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.

Remembrance Day 2021

Remembrance Day is always an important date in the calendar for the Pipes and Drums. Remembering the contributions of our military and police veterans in times of conflict is a sacred duty for our members. The RCMP Pipes and Drums have led the parade at the Royal Canadian Legion branch 632 in Orleans for many years, but in 2020, due to Covid restrictions, the band was represented only by our Pipe Major and Bugler in the limited attendance ceremony. This year, with the easing of restrictions, the Legion was able to present a full ceremony at their cenotaph and we were able to participate with a full band.

The band marched on the colours at the form up point, then led the veterans contingent to the cenotaph. Once in place, we played Maple Leaf Forever again to march the colours on and off the assembly area. As the ceremony progressed, our Bugler played the Last Post and the Rouse and the Pipe Major played the traditional Lament, Flowers of the Forest. Once the many wreaths were laid, the band marched off the participants to the Regimental March. In pure celebration of the occasion to march together again, the band returned to the branch building to the tune Cabar Feidh.

After a short break to warm up and partake in the lunch put on by the Branch, a mini-band retired to the upstairs lounge and played a few tunes. From all reports, the music was enjoyed by all. Certainly the band members really enjoyed the chance to perform as a group again after such a long dry spell.

The participants at the ceremony were all obviously pleased to be able to gather for a full ceremony again to remember our veterans. The favourable weather was an added bonus for all who attended. Our band photographer, Charles, was on hand to take the beautiful photographs presented below.

A tune for your listening pleasure

A short time ago, we announced the planned production of a book of pipe music to celebrate the RCMP’s 150th Anniversary in 2023. (details here) This post is to highlight one of the entries already submitted for the book.

The tune, 50 by 1, is composed by Bruce Topp, a former Pipe Major of the E division band. Before joining the RCMP Pipe Band in 2006, Bruce had already served as Pipe Major in military bands and had participated in many significant events with several of them. His full biography can be found here.

Bruce was also a long serving member of the Delta Police Pipe band and wrote this tune for their anniversary. This video, prepared by the DPPB, provides a beautiful rendition of the tune. Look for it in the compilation when it’s released next year.

The video can be found here. Enjoy!

RCMP Pipe Band “Virtual” Concert for Perley & Rideau Veterans

The RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers first performed a concert at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in December 2008 as a “Christmas present” to the Veterans and staff. The audience much enjoyed the show, so in 2010, the band decided to make the concert an annual event. Since then, the band has presented a show every year, usually in April. It give us a chance to do a “dress rehearsal” to try out all the new material for the coming year and provides a kick off to summer for the veterans.

The band is proud to honour and recognize the veterans at the residence and not only applaud the service they had provided to Queen and Country, but to give them an evening’s entertainment far from their normal daily routine.

Sadly, the pandemic prevented the band from doing the annual show in 2020 and again in 2021, so an alternative was found. The band members and dancers recorded individual videos of their tunes and dances. These were passed to our multi-skilled Dance Team leader, Kelsey, who tied them all together into a great 30 minute show. The video was passed to the Perley Rideau entertainment people in early May. We are now happy to share this with a wider audience. We hope you enjoy it.

Here is the link to the video on YouTube


The first Festival Internationale de Musique militaire (FIMMQ) took place in Québec City in 1967. It was organized by the Canadian Army for the 100th anniversary of the Canadian
confederation. This year (2013) saluted the 15th anniversary of the Festival and gathered close to 700 musicians and participants.

Over the week of activities, it was estimated that the bands entertained over 200,000 people. There were bands from Belgium, Germany, Chile, France and Russia as well as all the Canadian bands. Three soloists from the Russian Red Army Choir were the special guest.

This was the fourth and final time that an RCMP Composite Pipes, Drums and
Dancers performed at the FIMMQ. Unfortunately, the FIMMQ ceased operations after the 2013 show. It was a huge disappointment to all who felt that this was one of the best
exhibitions of military brass bands in existence.

Representatives participated from the RCMP Pipes and Drums from “H” Division (Halifax), “J” Division (Moncton), “C” Division (Montréal), “National” Division (Ottawa), “D” Division (Winnipeg), “K” Division (Regina) and “E” Division (Vancouver). Dancers from “H”, “C” and “National” Divisions joined the RCMP Composite Pipes and Drums. As was the case the previous year, the only other pipe band participating was the local 78th Fraser Highlanders, Québec City Garrison.

It was a great performance, which you can watch here: FIMMQ 2012

RCMP PB at Windsor Castle 2009

The RCMP Pipe Band traveled to the U.K. in 2009 to participate in the Royal Windsor Military Tattoo. The occasion was the presentation of RCMP Horse “George” to Her Majesty the Queen. “George” was the fourth black horse presented to Her Majesty by the RCMP. These beautiful horses are used for the breeding program and to be ridden on ceremonial occasions.

The video shows the full presentation ceremony This includes the introduction by Leslie Neilson, which gives the history of the presentation of RCMP horses to Her Majesty. The band marches in with “George” at about the 3 minute mark.

You can read more about “George” and the presentation in the CTV News article here. Enjoy the video on YouTube, by following this link.

Last Nicht o Loch Doune

The band had to celebrate Robbie Burns’ birthday in January 2021, but was not able to meet physically due to the lockdown. We did a virtual dinner instead; everyone in their own homes, but connected through Zoom. The physical distancing didn’t prevent members from having a great evening of fellowship.

As a little “extra”, several videos were prepared and played for those attending, Some of the other videos have been highlighted through posts on the website here already, but we saved the best for last. Our illustrious Pipe Sgt Donald Corbett and Drum Cpl Andy Main collaborated to compose this great story of the trials and tribulations of a pipe band in the era of lock down, but looking hopefully at the end of it!

We hope you find it as entertaining as we did. Follow this link to the video and sit back and enjoy!

The RCMP Regimental March

Charles O’Neill composed “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regimental March” for the RCMP in 1952. It was arranged for the bagpipes by our own Pipe Major, Graeme Ogilvie. The full story of how the march came to be, is spelled out in the Band History for 2017. You can read that on our web site here

The band traditionally performs the Regimental March at the end of public performances and even at band practices. If you follow the band, you will definitely have heard it before. The featured photo is from the Sunset Ceremonies in 2018, where the band puts on a performance jointly with the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band.

The pipers and drummers of the RCMP National Division Pipe Band assembled (virtually – it was 2020) to perform the RCMP Regimental march, late in 2020. Band Members’ individual videos were expertly assembled by our Dance Team Leader Kelsey Stewart into this presentation, which is available on YouTube at the link here.

“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: