60th Anniversary of the RMC Band

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the RMC Pipes & Drums band, 4610 Major (Ret) Gus Nelson presented a commemorative kilt pin to the Cadet Wing Band Officer and a base drum skin to the base drummer.

The kilt pins and drum skin were donated by: Gus Nelson, who was a drummer with both the early Royal Roads Drum and Bugle Corps and the RMC Pipes & Drums band; the band also received valuable art work at the Dinner / Dance, Saturday evening.The artwork was donated by BOTH E3161 Victoria Edwards AND her spouse, Susan Haslip. Victoria is a long-time and valuable contributor to e-Veritas, and is a former recipient of the RMC Club president’s award. Following is just one example of her popular series on the 60th anniversary of the Band.

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E3161 Victoria Edwards interviewed MWO Ron Reedy, Band Officer and Rod McDonald, Executive Vice-President of the RMC Club Foundation on the RMCC band; Professional military musicians provide most of the musical instruction to the Cadets.

The Band of the Royal Military College of Canada was founded in 1953. Starting as a Bagpipe and Highland ensemble, it has since grown to include a Brass and Reed Section, a Choir, and a section of Highland Dancers. The RMC Band is now one of the largest voluntary bands in the Canadian Forces. http://www.rmc.ca/mil/ban-mus/index-eng.php

e-veritas: When were you posted for your second tour to RMC?

MWO Ron Reedy: I was posted to RMC as Band Sergeant Major / Drum Instructor / Band Officer in July 2012. I strive to develop the Pipes and Drums Section, which is comprised of approximately 30 pipers and 30 drummers. As a professional musician, I provide basic instruction and mentorship to the Pipers, Drummers and Highland Dancers. The Highland Dance Section, which has a membership of approximately 30 dancers, performs routinely with the Pipes and Drums Section.

e-veritas: What instrument(s) do you play?

MWO Ron Reedy: I am a Highland drummer. I have prior experience playing Clarinet and Saxophone and Drum Set with Concert, Stage and Marching Bands.

e-veritas: Outline the governance of the RMC bands.

MWO Ron Reedy: Much of the Band organisation and administration is carried out by Officer Cadets in their third and fourth years; the Cadet Wing Band Officer, his deputy and five section heads are all under the guidance of the Band Officer.

e-veritas: How does the RMC Club Foundation contribute to the RMC bands?

Rod McDonald: The various components of the RMC Band, including the Pipes, Drums & Dancers, the Brass & Reed Band and the Choir, are an integral part of College heritage, a source of pride for all cadets, parents, College staff and alumni as well as a key contributor to esprit de corps within the Cadet Wing. Your gifts will:

• help Band members to develop their talents through participation in musical clinics;

• support the annual band exchange with the United States Naval Academy; and,

• assist the Band in acquiring and maintaining band uniforms and equipment.

e-veritas: Outline your career path leading to serving your tours of duty as band officer at RMC (1991-96) & (2012-present)?

MWO Ron Reedy: I joined the CF in 1982 as an Infantry Soldier while performing with the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment as a volunteer and part time musician. After realizing that music was my passion, I remustered to the Music Branch in 1991; I became a full time Pipe Band Drum Instructor.

Soon after promotion to Sgt., I was posted to RMC for my first tour of duty at the college from 1991-1996. I was posted to 12 Wing Shearwater NS in 1996-2002, after being promoted to the Rank of Warrant Officer, where I was in charge of a 35 piece Volunteer Pipe Band while performing at all Ceremonial events and performances throughout the East Coast. In 2002 was promoted to the rank of MWO and posted to 8 Wing Trenton as the Band Sgt. Major overseeing the two Volunteer Bands there at CFB Trenton. I was posted to DHH-Music in 2008-2011 while working with musician colleagues to develop policies and procedures for the Music Branch and its members. I was posted in 2011 to the Central Band Ottawa; I assisted in the administration of the Central Band while developing Pipe Band Drummers in the Air Command Pipes and Drums. In July of 2012, I was posted to RMCC for a second tour as the Band Officer of the Music Programme.

e-veritas: What are your plans for the RMC band?

MWO Ron Reedy: My plans for the RMC band are to develop the leadership and musicianship into a strong and cohesive team. My goal is to give musicians attending RMC a chance to improve their musical skills. The RMC band will perform and play with pride, at the various events while entertaining the public and connecting with Canadians.

e-veritas: Any notable performances or skylarks?

MWO Ron Reedy: The Band participated in various public performances, shows, and parades such as the Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo, the annual charity concert at the Kingston Grand Theatre, the Vanier Cup at the Skydome, Disneyland Florida, and various other performances in our immediate geographical area. Some of the more notable performances are the Brass & Reed Christmas Concert and the Concert in Scarlets which are held annually.

 e-veritas: What do you consider when arranging the program for a parade or Community showcase?

MWO Ron Reedy: If at all possible, we always try to perform music that is current and relevant to the listener, while also catering to all age levels and generations. [At the Concert in Scarlets, held each year at the Kingston Gospel Temple, they performed old classics and modern favourites: “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Stan Roger’s “Northwest Passage,” U2′s “Beautiful Day,” “Fever,” and a number of traditional pieces by the Pipes & Drums. A black light drum salute and a combined performance of “Amazing Grace” helped to round out the show.]

e-veritas: What is your primary duty? What do you consider the high-light of serving at the Military College?

MWO Ron Reedy: Primarily we are here to serve the College and surrounding areas with music for all ceremonial events, Mess Dinners, concerts, or any special events in the local area. It is most satisfying to me when the performance comes together through the long and arduous hours of practice and the early mornings the Cadets endure to perfect the Music and perform it at the best of their ability.

e-veritas: How do you counsel performers to balance the four pillars of academics, military, athletics, and bilingualism with extra curricular activities like the band or highland dance?

MWO Ron Reedy: We try not to push them too hard; but we do maintain a balance and standard that is acceptable in order to get the job done to the best of our ability, given the limited rehearsals and time to prepare for most events.

e-veritas: What are your greatest challenges at the Military College?

MWO Ron Reedy: I think the greatest challenge for me would be to get back a Full Time Pipe Major Instructor, who we had lost in recent years. In past years there was a Pipe Major, and a Drum Instructor here at the College to teach beginners from scratch which is necessary for the proper development of future Pipers and Drummers at the College. Without one of those positions, a weakness is created in that section that is missing that specific instructor. There should be a Pipe Major, Drum Instructor and a Brass & Reed Bandmaster to properly run the Bands here at the College.

e-veritas: To what extent does RMC differ from your other postings?

MWO Ron Reedy: The RMC band is much different than the Bands I have come from. The difference mainly is that I do not play and perform with the Cadets, instead I develop and mentor them to lead themselves, which can be a bit difficult while observing on the sidelines.

e-veritas: Did the cadets ever play skylarks on you?

MWO Ron Reedy: No skylarks on me yet!

e-veritas: Did the RMC band produce any recordings while you served at RMC?

MWO Ron Reedy: There were several recordings done here with the RMC bands; one of them was during my first tour (1991-96) along with Pipe Major Danny Smith and then Bandmaster Sylvain Gagnon. { “The RMC Band La musique du CMR : 1996 [CD] [Canada :, Royal Military College of Canada,, 1996] with tracks:

1. Carmina burana. O fortuna / Carl Orff

2. Mist covered mountains / Trad.

3. Scotland the brave / arr. William Hodson

4. Drum salute / M. Steele ; arr. Ron Reedy

5. Coppermill ; Ass in the graveyard ; Jiggernaut / Grey, Tully, Mathieson

6. Le cirque du soleil. Alegria / René Dupéré ; arr. Sylvain Gagnon

7. George Henry Gillis / Trad.

8. Peter Gunn / Henri Mancini ; arr. Sylvain Gagnon

9. Amazing grace / arr. Milne

10. Donald McLean of Lewis / Donald McLeod

11. Pour les enfants du monde entier / Yves Duteil

12. Scotland the brave; Marie’s wedding / Trad.

13. Second suite for military band in F. Movement 4 / Gustav Holst

14. Atholl Highlanders ; Bonnie Dundee / Trad.

15. Scotch on the rocks / Bill Bates

16. Die Fledermaus / Johann Strauss ; arr. Caillet

17. Dance set. Itchy fingers ; Skye boat song ; Louden’s bonnie woods and braes ; Capt. Horne; Cambelton kiltie ball ; Orange and blue / Trad.

18. Second suite for military band in F. Mouvement 2 / Gustav Holst

19. Highland cathedral / Roever & Korb ; arr. Williamson & Williams

20. Road to the isles / Malcolm Johnson, Kenneth McLeod

21. Précision / Mme Denise Chabot ; arr. Sylvain Gagnon

22. Alexander Mackenzie / D. Carrigan ; arr. Williams} Source: http://gvpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1539561041_the_rmc_band

e-veritas: What are you doing these days? Do you play with any ex-cadets?

MWO Ron Reedy: I am not currently playing in a Pipe Band or with any Ex-Cadets. I am thinking on getting involved with the RMC Stage band in the near future. [The RMC Stage Band Club is a band made up of cadets, officers and staff at the Royal Military College of Canada. The band is comprised of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, guitar, rhythm and bass. Their goal is to give musicians attending RMC a chance to improve their musical skills, as well as entertain the public.]

• 4610 Major (Ret’d) Gus Nelson (RRMC RMC 1959) http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=105009

• 5215 LCol (Ret’d) Larry Springford (RMC 1961) http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=104776

• 3506 Ron Capern; 3591 Donald Gregory; 3954 William Hughes http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=44730

• 3480 Mo Hewitt http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=43587

• MWO Doug Craft http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=40640

• CWO Jack Kopstein http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=45663

• WO Eugene Heather http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=40273

• MWO Martin Huppé http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=41085

• MWO Chris Embree http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?p=70409