November 30, 2006

Hilder, Tessier resign from RMM2

David Hilder and Andre Tessier have resigned from the Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band (RMM2) as pipe-major and drum-sergeant, respectively. Shauna Hilder, the band’s pipe-sergeant, has also left the band. The resignations were effective November 18.

The move follows the band’s controversial appeal to the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) to return to Grade 2 after being upgraded in October.

In a statement to pipes|drums, David Hilder said, “We would like to thank all the players past and present for all their dedication and loyalty to the band over the years. It has been a wonderful time in our lives, and we look forward to new and exciting futures.”

The winners of the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships, RMM2 is the top band in the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band’s feeder system. Sources close to the band have alleged that the leadership of RMM2 was forced to apply to move the band back to Grade 2 or face disbandment.

pipes|drums will have more on the story as it develops.


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  1. If it is indeed the case that pressure was brought to bear on the RMM leadership by SFU to appeal the upgrade, this MUST be investigated by the BCPA. It would be a disgrace to the whole competition concept if the inside information” that is coming out is true. I am very suspicious of the top three members of RMM leaving as they did. I guess that now the “loss of members” reason for the appeal is legitimate. Obviously

  2. This sort of totalitarian servitude and arrogance by any organization must NOT be tolerated by the associations. The pipe major is ultimately responsible for the guidance and control/direction of the band. It is his/her responsibility to determine whether or not the band is capable of the grade it has been assigned. The pipe-major naturally has dialogue with the drum sergeant and of course the other band members but ultimately he/she must achieve the support and consensus that the band requests a down grade. It is then and only then that the pipe-major submits the proper application complete with an explanation as to why the request is being made. In this instance the Ownership” has made the decision for the leadership and the band. The demands to cease and resist

  3. There is no skirting on my accusations whatsoever. The accusation that there is any conflict with respect to business is absolute nonsense. My comments did not come from a business, rather a piper, who is fed up with the rhetoric and the need to say what a lot of people are thinking but afraid of becoming a target. With respect to the word substantial” and the relationship between five and thirty – When was the last time you received a 15% income increase? If you did

  4. I think it’s disgraceful that a successful G2 band gets threatened with disbandment if they reach G1 whether they are a feeder band or not. If this is truly the case then the SFU setup needs to have a good look at themselves. Maybe they need to form a breakaway band and call themselves the RMM FM (former members)?

  5. Obviously, those of us who are not members of the band do not truly ‘know’ what happened, and as such, perhaps we should all just leave well-enough alone. Let the achievements of the band last year stand as a testament to the leadership and the players, and lets leave the inuendo and political bs at the door.

  6. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: RMM? J.R. says: Dude, I don’t know. I was talking to a drummer from there a few weeks ago and he said this was going to happen. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Why did he know it was going to happen? J.R. says: I have to agree with the feeder thing though. That band was never meant to be a grade one band. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Why wouldn’t you want to have a new grade 1 band as a feeder? Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Why would they even send the band to the World’s and try to win it then? J.R. says: I don’t see it as all the healthy for an organization. Not that there would be a rivalry, but I’d rather play in the feeder grade two than the sub par grade 1. J.R. says: That’s what the SFU drummer was saying. It was poorly thought out. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: sub par my ***. J.R. says: I mean in comparison. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: so they go to other contests Leaving Gunga Lunga says: I think it’s outrageous! Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Is the band going to form outside of the SFU umbrella now? J.R. says: Yeah. It really doesn’t shock me. What shocks me is Hilders and Andre leaving. J.R. says: I don’t know. That wouldn’t shock me either. That’s what another SFU player wanted to do a few years back. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: I’d be ****** if I help build it and then was forced to disband. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Take everyone that was willing and go to Maple ridge Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Solid Grade 1 band there J.R. says: Unless it folds and reforms outside the organization, I don’t think it will disband. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: I almost wish it would. I’ve lost a lot of respect for SFU through this endeavor. J.R. says: But like I say, I don’t know. I don’t know anybody in RMM anymore. All the old boys are gone. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: SFU has a lot of smart people and talent. I find it hard that they couldn’t create an atmosphere for it to work in. J.R. says: I agree. If they didn’t want the benefits of winning Worlds, why go. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: It’s not like they really competed against anyone before anyways. J.R. says: I think they just wanted to prove that they were the best on all fronts. J.R. says: True. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Instead of all first and an odd 2nd,… they’d be getting all 2nds and an odd 1st. J.R. says: AHhh! I really don’t know what the **** is going on up there. Maybe they’ll have to rethink the whole adult band thing. They really would be better off with RMM Juvies and the beginners in my opinion. Let the big boys find their own bands. J.R. says: You know. Spread the wealth a little. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Aye Leaving Gunga Lunga says: Smart J.R. says: If you’re good enough and local, SFU will find you. J.R. says: If you don’t want to play with them…fine. Leaving Gunga Lunga says: This whole string would be a funny comment on the PD website about this article.

  7. If I were a member of SFU, I would be mightily embarrased by all the conjecture. Perhaps pipesdrums might be able to obtain a statement from the SFU powers that be regarding the situation? The continued silence only emboldens the conspiracy theorists like myself.

  8. Since you do not even have the common courtesy to post with your true identity, I would find it highly unlikely that anyone would/should dignify your comments with a response. I would, once again, suggest that everyone just drop this, and let the parties involved sort the issue out. There is no doubt in my mind that this story will become available with time.

  9. I am sure that there are many sincere people, both band members and non band members who have heard or read about this sad event and who have taken their various corners for whatever reason (s). Certainly that is their prerogative and it goes without saying that the viewpoint of every individual should be not necessarily be agreed with but definitely respected. The piping and drumming fraternity on the west coast and in this particular case has become very volatile and it was in my opinion only a matter of time. The facts, the RMM grade 2 band was well deserving of their promotion to grade one. The B.C.P.A. and the R.S.P.B.A. bestowed upon them the recognition and respect they were due and therefore rewarded them with the promotion. This was done in honor of their ability, track record both here and abroad. The band should have therefore been granted the opportunity to compete at the grade one level. There has been a mutiny, so to speak, but so justifiable. It’s obvious when leaders leave any band that it is generally brought about by difference of opinion. Sometimes the leaders loose control or the respect of the band and decide to pull the plug but that’s certainly not the issue in this case and indeed the opposite. The question is “who is pulling the strings“ – “who actually controls the band or is it strictly a puppet designation to be a pipe-major or drum sergeant“? The RMM2 band and it leadership have been unfairly treated on this occasion. The B.C.P.A. is being manipulated and dictated to and have no coarse but to comply with the Organizations” request and the R.S.P.B.A. will no doubt follow any suggestion submitted by the B.C.P.A. All of this coming from the camouflage of an organization.”

  10. Tom, there is a strong conflict of interest for your comments given that you are a business competitor with a member of one of the parties in question. Given this conflict and the accusations you are skirting, do your comments really belong here? Perhaps they should stay in the back room of your shop. As for claiming that RMM2’s success is due to the substantial membership of ex-SFU players is inaccurate and it discounts the effort and commitment of the other band members. Five out of the 30+ members of the band is not quite substantial. Their membership is wholly voluntary, not obligatory, and substantial only by their leadership. Talent only goes so far. Any successful competitor worth his/her salt knows this. A pipe band stacked with talent can only be successful if the talented indidviduals have just as much dedication. Such is the case with RMM2.

  11. This requires more investigation, obviously. If something is amiss here it should be discussed openly, and those discussing it ought not be shot down. Besides, why would someone leave an anonymous message targeting the last fellow with a conflict of interest? That is interesting itself; as the matter at hand is not about business, but about wanting to play at the highest level, being granted that right through good deeds, and having been allegedly suffocated in a punitive fashion. And here I thought this was supposed to be about playing good music?

  12. I would like to remind people on this discussion thread that RMM2 has benefited greatly from the RMM feeder system and it is largely responsible for its past and present successes. Last year, RMM2 had 18 ‘rookies’, all of whom played at the World Championships. Just over half of these players came from RMM3. From 1998 forward, the majority of the players in RMM2 have been products of the RMM feeder system and, accordingly, directly benefited from the instruction of SFU members and leadership. The feeder system within the RMM organization works in more ways than one and that is often forgotten. The declaration that RMM2 is the ‘graveyard for SFU pipers’ is offensive and presumed to have been stated with the cruelest of intentions towards the RMM2 members. Only one of the four past SFU members was new to the band this past season. After 6 years of membership in RMM2, I would venture to say that some of these past SFU players are no longer ‘graveyard SFU’ but rather full-fledged members of RMM2. This statement imports a dangerous notion that risks discrimination to any band with a member who formerly played in a band of a higher grade. I would like to ask why this prejudice is not befalling the Chilliwack and District Pipe Band, whose membership is ridden with ex-Abbotsford Police members. Surely any of their successes in Grade 2 can only be due to the fact that they are privy to the membership of several ex-grade 1 band members. Angela Beckett

  13. Where are all the these pipers and drummers produced by RMM? That’s a good question. Where are all these pipers and drummers from St. Thomas? The program at St. Thomas has been around at least twice as long as RMM and is probably the only program in North America to produce more pipers and drummers than RMM. Yet there are no grade 1 bands in Houston and only an off-and-on grade 2 band. Much like the sea of orange and blue at events in BC and the Pacific Northwest, there is a sea of grey, black and white at Texas and other events. St. Thomas has a highland dance program that is just as large. Anybody that has gone to the Salado games knows that there’s no chance of getting a decent hotel room without driving 30 minutes. And last I heard, girls are only allowed to dance, not to pipe or drum. Where are the cries of misogyny? Kids grow up, go to university and/or enter the work force. Without a program in place that ensures these pipers and drummer a sure shot at success, these individuals suddenly have to re-organize their priorities. When you’re already a world champion, the impetus may not be as strong to make piping and drumming a top priority. RMM adopted SFU’s previous program for the players who aged out of the juvenile band. But the adult piper and drummer now has to commit his or her self. They have to look after their own instrument and kit, learn the music and scores on their own, and get themselves to practices, constests, and gigs. It is that dedication that makes a successful adult piper or drummer. You can’t teach that but you can teach the skills and try to inspire those values. That is exactly what RMM2 achieved– success through applying dedication and hard work to those skills. But to get that same success in grade 1, the stakes become exponentially higher. Another grade 1 band can only inspire that and cannot guide the other band by the hand. So the option is become and independant band or re-adjust and stay a grade 2 band. Becoming an independant band is not easy, let alone an independant grade 1 band. The resignation of RMM2’s leadership and the apparent limbo of the band is only a phase. Their hard won success is not lost and will manifest sooner than later and will mean more growth in BC pipe bands. All of the innuendo and finger-pointing only hinders that change and growth. Give everybody involved some peace of mind and let the issue rest.



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