the band was asked to provide content for the Scottish Society of Ottawa’s “Hogman-eh” celebration on 31 December 2020.

The dancers decided to submit a unique dance to the tune “Corky’s Gift.” Each dancer provided a video of their own performance of the dance and the Dance Team’s lead, Kelsey Stewart, provided the technical expertise to bring the videos together into a beautiful presentation.

Corky’s Gift was composed by Pipe Major Graeme Ogilvie as thanks to Corky Muir, wife of piper Graham Muir.  He wanted her to have it as a gift – a gesture of thanks for the many meals Corky had prepared and delivered to the Ogilvie residence during his wife, Debbie’s, protracted battle with cancer. P/M Ogilvie played the tune for the video and was accompanied by his nephew Cameron Ogilvie on guitar.

The tune is part of the band’s regular repertoire, but this video presents it in a very different way. Enjoy! You can enjoy the video by clicking on this link

RCMP Pipe Band History Series – 2020

Considering how limited the “free” time in 2020 was, the band still managed to get in some interesting performances, starting with the production of the video for Governor Bruce’s Ramparts. You can read the full story of that event here. The cover picture for this post is from that recording session, which was actually the last time the band and dancers performed together. Over the summer, small contingents of pipers and drummers gave short shows at a number of Long Term Care homes to raise the spirits of the residents. We also snuck in a show for Canada Day at the Orleans Legion.

Like many organizations in 2020, we ended up resorting to Zoom meetings for practices. We even had our AGM, Regimental Dinner and our Christmas party by Zoom. This kept us in touch and kept our tunes fresh in our minds, ready for when we can finally get back to live shows. We hope 2021 brings normalcy back soon, to permit the band to bring our music to events again.

This issue is the final installment of the RCMP Pipe Band History Series that we have been posting over the course of the year 2020. The series was intended to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Division Pipe Band by reflecting on where we’ve been. What a history! While 2020 has certainly been a quiet year, the band has done an incredible number of memorable events in prior years. The number of trips and tattoos in which band members have participated is extraordinary. Bands or mini-bands have performed in China, Hong Kong, Mexico and the Netherlands as well as London and Edinburgh, Las Vegas and New York. We have been involved with many Military Tattoos and celebrations across Canada from the Maritimes to the Prairies. We hope you have enjoyed reading these stories and maybe will go back and have a look from time to time.

You can access the full story for 2020 here. Enjoy.

Band History series – 2019

The band history series is almost caught up, with only one year left to summarize. Each year over the history has brought challenges, new events, new accomplishments and ever higher demands on the volunteers. 2019 was definitely a pinnacle year, with the presentation of a concert at Dominion Chalmers, followed by participation in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and the Belfast Tattoo and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; all of which are very demanding events in their own right. The cover photo for this post is of the Edinburgh Tattoo massed pipe bands marching down the Royal Mile, led by our own Pipe Major, Brad Hampson. There were many highlights during this year, but sad times too, as well as changes in the band’s leadership team and supporting elements.

Read all about this remarkable year by opening the PDF document here. Enjoy the many photos and anecdotes provided.

Pipe Band History Series – 2018

While there have been many incredible years for the band over the first 18 years of its life, 2018 was a standout. This was the year the RCMP Pipe Band program was awarded a Unit Commendation for the accomplishments over the years and its contribution to the RCMP’s program. As you’ll read, this was a first for the RCMP and was a great honour for the band members.

The band participated in 34 events over the year, including a Ceilidh to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the RCMP Tartan. This was held at the Cartier Square Drill Hall and was a sellout event. A group also participated in the Belfast Tattoo and was one of the featured acts.

One of the biggest events of the year was the trip to China for the Shanghai Tourist Festival. A large composite band, with members from across the country, participated in the parade. The estimated television audience for the event is 200 million people, so that is definitely the largest crowd we’ve played for. Naturally, the band took the opportunity to visit many interesting sights in China, including the Great Wall and Tianamen Square. We also had the chance to sample lots of Chinese cuisine in several different cities. The title photo is of the dancers on the trip, outside one of the dining spots. The whole story, along with many photos, are in this post’s write up, so please take the opportunity to have a read. The document can be reached here.

RCMP Band History Series – 2017

In 2017, the band performed at 40 different events, 10 of those with dancers. Individual pipers performed at 98 solo events, so another busy year. The Perley Rideau concert started the year off, followed by a public concert at Dominion Chalmers. In September, the band returned to Loon Mountain for the New Hampshire games. To the absolute delight of the whole band, our dancers were invited to join the famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers for their evening show. They still rave about that opportunity. Take a look at the cover photo from that event.

To top off the year, a small contingent went to Merida Mexico to play for the International Festival of Mayan Culture, and a group had the pleasure of playing for the Grey Cup festival at Lansdowne park.

It wasn’t all play, though. Band members still attended both the Ontario and the National Police Memorial service, and helped new Drum Majors learn their stuff when the course was run at the Carleton University campus, plus local RCMP functions when called upon.

As usual, this was just a small taste. Read the article and check out the many great photos in the document here.

RNWMP History – The Lost Patrol

Our esteemed Drum Major shared an RCMP history moment with band members, that we hope will be of interest to others as well. He was given a copy of the actual investigation report submitted on “The Lost Patrol” of the RNWMP in 1911 (as it became known). He remembers being told this story by his father, an RCMP member, and has shared the story.

“My father had patrolled by dogsled in the far north with the RCMP, and attested to the challenges of being in the true wilderness with only yourself, your dogs, your toboggan, supplies, and a trusty indigenous special constable to keep you alive. I was so intrigued with this story, which is one of legend in RCMP history. A tragedy yes, but valuable lessons learned as a result, which you will see. The story itself as seen through a diary kept, a report, an investigation, a map, and an unbelievable Arctic winter cold for the history books. It makes for quite the adventure to read about as we begin our own winter.

After I created the map of the patrol route, based on the diary and investigative report, it made the story much more interesting, to view the map, and to understand the challenges and difficulties faced in this Yukon wilderness.

For those interested, page 22 of the RNWMP investigation report, is the transcription of the diary written by Insp. Fitzgerald, which can only leave you incredulous as to how they were able to continue on without food (eating their sled dogs), frozen with frostbite from falling through ice multiple times, and with the extreme cold of -60 temps and wind chill, in the winter darkness of the north, only to succumb within a good day’s travel of their Fort. Cpl. Dempster’s search patrol party report is equally interesting, and one of legend.”

You can see a copy of the map he prepared here and to read the story itself, click here.

RCMP Pipe Band History Series – 2016

The band history series continues, fueled by the dedication of our Pipe Major, Graeme Ogilve and his great record keeping! 2016 was a year of major change for the band; a new Pipe Major, a new Band Officer, a new Commanding Officer and a new lead for the dance team. The band also moved their quartermaster stores to the new HQ building on Leikin Road, which made life much easier for anyone needing uniform adjustment.

But the music went on. April featured a spring concert at Dominion Chalmers and September had the band flying off to Estes Park Colorado for a unique performance at the Scottish Festival there. There were 31 band events in total, with the dancers performing at 12 of them.

The year was also marked by the presentation of a new regimental mace. This was a gift to the band from former piper Kenneth Thornton. This allowed the original mace, dated from 1932, to be retired to the museum for safe keeping.

2016 was also memorable for featuring the very first time the RCMP Pipe Band of National Division actually wore their rain capes on parade (see post title photo).

More on this and many other stories in the full history document, which you can find by clicking here.

RCMP Band History – 2015

After a relatively quiet 2014, with no international trips, 2015 was a huge surge forward. The band participated in two overseas events that the members still talk about and hope to repeat.

The celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands in May, was an extraordinary experience. The hospitality of the Dutch towards the Canadians was incredible. Many strong friendships were forged on that trip and lifelong memories were made. This post’s cover photo is from one of the events on that trip.

Then to make for an even more outstanding year, many of the members headed off to Edinburgh in July to join in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The REMT is a month long, daily parade commitment. It is a hard slog, but one that the band members agree was well worth it. After all, performing at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a bucket list item for most pipers! Note that both of these were “Composite Band” events, which means members from the other RCMP bands across the country joined in, making the events an opportunity to make new friendships from across the country.

Even with those two demanding events to deal with, the band still supported another 25 events over the year, including the 5th annual spring concert at the Perley Rideau Veteran’s home. It was also the year the dance team joined up with the Ottawa Police Service dancers to provide spectacular performances for both bands.

It was a great year, full of interesting stories. Read all about it here.

RCMP Pipe Band History series – 2014

The RCMP Pipe Band had a somewhat quieter year in 2014, in that there was no international travel for the first time since 2004. There were still 42 events for the band, however, including 17 in which the dancers were a key part.

One sad duty of the band is leading the parade at funerals of police officers and 2014 had one of those occasions. Three RCMP officers were killed in Moncton that year by a crazed gunman and band members from across the country joined police officers from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. to honour them.

There were many happier events too, including a freezing cold march in the annual St Patrick’s day parade in Montreal; a show for the Beau’s Oktoberfest; performing at a Redblacks game in September; and presenting a gift of RCMP Tartan to Princess Anne at the musical ride stables in November. We also took part in the observances of the Afghanistan National Day of Honour, which took place on Parliament Hill on 9 May. The feature photo for this post is of the band on the Hill that day.

The band tried something new in 2014 by preparing an arrangement of “the Gael”, which is an interesting pipe tune on its own. You’ll have to read the history document for the details of that.

One of the articles highlights band members’ participation in the Soldier On program by offering a “Saddle Up” course for ill and injured Canadian Forces veterans. Another great cause supported by our dedicated team of volunteers.

Note that after this week, the History series articles will be presented bi-weekly vice weekly. Don’t forget to check back to see them, since there were lots more adventures in the next few years up to today.

Read the whole great story of 2014 here.