The Pipe Major: Not your everyday leadership role
28057 OCdt (II) Colin Bond
When it comes to being a Pipe Major in any Highland Band it requires dedication, discipline, adaptability, and organization. When I asked this Semester’s Pipe Major, OCdt Tristan Perry 27588 about his job, he was more then happy to explain his role within the RMC Band.
OCdt Perry offered this insight: “My job responsibilities within the Pipes & Drums is to train and develop the Pipe Section, dress and deportment, appointing instructors for musical development, all overseen by the Training Wing Pipe Major. I am responsible for leading the Pipes, Drums, and Dancers during all performances and public relations tasks assigned to us by the College Operations Officer. Practices are conducted four days a week to ensure the beginner pipers are developing their skills to where they can perform on parade, and to ensure the parade capable pipers are constantly challenging themselves in order to become better musicians. Furthermore, I track the musical development of the pipers in the Section to get an accurate read on their capabilities in order to task them for appropriate performances. I am required to ensure that all of the pipers are conducting themselves in an officer-like manner during practices/performances as well as during the school day.” These characteristics provide a solid base of leadership vital to the highland Section as a whole, and will prepare the Pipers, Drummers, and Dancers for their future careers within the military.
The job of the Pipe Major is a daily one, there is always necessary administrative and logistical work that needs to be done to ensure the smooth running of the Highland Musicians and Dancers. “The day to day running of the Section, ensuring attendance is met and making sure that everything that needs to be done before practice is done. My day begins at 0515 and I am in the office by 0600 to be briefed by the Training Wing Pipe Major and prepare for the 0630 practices. With regards to events and taskings, my level of involvement varies. For some events, I simply task a piper, give them all of the information required and arrange for transport to the venue if needed. Other events such as the Concert [in Scarlets] and Sunset [Ceremony] require months of preparation, from tune selection, training, and the fine details that ensure events run smoothly while working in conjunction with the other Section leaders, and event organizers.” From early morning to late at night, OCdt Perry is constantly planning and ensuring the smooth running of the Pipe Section.
The position of Pipe Major draws from the general responsibilities of the “Section commander, flight leader, operations officer, and administration officer”, all while “staying on top of my pillars, as well as my own development as a piper and a prospective future officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.”
On parade, OCdt Perry is required to put all of his work to the test where he calls command to the whole highland section. He must commit to memory every minute detail of the repertoire for each performance, parade, or event.
The role of the Pipe Major is a constant balance of leadership and hard work, ensuring that the daily tasks are met, and planning for future events is completed. OCdt Perry strives daily to embody the RMC Band motto: “The sound of Leadership since 1953”.