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Original Pipe Music Compositions

The Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders have had many prolific composers of original music during the course of its history, including both pipe music and drum scores.  Original pipe tunes are used to mark important occasions, or to pay tribute to a person, place or thing important to the composer.  Some compositions are taken into use as part of the band's permanent repertoire, others are played only at the occasion for which they were written.  All original compositions, however, become a permanent part of the band's, and the Regiment's, history and legacy of musical excellence.  Below are listed a selection of original compositions over the years, with some brief notes on their composers and subject material.  

Dates Unknown

Sergeant Linford's Barbeque - 9/8 March
Composed by Corporal Brian Skogland

Probably written in the late 1980s.  Chris Linford was a snare drummer and the lead tip for the Pipes and Drums in the late 1980s; he also composed a pipe tune which will be added to this page once more details are researched.  At right, Corporal Skogland at chanter practice during the Nova Scotia International Tattoo in the summer of 1989.  In addition to being a talented piper, Corporal Skogland was a skilled yodeller, and, as evidenced here, won glory for the Regiment in topping the Hairiest Chest competition in at least one Spring Fling. Sergeant Linford went on to become Lieutenant Colonel Linford, commander of 1 Field Ambulance.

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Chief Warrant Officer M. McCumber, CD - 6/8 Quick March
Composer unknown

Details of this tune are still being researched.

Colonel F.P. Mannix, CD - 4/4 Quick March
by G. Reid

Details of this tune are still being researched


Drum Major James Stewart - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Pipe Major (retired) William Grieve

Written in honour of Mister Jim Stewart, a veteran of the Royal Navy who has given long and dedicated service to the Regimental Pipes and Drums.  


Moffat's Landing - 6/8 Jig
Composed by Pipe Major Mark MacDonald

In memory of Lieutenant Colonel J. Lynn Moffat's "Big Jump", 8 October 1999


Wee Morag - 2/4 Slow March
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

Written in October 1993 in honour of the birth of his second daughter, Morag Hamilton.

General AJG de Chastelain's Welcome Back - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

After composing a piobaireachd marking his retirement (see below), this tune was composed to mark the unprecedented return of General de Chastelain to the office of Chief of the Defence Staff for a second term.

Captain D.G. Bourne - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

Named for the Adjutant of the Regiment, whose parent regiment was the PPCLI.


Salute to the Chief of Defence - Piobaireachd
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

Written in the ancient style of Piobaireachd, or "big music", this salute marked the retirement of General A.J.G. De Chastelain, who served as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the highest position in the Canadian military, and who had started his military career as a piper in the Calgary Highlanders.  In 1990, General de Chastelain, while serving as CDS, donned a piper's full dress uniform and played on parade with the Regiment when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented the unit with a new Queen's Colour.

At the time, General de Chastelain left the military for duty as Ambassador to the United States.  In 1994, he returned to the Canadian Armed Forces and served an unprecedented second term as CDS.


Machine Gunner Wally Bennett - 6/8 Jig
Composed by Private Josh L. Pullen

Written as a tribute to Wally Bennett, one of the last surviving members of the Tenth Battalion, who in the last years of his life had been a regular participant at the annual St. Julien's Dinner in April, commemorating the Battle of St. Julien in April 1915.  At that time, Wally Bennett had been a machine gunner in the Tenth Battalion and took a very active part in the Battle of St. Julien, as a gunner on the US-made Colt Machine Guns with which the unit was equipped.

Tartan Ribbons - 6/8 Jig
Composed by Corporal Michael A. Dorosh

This tune was written in November of 1992 to mark the addition of a new dress distinction.  The Pipes and Drums applied for permission to wear tartan ribbons on their bagpipes.  The history of these ribbons is explained in full in the Traditions section of this website, but in brief, a ribbon in Royal Stewart (commemorating the appointment of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Colonel-in-Chief) and one in Gordon tartan (paying tribute to the earliest musicians in the Pipes and Drums in the 1920s) were adopted by the Regiment's pipers.  The ribbons were presented to the band on the anniversary of the Regimental Birthday, 1 April 1992.


McTavish's Mug - Reel
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

This tune was written in October 1990.   "McTavish" is a bronze sculpture commissioned by Honourary Colonel Fred Mannix, depicting a Calgary Highlander as he would have appeared in the field in the 1970s and 80s, armed with a C2 Light Machine Gun.  A mug is set aside in the Sergeant's Mess for McTavish in one of the many rituals associated with that institution.

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Two of the regiment's many composers, photographed at Exercise Western Challenge in Wainwright, Alberta, 19 August 1992.   At left, Pipe Sergeant Doug Hamilton, at right Corporal Michael Dorosh.  At centre is Private Gerry Kennedy.  The tartan ribbons described above are clearly evident in the photo.

Major Two Dads - Reel
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

This tune was written in June 1990, after six members of the Regimental Pipes and Drums spent a month in the United Kingdom.  The Scottish Division performed three nights running on Horse Guards Parade in London, with representatives from the Pipes and Drums and Military Bands of not only every regiment in the Division, but also musicians from affiliate regiments throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaya and Nepal.  Several hundred performers took part in this Beating Retreat ceremony (the final performance of which was attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, Her Royal Highness Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and other members of the Royal Family) and the several dozen guests were assembled into a "Commonwealth Contingent" commanded during the weeks of rehearsals by a Major Rutherford-Young of the London Scottish Regiment.  Many of the Canadians found the use of hyphenated names a bit puzzling, and jocularly referred to their new commander by several names, including the monicker used as the name of this pipe tune.

At right - Major Rutherford-Young, The London Scottish, as he appeared for the Beating Retreat on Horse Guards, London, England, June 1990.

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Kim Kathleen Pullen - 6/8 Slow March
Composed by Private Josh L. Pullen

Written in honour of his mother in May 1990.

Fiona's Waltz - 6/8 Waltz
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

Written by Pipe Sergeant Doug Hamilton in May 1990, this tune commemorated the birth of his first child, daughter Fiona.

Pipe Major R.W. Henderson, CD - 2/4 Hornpipe
Composed by Master Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

Written in July 1990, this tune commemorates the service of Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson, whose contributions to the band may be evidenced by the prominence of his name among the list of original compositions listed here.



Sergeant Major Helen Kozicky - 4/4 Quick March
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

This march was written in January 1989 in honour of one of the first female soldiers to serve as a Calgary Highlander rather than as a member of the Canadian Women's Army Corps or other organization and retired from the military as a Warrant Officer.

Basil B. Pierce - 6/8 Jig
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

Written in February 1989 as a tribute to a beloved pet of Honourary Lieutenant Colonel Jack Pierce.

Ian Still's Dirk - 6/8 Jig
Composed by Corporal Michael A. Dorosh

Ian Still had been an engineer from Scotland who had played for the RCEME Regiment Pipe Band in Lethbridge, Alberta.  When the Regiment was reduced, Captain Still transferred to Calgary and hid his commission when he joined the Pipes and Drums of the Calgary Highlanders.  He retired as a Master Corporal in 1983, suffered a massive stroke soon after, and passed away in 1988.  His widow made it known to Pipe Major Henderson that she wished to sell his dirk, and Corporal Dorosh purchased the item from her, as dress regulations permitted it to be worn in Full Dress as well as shirt sleeve order in the summer.  The tune was written in August 1989.


Lieutenant Colonel ME Dennis Farewell To The Calgary Highlanders - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

This march was played at the official Change of Command Parade that year and was composed in June.

D.B. Buchanan - Reel
Composed by Corporal Doug K. Hamilton

This reel was composed in August 1988 and named in memory of a fellow musician who served with Corporal Hamilton on public duties at Parliament Hill as part of the Ceremonial Guard.  "D.B." is also, it may be noted, the abbreviation for Detention Barracks, a military prison.

Auld Mewata - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Cadet Corporal Jody Marchuk (2137 Calgary Highlanders Cadet Corps)

This tune was composed in tribute to Mewata Armouries.   The building was part of a widespread move across Canada in the early part of the 20th Century to construct permanent facilities for local Militia units.  Mewata Armouries was completed in 1917, and has been the home of the Calgary Highlanders since the inception of the Regiment in 1921.


The Sloedam - 6/8 Slow March
Composed by Pipe Major Robert W. Henderson

This slow march was written during a trip to The Netherlands where a memorial to the fighting at Walcheren Causeway, of which The Calgary Highlanders played a large part - was dedicated.  Pipe Major Henderson's inspiration was "Bonnie Dundee", the company march of "D" Company who were the first soldiers to reach the far end of the Causeway, eliminating German opposition at the western end and creating a firm bridgehead on Walcheren Island.  

This tune has since become the semi-official Slow March of the Regiment.


City of Airdrie - 6/8 Quick March
Composed by Pipe Major William Grieve

This tune marked the official incorporation of Airdrie as a City of the province of Alberta, taking effect on 1 January 1985.  Airdrie was granted status as a village in 1909 and as a town in 1974.  Located just north of Calgary on the Number two highway, this thriving community has been home to a Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps affiliated with The Calgary Highlanders.


Lieutenant Colonel PF Hughes, CD, Soldier of the Queen - March
Composed by Pipe Major William Grieve

Written in honour of Colonel PF Hughes, who as a Lieutenant Colonel commanded the Calgary Highlanders from 1979 to 1982.


Mannix Stag - Jig
Composed by Pipe Major William Grieve

Written on the occasion of the wedding of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Fred Mannix in December 1982.  First played at the stag dinner held at the Ranchman's Club in Calgary prior to his wedding to Li-Anne Smith.


Lieutenant Colonel GD Stewart
Composed by Piper Doug Raffan

Written to honour Lieutenant Colonel GD Stewart, CD, Commanding Officer of The Calgary Highlanders from 1973-1976.


Lieutenant Colonel J. Fred Scott Farewell To the Calgary Highlanders - March
Composed by Pipe Major Neil Sutherland

Written in honour of the Commanding Officer of the First Battalion in March 1942.  J. Fred Scott had served in the First World War and in 1939 commanded the 15th Alberta Light Horse.  He was chosen upon mobilization in September to command the First Battalion of the Calgary Highlanders, and helped form and mold the unit.   Very well liked by his men, Lieutenant Colonel Scott also was a driving force behind the adoption of Battle Drill training not just in the regiment but throughout the Canadian Army.  In 1942 he left the Regiment to take command of a Battle Drill school in Canada.  J. Fred Scott (known affectionately in the Calgary Highlanders as "J. Fred God") retired from the Army as a Colonel and today has an elementary school named after him.


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