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.

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.

Welcome

Welcome to the new Pipe Band Blog page. This is a new initiative for us, so we are not yet sure how it will turn out. This is the band’s 20th year in operation, so we will be starting a series of posts describing the events over those years. Once the pandemic situation permits, we hope the band will get back to normal activities, at which time we should be able to write some blogs about our events. And who knows what else might show up? Stay tuned and we hope the contents of the blog will be interesting for you.