Strathcona Pipes and Drums


Pipes and Drums Band
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
Steele Barracks
PO Box 10500, Station Forces
Edmonton, AB  T5J 4J5
Fax: (780) 973-1670


If thy neighbour offend thee, give each of his children bagpipes. -Old Scottish Proverb-


Strathcona’s Pipes and Drums - A little bit of history

By no means are the Strathcona’s a “Scottish Regiment” but we can trace the roots of Scottish tradition through our founder Donald Alexander Smith, born in 1820 at Forres Morayshire in the Scottish highlands. In 1897, Sir Donald Smith was made peer of the realm and chose the title Glencoe, for his Scottish estate. Strathcona is the Gaelic equivalent translation for Glencoe. The Regimental cap badge contains the coat of arms of Lord Strathcona. Within the crest contains the demi-lion rampant, which is the red lion of Scotland, Donald Smith’s native land. Also contained in the cap badge are four Scottish thistles and six shamrocks, depicting the Celtic heritage from where the Regiment was raised. To this day, Lord Strathcona’s great grandson still bears the title, and is living on the Isle of Islay on the west coast of Scotland.

In 1998, WO Paul Peters, under the direction of the Commanding Officer, LCol Craig Hilton, authorized the raising of the Regimental Pipes and Drums. At the time of formation, there were a number of soldiers in the Regiment who were already competent pipers and drummers. These dedicated musicians easily made the transition to come together as a formed band. Shortly after, (then) WO Brian Talty was appointed the first Drum Major. He rose to this challenging task and set out the decision of the bands first uniform, a distinctive dress that mixed our cavalry roots and highland flair.

The first musical appearance of the band was at the home of the former Prime Minister Kim Campbell in California. The band also attended a function for the US Navy at the naval base in San Diego. Since its inception, the Pipes and Drums plays for every Moreuil Wood parade and Men’s Christmas Dinner and continues to play for a number of military and civilian functions.

Celebration 2000 added a new opportunity for the band to be a part of Regimental history. Not only did the band march the Regiment onto the parade, the drums were laid as an altar for the changing of the Guidon ceremony. The band was also present at the laying of the old Guidon at the Alberta Legislative Building. That summer also saw the band head to Ottawa to play for the Century of Service parade held on Parliament Hill. A lone piper played at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Canada’s War Memorial in Ottawa. Additionally, members of the band took part in services in South Africa and Korea to remember our fallen comrades.

The success of the Regimental band continued in 2001. The Officers’ Mess in Suffield donated money to outfit the band for its performance in the Halifax International Tattoo held in Nova Scotia. The band played with the massed Pipes and Drums for the show and individual pipers were selected to play in other acts as well. The following year members of the band played for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations in Europe. Under the direction of Pipe Sgt, Sgt Marvin MacNeill, performances were held in Germany, Holland and at Vimy Ridge in France. The Strathcona’s Pipes and Drums are now becoming a regular part of the history of the Regiment, and will carry on this tradition for the years to come.

In 2008, the decision was made to stand the Pipes and Drums down due to the operational commitments of the Regiment. With sending a continuous rotation of tank squadrons for operations in Afghanistan, the band was losing too many soldiers to commit in the Regimental lines. It must be noted that pipers served on almost all the deployments and paid tribute to their fallen comrades during the ramp ceremonies at Kandahar Airfield. 2011 saw the pipes and drums formed once again by the Regimental Pipe Major, WO Marvin MacNeill. The band is performing pipes and drums music for military and civilian functions. The Regimental Pipes and Drums are formed under the authority of the Commanding Officer and the Regimental Society. The Pipes and Drums are an unofficial band of the Canadian Forces, thus no permanent positions for pipers or drummers exist. The band is strictly voluntary and is open to any member of the CF or civilian.


Since 2011, the Strathconas have been extremely busy; from field deployments to maintenance there is not a day that goes by where the soldiers are not busy.  In all the busy-ness the Strathcona’s Pipes and Drums thrive.  We have a new Pipe-Major, WO Billy Boland who has taken over the role with ease.  Sgt Conway Eady has taken over as the Drum-Major and is a natural fit.
We have an amazing pipe line, including our Pipe Sergeant, MCpl Colin Davidson, his brother MCpl Cameron Davidson, our Quarters-Master, Cpl Izaak Koolman and last but not least Pipe-Major WO Billy Boland.  Our drum line isn’t too shabby either, with MCpl Keary McAtasney, as our Drum Sergeant; Cpl Adam Vandenberg, who has volunteered from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron; Dino Visaya, a retired Strathcona; Cpl Jilian Rae, as the band tenor drummer; and, of course, the heart of the pipes and drums, our Bass Drummer, Cpl Dave Young.

The band has definitely been keeping busy with Remembrance Day parades, Canada Day parades and of course Regimental parades.  The pipers always volunteer outside of work as well for weddings and funerals.  Most recently, we finished the annual parade at Spruce Meadows for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.  In the future, we hope to participate in some Highland games, depending on funding and the availability of the Regiment.  Until then, we practice every Thursday afternoon during sports and Monday nights at the Kingsway Legion and hope to recruit new members to keep the pipes and drums alive.

Pipe Majors:
WO Paul Peters
1998 – 2001
Cpl Norman MacNeill
2001 – 2003
MCpl Callum Campbell
2003 – 2004
Sgt Marvin MacNeill
2004 – 2008
WO Marvin MacNeill
2011 – 2013
WO Cordell Boland
Drum Majors:
WO Brian Talty                                   
1998 – 2002
WO Kevin Hepburn
2002 – 2004
WO Richard Stacey
2004 – 2005
WO Jim Hapgood
2005 – 2007
WO Antony Batty
2007 – 2008
Sgt Pat Stoyko
2012 - 2013
Sgt Conway Eady

Edmonton Oilers – 30th Anniversary of their first Stanley Cup.Tuesday, November 25, 2014
On 10 October 2014, the 1984 Edmonton Oilers were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their winning the team’s first Stanley Cup. Two of the country’s greats under the same roof: The 1984 Edmonton Oilers and LdSH(RC) Pipes & Drums.
Veterans Night and Remembrance DayMonday, November 19, 2012
On the evening of 9 Nov 12, the Strathcona’s Pipes and Drums were honoured to be invited to perform for the 6th Annual Veterans night at the Edmonton Garrison Warrant Officer’s and Sergeant’s Mess.
Canada Day Parade in Sherwood ParkMonday, July 30, 2012
After a long hiatus, the Strathcona Pipes and Drums were on display in public for the Sherwood Park Canada Day Parade. The day started out promising with just a light rain, which quickly turned into a deluge.