Air Command Pipes and Drums
Air Command Pipes & Drums Leader / Drum Instructor
The Air Command Pipes and Drums (ACPD) is a sub-unit of the Central Band of the Canadian Forces. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, the band was officially created October 7th 1949 and has the distinction of being the longest continuous serving Air Force Pipe Band in the Canadian Forces.
The Band has approximately forty members, all of whom are volunteers, drawn from all walks of military and civilian life. The ACPD rehearse rigorously to prepare for their many appearances in parades, ceremonies, tattoos, concerts and competitions for both military and public audiences.
The Air Command Pipes and Drums have multiple recordings and have most recently completed a recording to celebrate The Air force Century of Flight.
The Band has participated in many national and international performances over the years, including such events as President John F. Kennedy's state visit, 1961; the World Fair in Seattle, 1962; Canadian Forces Centennial Tattoo, 1967; the internationally televised Edinburgh Military Tattoo, 1981; as well as the Memorial Service and Parade in New York City, April 2002, to honour the victims of September 11th. Each year, The Air Command Pipes & Drums has the honour of playing the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial, in recognition of all Canadian soldiers and veterans.
The Royal Canadian Air Force is the only air force in the world with its own tartan, based on sky blue with shades of dark blue, white and maroon. Approved for use in August 1942 by the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, the Air Command Pipes and Drums proudly wear the RCAF Tartan for all performances.
Drum Major Gary J. Shannon
Mr. Gary Shannon joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1952 and served in the regular force for twenty years. He first became involved in music in 1956 as a volunteer with the Air Force Pipes & Drums, while based in Marville, France. Returning to Canada in 1956, he was posted to Calgary, Alberta where he joined the Calgary Highlanders. On his return to Ottawa in 1961 he joined the RCAF Station Rockcliffe Pipe Band as a volunteer playing side, alto, and bass drums. Ever since then, Gary has remained with this pipe band in all of its various forms.
Gary was appointed Drum Major of the Air Command Pipes and Drums in 1984 and continues to serve in this capacity. Gary has also become involved with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, a reserve force militia unit, on a part time basis.
Mr. Shannon has had a long and varied career with pipe and drum bands. Among some of the highlights: side drummer participating in the 1967 Canadian Forces Military Tattoo which travelled across Canada as part of the military contribution to the Canadian Centennial celebrations; drum major in the Royal Danish Tattoo, 1986; senior drum major at Long's Peka Colorado Scottish and Irish Gathering and Military Tattoo; End of Mission Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Lahr, Germany, 1992; Opening of Confederation Bridge, PEI, 1997; leading the Canadian contingent at the Canada Day celebrations, World Fair 2000, Hanover, Germany; drum major for the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa participating in the 100th Birthday celebrations for the Queen Mother at Edinburgh Castle, 2000; and, judge for the drum major contest at Estes park, Colorado for three consecutive years.
Gary Shannon's continued enthusiasm for pipe bands is an inspiration for band members and the public alike.