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 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 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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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:
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
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.