Trail Pipe Band product playing for royalty

Warfield's Rob Hamilton, member of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band, is currently in England preparing to play for Buckingham Palace.

When Warfield resident, Rob Hamilton, was a 14-year-old member of the local Air Cadets who happened to attend a weekend pipes and drums seminar in Creston in 2005, he probably didn’t have any grand plans about where learning to play the bagpipes might take him.

Now, nine years later, he is a member of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band (VPPB) and is currently in England, preparing to play at both Buckingham and Windsor Palace for Prince William and possibly even the Queen this Sunday and Monday.

The VPPB is 100-years old this year and decided to take on the U.K. trip as a celebration of its centennial. After spending almost two years navigating the complicated process of obtaining approval through the Canadian High Commission and British Home Office, as well as doing some serious fundraising, the band members finally received an email from the group’s Pipe Major that this spring that it had, “received confirmation from the Household Division that H.M. Queen Elizabeth II [had] approved our request to perform the Beating Retreat followed by providing musical support for the St. James Palace detachment of the Queen’s Guard.”

The band will be playing at two Beating Retreat ceremonies at the Horse Guard’s Parade ground and six Guard Mountings (the official name for the Changing of the Guard ceremonies) four of which are at Buckingham Palace and two at Windsor Castle.

The VPPB is, purportedly, the first non-military band to play at a Guard Mount in 350 years.

Hamilton recalls his start with the Trail Pipe Band which led him, eventually, to the current honour of playing for the Royal family.

“When I got back from the Creston trip I was contacted by Gordon Titsworth, who invited me to come out to extra practices he held on Thursday nights at Webster Elementary free of charge,” said Hamilton in an email Tuesday from the U.K. “After about half a year he helped me purchase a set of bagpipes and a few months later I started turning out with the Trail Pipe Band on Wednesday nights.”

Titsworth said that, even as a young teenager, Hamilton’s interest in the pipes and his personality made him stand out from the other kids.

“There were three boys who came back with chanters from the workshop and he was the only one who stayed with it,” said Titsworth. “He just fit in immediately and he just loved the instrument. He was adult right from the beginning and with his particular sense of humour, he fit right in with the band.”

After graduating from Rossland Secondary School, Hamilton carried on to Selkirk College and eventually to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, to pursue a degree in history, where he spent eight months playing with the award winning Simon Fraser Pipe Band.

Finding the practice schedule with the highly competitive Simon Fraser band too much to maintain with his studies, Hamilton took a break until last September when, on a visit home, Murray McKenzie, Pipe Major of the Trail band, suggested he try out for the Vancouver Police Band, and put Hamilton in contact with another former Trail member, Dave Glover, who is now a member of the VPPB.

After an exchange of emails with Glover, Hamilton started with the VPPB last November, leading him to now be in London anticipating his royal debut.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Hamilton. “I’m grateful to the people in Trail who taught me how to play and got me started down this road and put up with me. I’m also very grateful to the VPPB who welcomed me into their group with no hesitation and nothing but encouragement.”

Just Posted

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read