RCMP e division pipes and drums
Based in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, the RCMP “E” Division Pipe Band was formed in April, 2006, and is one of the eight RCMP Pipe Bands currently active in Canada. The band is comprised of both police and civilian volunteers from throughout British Columbia, who have come together to share and showcase their musical talent, and to bring the community closer to its national police force.
The organization was the brainchild of Drum Major Rob Smith, himself a 30-year veteran of the RCMP, who had played in many pipe bands throughout his career. Rob had been trying to start the “E” Division Pipe Band since 1998 when there was a nucleus of Regular and Retired RCMP members playing at various Force functions. This early group, led by Pipe Major Colin Grinstead, ceased operations in 2000 but the desire of Rob to have an “E” Division band did not end with it. In 2006 Rob left the Maple Ridge Pipe Band to devote his full time efforts to forming the Band - this time focusing on a civilian volunteers as the nucleus of a community pipe band.
The band made its debut appearance on October 28, 2006, at the Scottish Cultural Centre in Vancouver, where they played 2 sets of familiar tunes to a sold-out crowd of over 300 enthusiastic supporters, members of the pipe band community, friends, and family. They were joined by Ann Gray and Pipe Major Bruce Topp, who each gave rousing solo performances, and The Halifax Wharf Rats who played a lively mix of Celtic and Maritime/Atlantic tunes to get the audience up dancing.
In 2008, Hugh Peden took over as Pipe Major of the E Division band and continued the band’s early successes. Hugh brings over four decades of piping experiences to the Band and has maintained the high standard’s originally set out by the founding members. The release of the Band’s first CD, “Live in Langley” which was recorded in concert with the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir at the Christian Life Assembly Church in October 2011 and the overseas trip to Beijing China in 2016 are major milestones for the band. In 2012 Mike Guillemin took over as the band’s Drum Major and presided over the presentation of the Band’s Regimental Mace presentation by the E Division Commanding Officer in 2015.
The band has been fortunate to have four top competitive side drummers filling the Drum Sgt role since its inception. Initially Alistair Fraser built the drum corps from the ground up starting in 2006. He established a high standard of drumming that continues to this day. Gwyn MacGregor succeeded Alistair in 2008 and led the corp until 2011. Gwyn’s ‘Kit Drum’ performances at concerts were a highlight during his tenure. Carol Fraser succeeded Gwyn in 2011 and led the drum corp for the next 3 years including the drum corp of National Combined Bands performance in Quebec City in 2013 and the Okanagan Military Tattoo in 2014. In the fall of 2014, well known local drummer and judge, Gregor Merry, took over the Drum Sgt role continuing the established tradition of top leadership in the drum corp.
The Band participates in numerous local events in BC from community parades to corporate events to RCMP ceremonial functions. Band members have also participated in RCMP “Combined” Band events including the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo (twice), the presentation of the RCMP Service Horse “George” to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Okanagan Military Tattoo, and the Beijing International Tourism Festival.