Faugh A Ballagh

Clear the Way

Join the RDMA
Contact Us


Pipes & Drums
Fifes & Drums
General Topics




To contribute or comment please email me at polson8568@aol.com



11 Aug 2007  This just in from Mickie Shaw:  The Drum Major World Championships has been won for the first time by an overseas Drum Major and the Drum Major is from the WUSPBA.  Jason Paguio, Drum Major for the Kevin R. Blandford Memorial Pipe Band won the Adult Drum Major World Championships today in Glasgow Scotland.  This may be the first time an American or a non-UK Drum Major has won the title.  Two other WUSPBA Drum Majors placed well at the Worlds.  Kevin MacHeffner of the LA Scots placed 6th in the Adult Drum Major and Robert La Var of Mesa Caledonia placed 4th in the Novice Junior contest.


3 Aug 2007    The US Army School of Music is doing a research project on UK trained Drum Majors and has requested our assistance.  We have put the Army School in contact with six current and former MoD trained Drum Majors from bands that include The Scots Guards, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, The London Irish Rifles, The London Scottish, the 1st Bn Royal Tank Regiment and the 4th Bn Royal Tank Regiment.   A few months back, the Military District of Washington requested permission to use our manuals and site as reference on another project they were working on.


DMaj Norm MacKenzie will be Sr DMaj of a 150 member Canadian Massed Pipes & Drums that will perform at several parades (Dumfries, Dunfermline, Dundee, Perth, Pitlochry, Crieff, and Irvine), in Scotland as well as a Pre-show performance at the Edinburgh Tattoo this month.


15 Jul 2007  We are deep into the competition and performance season!  We have surpassed the 700 member mark.  We had several RDMA members (Patti Nisco, Ox Gara, Tom Belyea, Chuck Kaba, and others) attend and participate with Pipe Fest in Halifax.  Billy Jordan held another seminar in Germany.


30 May 2007  We have our revised RDMA Dress Manual for Pipes and Drums v2.0  as well as a revised version of the RDMA Drill Manual for Pipes and Drums v3.0 now available!


10 May 2007  Our DVD, Basic Drum Major's Drill With Drum Major William Jordan is now available.  The initial release occurred during the last two weekends of April during Billy Jordan's seminars in New Jersey and Connecticut.  Email me (polson8568@aol.com) for purchase details.  This DVD features Scottish Division Mace Drill by former Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (1st Bn) Pipes & Drums Drum Major Billy Jordan.  Progress is being made on the revised Dress Manual and it will be ready soon.  Membership stands at 690 and growing! [by Paul Olson]


18 Apr 2007  A busy month!  SSgt Joe Streeter was surprised to find his image on the new USMC Band recruiting poster.  Joe, the Drum Major of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band from 29 Palms, CA,  notes  "I have no idea why they would choose a pic with me on it.  It is actually from when I was at Quantico about five years ago."



14 Apr 2007  When it rains, it pours.  Our second large project that we have been alluding to is finally ready!  The RDMA is proud to announce the upcoming release of a training DVD entitled Basic Drum Major's Drill with Drum Major William Jordan.  Billy is a former Drum Major of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and has been a perennial finalist at the World Games in Scotland for years.  Billy is the Drum Major of the Dumbarton & District Pipe Band.  Billy teaches in several countries and has several pupils that have fared very well in major competitions.  Chapters include: Civilian Dress, Static Drill, Step Off (Quick and Slow Time), Mace Roll, Words of Command (Mark Time, Advance, Halt), Mace Drill A (Mark Time, Halt, Advance/Reform, Circle), Mace Drill B (Wheels, Counter March, Massed Band Drill), and Mace Drill C (Cut Off, Tempo Change.)  The DVD is designed for playback on a PC, is 44 minutes long, and recorded on +R discs.  The discs will be released next weekend at Billy's New Jersey seminar and the following week at his Connecticut seminar.  The discs will be available starting on May 1.  We will have a PayPal link established at that point or shortly thereafter.  Price is $19.95 USD + Shipping/Materials.



2 Apr 2007  After many hours of revisions, the RDMA Dress Manual for Pipes and Drums is finally complete and available for download.  Be forewarned, this is a large document (7.025MB) so if you do not have DSL or Broadband this could take a while to download.  Included in the manual is Scottish Regimental Dress, Irish Regimental Dress, Civilian Dress, RSPBA Dress,  the Plaid Tying section, and other topics.  As with our other manuals we have had the experts review this manual for accuracy.  The list is a who's who of Drum Majors including John Moon (Former Drum Major, 1st Bn Scots Guards), Joe MacDonald (Former Drum Major, 1st Bn The Queens Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons)), Bryan Alderman (Drum Major, The London Irish Rifles and Former Drum Major of the London Scottish), Iain McGibbon (Drum Major, The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin & Halton Regiment)), Billy Jordan (Former Drum Major, 1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, Drum Major, Dumbarton & District Pipe Band) in addition to Bruce Hitchings (former Pipe Major of The Highlanders (Seaforth, Camerons & Gordons) and former Assistant Director of the Army School of Piping) and several others - each known for their expertise.  I hope that you find this manual useful.


We have 665 members from 31 countries as of today. [by Paul Olson]


23 Feb 2007  We have secured permission from Drum Major John Moon to convert his Staff Manual to pdf format.  This manual is now easily downloadable.  John was Drum Major of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, the youngest Drum Major in the Brigade of Guards history.  He was appointed Drummer to the Royal Household, a position he continues to hold today.  We was Director of Music at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and later the Musickmaster of the Fifes & Drums of Colonial Williamsburg.


After months of threatening to release our Dress Manual for Pipes & Drums, we have completed the final draft and will be releasing it shortly.  There a few photos that are not high quality.  If we come across better photos to display the various forms of dress, we shall update the manual accordingly.  Of course high quality photo contributions by you are always welcomed.  In particular we need good photos of the Republic of Ireland, Air Corps uniform (No. 1 and shirt sleeve) and of UK Irish (No. 1, tropical,  and Shirtsleeve.) 


Seminar season is upon us!  If you are able seek these out.  Norm Mackenzie (Calgary, AB, Canada) and Billy Jordan (NJ and CT, USA) will have seminars in April.  If you know of others, let me know so that I may post to the site. [by Paul Olson]



10 Jan 2007  It is time for our year in review as we enter Year Five.  Our two major projects are close to completion but still not quite there.  This is particularly frustrating since I wanted to announce these two offerings in this blog.   Membership stands at 624 for 2006! 


We had 51,842 visitors to the site who visited 71,695 times using bandwidth of 69.94 GB!    For comparison, in 2005 we had 44,720 visitors who visited 66,559 times and used bandwidth of 58.29 GB.  The 2007 calendar has been updated.  If you note a date that is marked TBA, TBD, or is plain wrong, please let me know.  If you have a spare moment to do some web searching, I am looking for games dates that are marked TBA and TBD.  


For members we did release our embroidered crest in bullion wire.  All that have secured one have complimented the quality.  We have several seminars coming up with Mickie Shaw, Billy Jordan, and Norm MacKenzie.  If you have seminars in your area, let me know so that we can post and alert the locals!


If you happened to watch the Rose Parade, you would have seen RDMA Member Joe Streeter fronting a 120 piece massed USMC band (29 Palms, Miramar, Reserve Forces, Pendleton, Recruiting.)  Joe writes:


I can't tell you how incredible the enthusiasm of the crowd was. They were like a wave the second they saw us from start to finish of the five and a half mile parade.  That really pumped up the band.  My ears are still ringing. 


[by Paul Olson]


10 Nov 2006  Finishing touches are being made to several large projects.   Currently we are on track to release both by the end of the year.  Also, by year's end, we should exceed 600 members! [by Paul Olson]



14 Sep 2006  RDMA Tommy Belyea has opened his vault and is selling off some of his vast collection of gear.  Lots of great uniform parts available!  I went to the Pleasanton Games with Ian Purvis, a several time winner of the Drum Major contest over the years.  I met several RDMA members while there including Kevin MacHeffner (winner of the Drum Major competition this year), Jason Paguio (has some amazing flourishes), Joe Streeter (of the 29 Palms USMC Band), Brian Hyland, and others!  Lot's of interesting things that will be coming out of Southern California in the coming months!  If you have a chance to see the 29 Palms USMC band you shall be very impressed - a talented group of musicians that looks like it has a lot of fun! Before they were dismissed they blasted Joe with the final chords of Bill Chase's "Get It On!"   We saw them carrying out a suit of armor, a couch, and several other interesting items from their green room.   The next stop for them was a bus ride to the Estes Park games.  Next week is Loon Mountain Games in New Hampshire! [by Paul Olson]



07 Jul 2006  A Supplier of WHITE CEREMONIAL LEATHER GLOVES has been found!   I have been looking for years for these style of gloves.  I have tried cotton (slips around on my hands and mace), cotton with rubber dots (grabs the mace well, but still slips around on my hands), gauntlets (pigskin, discolors with sweat,  grips well, but are incorrect for Full Dress.)  These gloves are Nappa leather (lamb or sheep skin), fit nice and tight, and so far haven't discolored.  The cuff can be easily modified with a button or Velcro to keep tight around the wrist.  The supplier is Sue Buckley at SlinkUK@aol.com.  They run 11.75 GBP (some of her old stock may be less). 


Along with the member badges, we have changed the RDMA logo that you now see in the upper left corner of the webpage.  Thanks to Marlene at Joe Drouin, Ent., for allowing us to use the artwork for the badge on the site!


May was a banner month for the site with a new record for bandwidth:  7.65 GB (5702 visitors)!  And, 557 RDMA members! [by Paul Olson]


17 May 2006  We have had quite a few Drum Major seminars this Spring.  Many of the instructors have been RDMA members (Billy Jordan, Kevin MacHeffner, and Mickie Shaw.)  I made the trek out to Connecticut to attend Billy Jordan's seminar.  He had excellent attendance!  And there were many RDMA members there as well!  The night before, RDMA member Ox Gara hosted a party at his home in New Britain, CT.    Billy Jordan put on an outstanding seminar which culminated in a competition the following Sunday.  After the seminar on Saturday, Ox hosted a Dining In (black tie) at a Hartford, CT restaurant.  All had a very enjoyable time. 


We just got in our RDMA patches.  We are still figuring out pricing, but you can view it on the Member's Page.  It is far more impressive in person.  The photo leaves it looking a bit dull.  It is made of gold and silver wire and looks great!  Proceeds will defray the costs of running the site.  We are still bringing in many viewers to the site.  We have bumped up our bandwidth to 10 GB per month!  We are getting a record number of new members as well including the Drum Major of the London Scottish and the London Rifles. [by Paul Olson]


18 March 2006  We have reached our 500th member!  Norman Ervine is with the ACFD Sand Pipers in New Jersey!  We have released our fourth newsletter tonight thanks to Maureen Baile.   Members have been emailed or you can access a copy from the member page.  We have several seminars coming up in April.   If you have been to a tattoo, you may very well have seen DMaj Norman MacKenzie.  He has been the Tattoo Drum Major for many tattoos including the Virginia Tattoo, the Halifax Tattoo, the Bermuda Tattoo and many others.  DMaj MacKenzie is offering his seminar and workshop in Victoria, BC, Canada on 14 - 16 April, 2006.  The following two weekends will find DMaj (and RDMA Member) Billy Jordan in New England with a seminar in Albany, NY and Glastonbury, CT, USA.   DMaj Jordan is a former Drum Major of the Pipes & Drums of the 1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.  If you can, you should take advantage of the chance to learn from these masters as these opportunities are rare.


We are very close to having available embroidered patches available to members.  I expect they will be ready at the end of April.  Check back in.  Any profits made from the sale of these will go towards seminar sponsorship and assisting in defraying the cost of the website.


Also, DMaj Mickie Shaw has updated the WUSPBA Site:  Parade Shine.  This site was one of the first site devoted to Drum Majors for pipes and drums. [by Paul Olson]


07 January 2006   Well folks, we are entering our FOURTH year!  It sure doesn't seem that long.  The RDMA started with several conference calls between Mick Stewart, Scott Grant, and myself in November of 2002.  The year in review.  We have 469 members from 25 countries - every continent is represented!  Forty-six states are represented in the US, eight provinces in Canada, six states from Australia.  We had 44,720 visitors to the site who visited 66,559 times using bandwidth of 58.29 GB!  Consider that after a major site redesign in February resulted in a major decrease in bandwidth.  For comparison, in 2004 we had 26,425 visitors who visited 40099 times and used bandwidth of 52.32 GB.


The major accomplishment of the year was getting the Drill Manual for Pipes and Drums completed.  We are currently on version 2.5.  There have been hundreds of downloads of this manual alone.  Add to this the hundreds of downloads of the Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums and Joe MacDonald's Pipe Band Drum Major Manual.  We are definitely getting information out to those who seek it out (and are on-line.)  And this information is FREE!  We also sponsored our first Drum Major seminar in California in July.


Areas where we fell short were on the Signal Baton Manual For Fife and Drums (still in progress) and the Dress Manual for Pipes and Drums (still in progress and taking on a life of it's own - over 60 pages currently.)  Goals for 2006 are to complete these manuals.


Updating the site has begun!  We have updated the seminars and tattoos for 2006.  Next is the arduous task of updating the games calendar.  We have, for now, foiled current attempts by spammers to infiltrate the site!


Sadly, we lost one of our own this year.  Our member No. 2, Don Davidson, passed away last month.  Although I had not personally met him, we had emailed quite a bit.  He was very enthusiastic about the RDMA and what we were doing. 


2006 will prove to another fruitful year.  We expect to complete the above manuals and one other that we have planned (Guards Mace Drill.)  You should expect further issues of the Newsletter.  We are in the final approval stages for patches and there will be other logo items available for the many members that have requested them.  Any profits resulting from sales of such items will be used to provide future seminars and defray the costs of running the site.  Funds will not be used to compensate those that run the RDMA.  Again if you have comments please email me polson8568@aol.com.  [by Paul Olson]


05 November 2005   Our guestbook has been spammed for the last time!  We have brought the guestbook "in house" which should eliminate further infiltrations.  Work still progresses with the dress manual - it currently is 48 pages with much still to do.  We have made several additions to the links page.  Our membership stands at 442.  Also of note, The Royal Regiment of Scotland are taking in its first recruits. [by Paul Olson]


25 September 2005  The RDMA Drill Manual for Pipes and Drums has been released and has been a bit hit!  We our focusing our efforts on the RDMA Dress Manual for Pipes and Drums.   The merger of the Scottish Regiments continues with MoD determination with the unveiling of the Single Regimental cap badge despite promises to the contrary.  Apparently there are concessions to retain kilt and trews tartans of the old regiments - but we shall see.  Also of note is that Wilkinson Sword, Ltd., is closing their sword manufacturing unit earlier this month.


 If you haven't already, check out member Alastair Pether's site under the drill section for QuickTime movies depicting DMaj Clark of the UK Army School of Piping and Scottish Drumming demonstrating several signals and maneuvers.  American and Canadian Drum Majors - please note the wheel turn signals!  Those of us that are pipe and drum Drum Majors  should preserve the Scottish Division mace manual before they too are lost to history.  [by Paul Olson]


31 July 2005  It has been a busy month.  We are on the verge of releasing the RDMA Drill Manual for Pipes and Drums. As you know if you have read prior entries this has been a long time arriving.  This manual should be available this week


The next project is to complete the Dress Manual for Pipes and Drums.  We have most of the text complete, but we need to get the photos done. The photo subjects will include Drum Majors Iain McGibbon and Kieran Boyle.  Look for that manual by years end.  Also, waiting to be completed is the RDMA Signal Baton Manual for Fife and Drums.  So we have plenty to do!


Last weekend saw our first RDMA sponsored Drum Major seminar.  Drum Major Iain McGibbon was the instructor who did a masterful job.  Iain is a very enthusiastic, engaging, and knowledgeable speaker as well as an outstanding drill technician.  Students included members Richard Charette, Lyman Howard, Phil Lenihan, and Angie Roddan in addition to Fred Sommer and Brian Hyland of the Los Gatos Police Pipe Band.  


We have also received assistance from member Colonel Jonathan Scott Congleton who has been updating the sites links.  Scott will be going to Scotland in the next few weeks.


Membership stands at 378! [by Paul Olson]


21 May 2005  Reports are in that member Billy Jordan's Drum Major seminars on the East Coast of the USA were a big success!  If you ever have the opportunity, be sure to take advantage of these seminars.  You can only progress so far with written manuals.  Member Jim Harrington, who has been involved in Drum Majoring on the West Coast of the USA for many years, is the senior Drum Major judge and Massed Band coordinator for the WUSPBA.  His daughter Megan, is not only in an Honours program at Glasgow University, but is also a piper with the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band.  She is the first female civilian (and likely first Californian) to be a member of this world renowned band.  And yes, we are still working on the Drill Manual for Pipe Band.  We are making progress (currently at 54 pages).   [by Paul Olson]


21 March 2005  The new newsletter is out (thanks to Maureen Baile) with among other things, the instructions on how to get into the Member's Only page.  The revised website has not only improved navigation it has reduced bandwidth as well.  This will keep our expenses down.  We are working on five manuals currently.  The Pipe Band drill manual is our first priority as it will contain sections that will update the mace manual and essentially completely revise the RDMA Words of Command for Pipes and Drums manual.  Also, on the drill manual we are including both UK and Canadian drill!  Membership is now 324 and climbing!  I had an opportunity to meet with PMaj Bruce Hitchings and was able to clarify several items that will appear in our manuals.  News That You Would Rather Not Hear Dept:  Member Richard Charette bought a Black Watch dirk on eBay for about $750.  Richard is former Black Watch of Canada and will be picking up his prize when he goes to PipeFest in Edinburgh this August.  You also probably don't want to hear about the 1850's vintage Black Watch sgian dubh that Richard recently found as well...  [by Paul Olson]


18 February 2005  We have given the site a makeover!  You should find that these changes make navigation easier and faster.  Let us know what you think! Also, we are testing a Member's Only page.  The Members page and how to log on should be available shortly.  [by Paul Olson]


08 February 2005   The new year finds our downloadable Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums and Joe MacDonald's  Pipe Band Drum Major - A Basic Guide to be extremely popular!  We are still very busy!  There are a few revisions/additions that we plan to make to the mace manual thanks to some excellent suggestions from member Phil Lenihan.  We will have an upgrade available to those that have downloaded the manual so that you need not download an entire new copy.


We have made some slight revisions to the website.  We have linked directly to the home page to reduce bandwidth.  Unfortunately, the intro page took awhile to load and some were never able to move onto the home page.  Also, we are getting spammed in our guest-book, we are aware of the problem and check this several times a week to clear out commercial messages. We have recently updated the calendar and links section.  If you notice any errors in the dates for the various events or if there is an event that we missed, please let us know. 


We took a few steps back on the drill manual for pipe band.  Some of the commands used on this side of the pond vary from standard British foot drill.  So we are in the process of changing the foot drill from essentially Canadian to British. 


Also, we are in the middle of writing a manual for Signal Baton for Fifes and Drums. 


Lastly, we are close to completing our next newsletter for our 309 members. [by Paul Olson]


04 December 2004  We are fortunate to have Drum Major Joe MacDonald (formerly of the Queen's Own Highlanders, (Seaforth and Camerons) to permit us to  offer his Pipe Band Drum Major - A Basic Guide.  There is a link on the "Pipe and Drums" page directly below his photo.


One of the consequences in becoming a very popular site is the increase in bandwidth usage.  To help reduce bandwidth, we are linking directly to the downloadable RDMA Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums instead of posting the entire manual on site.  Please note that while the screen clarity is not as good with the pdf, it does print crisply.

[by Paul Olson]



30 November 2004  I have been putting off reporting the news until the RDMA downloadable  RDMA Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums was completed.  I am happy to report that the final draft is now out and posted to the Archives section.  This is version 3.0.  It is much expanded from the manual posted to the pipe section (v 2.0)  We will update that page shortly.  There are many people to thank in getting this manual out.  Notably John Moon and Joe MacDonald for their historical and technical expertise, Lyman Howard for being the model and weathering four photo shoots, Maureen Baile for formatting and pdf'ing, and Kieran Boyle, Scott Grant, and Mick Stewart for support.  Of course if you find any errors let me know.


Also, we have set another new record this month in bandwidth.  For the month of November we have viewers from 58 countries!  Our membership stands at 287.


On a more down note, we did managed to get hacked into at the end of October.  Fortunately, damage was minimal - limited to the guest book and our global email system.  As a result we disengaged our global email.  We will re-engage briefly when we have our next newsletter go out.  We did hear from Ken Hosey from Panama City - they weathered the three hurricanes and are back on parade! [by Paul Olson]



06 October 2004   The RDMA Pipe Band Drill Manual continues to progress.  We completed our second major photo shoot for the RDMA Pipe Band Mace Manual.  It is hard to believe our first shoot was a year ago!  We have made several revisions to the mace manual as more information has become available.  Maureen Baile is working on Newsletter number three which will be our best yet!  To get a newsletter all you have to do is sign up as a member.  Particularly of note for those members in North America, Kevin MacHeffner has a new venture  called Scottish Drumming.  Kevin has been extraordinarily successful at the world games and we can expect him to be a leading resource and instructor this side of the pond for many years to come. 


There is a rally in Dundee, Scotland to be held on October 23, 2004 in an effort to save the Scottish Regiments.  The event will be held at Camperdown Country Park in Dundee starting at 1 PM. Please try to attend if you are able.


We have many RDMA members in Florida and sincerely hope that they came through the record number of hurricanes with minimal damage. [by Paul Olson]


31 August 2004  We passed the 240 member mark and hit a new bandwidth record at 5.09 GB.  Maureen Baile has taken over the newsletter and within days our second newsletter went out to the membership.  The pipe band drill manual is about 50% complete and should be out in two months. We are continuing to refine our site with some subtle and not so subtle changes.  We did have a hiccup on the site with our new intro page.  Please let me know if you have problems with images not properly loading or the absence of a hyperlink on your system.    With the end of the competition season approaching several new projects will be started - more on these later!  As always, suggestions and comments are most welcome! [by Paul Olson]


06 June 2004  We reached some milestones in May.  Our membership level reached 200 and we set a new record in website access!  We are currently working on our second newsletter that should be out in a few weeks.  We just posted a 1970 vintage Drum Major manual from the American Big 10 Colleges. [by Paul Olson]


10 May 2004  When most people think of pipe bands, they conjure up the image of the kilt, plaid, and feather bonnet of the archetypal Scottish pipe band.  However, there are many Irish pipe bands in the world whose dress is just as distinctive as their Scottish neighbors.  To help educate those about the variety of Irish uniforms, we have posted three varieties under the pipes section under Irish Regimental Dress.  There have been several seminars taught by some very talented instructors over the past month in Victoria, British Columbia; New York; Connecticut; and Pennsylvania.  We have received positive feedback from each one and would encourage all to seek out personal instruction whenever possible, no matter what your skill level.


We have been working on a few projects that should make learning the Drum Major craft easier.  In the test stage are QuickTime movie clips demonstrating the various mace commands.  We are critiquing those currently and hope to have those accompany the Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums shortly.


We have also been working on the Fife and Drum section of the site.  Added are sections on the history of the fife and drum corps and regimental biographies of three of the five U.S. Military related fife and drum corps.  We have also made an addition to the Fife and Drum uniform section.  But more work needs to be done!


We added more pictures of members to the media section.  Keep those photos coming in!  We are also working on the second newsletter.  If you have information that others might find useful or of interest send those articles along. [by Paul Olson]


30 March 2004  It is always interesting to hear from members and what they are curious about.  For example, some wonder that since we update the news section about every month or so, is that as often as we talk.  The answer is definitely not!  Scott, Kieran, and/or Mick and I email each other many times during the week and discuss issues telephonically every week or so.  As those of you that have signed on as members know, this month's emphasis was getting out our inaugural newsletter.  We have received a lot of positive feedback from you about the newsletter.


Our most recent completed project was converting the manuals available on the Archives page to pdf format so that you can download them directly!


One of the recurring topics that we touched upon in the newsletter is that of growth.  We are coming up with far more projects than we handle at one time.  Thus far we have been able to prioritize pretty well.  One member has set up a non-profit corporation so we will be moving forward with this project.  Once we have a non-profit status, then we will need someone to head up merchandising.  Revenues from logo wear, artwork, badges, etc., will go towards defraying costs associated with the site, sponsoring seminars, etc.  All work within the ranks of the RDMA will continue to be volunteer.


Also, for those of you on the fence, please complete a membership form.  It is free and it allows to match up those of you that have experience with those that are desperate for instruction and guidance.  Use of the membership list is limited exclusively for RDMA purposes and we shall not release or sell this info to anyone or any entity outside the RDMA.  I know how much I dislike spam and will do everything I can to avoid subjecting you to it as well.  Members also receive the newsletter.


The site continues to set bandwidth records.  We have had as many visitors to the site in the last three months as we have had in all of 2003!  [by Paul Olson]



6 March 2004  We have received permission to post the original Old Guard Espontoon Manual.  Actually, Bob DuFour of the Kentish Guards had a copy of the original manual which he sent to us.  They had acquired the copy in 1973.  Because the manual had been photocopied many times, the graphics were difficult to see and some of the typewritten text was difficult to decipher.  We restored the manual and sent it along to the Old Guard.  They confirmed that it was a copy of the original manual which they no longer possessed.  This manual renewed an interest at the Old Guard to develop a new espontoon manual!  We were glad that we could help!!


Scott Grant and I spoke at The Company of Fifers and Drummers in scenic Ivoryton, CT on February 14th.  The fife band community is looking for well trained Drum Majors and we believe we can help in this regard.  We will be developing a plan in the coming weeks.  The Company's hall is also a museum that, if you are in the area, we recommend you visit!  The trip to New England also resulted in meeting several RDMA members: Tom Belyea, Ox Gara, Tom Darling, and Philip Staples.  We had a great time and confirmed that the RDMA is essentially a group of friends that haven't met yet!


We are putting the finishing touches on the Regimental Dress page.  We will be adding photos shortly.  We have recently posted the 1759 Espontoon Manual in the Historical section.  We are also in final editing stage of our first quarterly newsletter to the members.  Additionally, we are in the process of providing downloadable (pdf format) copies of various manuals in the Archives section.  [by Paul Olson]



21 January 2004  Another busy month.  The big project for the month has been the Regimental Dress page.  There are several areas where regimental dress deviates from the standards set by the RSPBA that we wanted to point out.  In addition, there are many subtleties that the RSPBA dress regulations do not address such as correct patterns, sash variations, traditions, etc.  Even if you know how to dress, you may wish to peruse this page for the historical and detail content.  This has been a collaborative effort and our sincere thanks go out to Drum Majors Iain McGibbon, Joe MacDonald, Tom Belyea, and Kieran Boyle, without whom this manual would not have been possible.  We shall be adding photos to the manual in the near future.


Additionally, we have put together a Plaid Tying manual that many will find very informative.   There are several ways to tie a plaid, but this is the most common and is used by the Black Watch of Canada.  Thanks  to Kieran Boyle and Lyman Howard for this project. [by Paul Olson]



31 December 2003  It has been a busy month.  The three historical Drum Major manuals have been posted and we have more on the way!  We have a mid-1700 era Espontoon manual from the David Stewart Museum in Montreal that we shall be posting shortly.  The calendar has been updated for 2004.  If you see any competitions that we have missed, please let us know.  We have surpassed the 100 member mark and expect to double our rolls by year's end 2004!


Seminars!  We have seminars set for the early months of 2004.  For those just starting out or for those in need of a tune up, we recommend taking advantage and supporting these workshops.  The first is set in February, sponsored by the EUSPBA, and located in Malvern, PA.  The instructor is David Ricklis.  Drum Major Ricklis is a former Drum Major of the 257th U.S. Army Band, long time EUSPBA judge, and current Drum Major of the MacMillan Pipe Band.  Drum Major Ricklis and Drum Major MacKenzie, CD are both RDMA members.


Projects for 2004 include a RDMA Regimental Dress for Pipes and Drums that is currently underway.  There are several items of dress that vary from the RSPBA dress regulations.  We will also explain the quality of items worn by the various band members, placement of items, and add a little military dress history.  Also for 2004, will be the RDMA Drill Manual for Pipes and Drums.  A quarterly newsletter will be coming out early in 2004.  We will also set our focus on the fife and drums genre as well.


We are still looking for photos that you are willing share with the Association.  And, if you are interested in participating in any of our projects,  please let us know.  Your expertise and assistance is most welcome! [by Paul Olson]



01 December 2003  We have posted the Words of Command v.2.0 to the site [NOTE: this manual has been incorporated into the RDMA Drill Manual for Pipes & Drums, PO 3/06.]  We have also posted all the photos we have to the Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums.  There are several more that need to be taken and added to the manual.  We hope to have those done by the end of January providing the weather cooperates. Once we have all the photos done, we will have an downloadable copy available to those that would like one.  This has also been the month of the historic manuals.  We have acquired three manuals via eBay and will post them upon receipt and permission from the publisher (1880 Rollinson is already up and running.)  All of these manuals apply to the signal baton.  We have a renewed request from the MoD regarding publishing the Drum Major portions of The Drummer's Handbook.  I expect this to be delayed with the recent announcements of military deductions in the UK and its expected public response.  We have been making refinements to the site.  Soon it will be time to redo the calendar.  [by Paul Olson]



23 October 2003   We have a recent addition to the staff in Drum Major Kieran Boyle of the Paris Pipe Band.  Drum Major Boyle has been a valued resource as to regimental form and practice.  He has been in several pipe bands as well as having been in the Black Watch (RHR) of Canada as an Infantry medic and bandsman (tenor Drummer). 


We had a telephonic staff meeting on 15 October.  We reviewed the progress to date and vision of the future.  For the short term we will be making several revisions to the website.  This will include making revisions to the Pipes & Drum Mace Manual, adding a Voice of Command page for Pipes and Drums, adding a member's photo page, adding a "spot the errors" photo page, adding a search engine and site map.  For the year 2004, we will be placing an emphasis on the Fife and Drum genre of field music.  Our medium range goals include sponsoring seminars and Regimental Drum Major Competitions.  These competitions would not place an emphasis on flourishing, but rather on proper dress, drill, and deportment.  We will be developing competition regimen as well as our long range goals further in the First Quarter of 2004.


We await word from the Ministry of Defence as to posting portions of The Drummer's Handbook.  They have been in contact with us and we expect final approval or denial shortly.  Photographs have been made to augment the mace manual.  Barring further hardware problems, they should be up shortly. [by Paul Olson]



27 August 2003  This has been a long day coming.  We have released the first edition of the RDMA Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums today.   In addition you may find it in the site at Pipes and Drums/Mace.  This was one of our major goals for the year.  This release will be augmented by an edition with photographs that we expect to release in mid-October.  I hope that you will find it helpful.  But that is not all we have in the works.  We expect to be posting the Drum Major's Staff Drill by Drum Major John C. Moon within the next month.  Drum Major Moon assisted us greatly in the development of our Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums.  He has a CV that is most impressive that includes being the Senior Drum Major for the Brigade of Guards and of the British Army as well as an overall expert in field music.  Skip Kirkwood, Band Manager of the Marion County Sheriff's Pipes & Drums sent us a copy of the 1985 UK Drummer's Handbook.  This is the Regimental Staff drill handbook for the UK.  We are currently seeking permission to publish this work from the Ministry of Defence.  We also have several articles that will be posted shortly!  Keep checking back - there will likely to be something new! [by Paul Olson]



18 July 2003  I am sure that many of you, such as myself, are in the middle of competition season.  Over the last two months our membership has nearly doubled.  We have been making some refinements to the site.  In addition the first draft of the RDMA Mace Manual for Pipes and Drums is nearly completed.  Our site affiliate has been growing as well.  Rick has added a QuickTime movie to demonstrate military beating of time.  We hope to utilize this form of media in our site as well. [www.onlinedrummajor.com/beatmilbaton.html ]  We will be looking at this after competition season.  Also, many have been asking for logo items such as shirts, patches, pins, etc.  We will be looking into this if the response is strong enough.  Should we proceed, we will provide those items at cost plus shipping.  [by Paul Olson] 



30 May 2003  This month sees the membership continue to grow.  Our Highland Mace manual is nearing completion.  We have posted an excellent article on Scottish Massed Band by Jim Harrington [Pipes and Drums/Drill/Massed Band].  Jim is the senior judge for the WUSPBA, an influential drum major presence in the California Bay Area for decades, a fount of drum major information, and all around nice guy.  His article compliments Mick's Massed Band article very nicely.  We have also added a new Historical section to the site.  We have posted the 1830 - 1836 vintage staff manual.  We expect future postings to this section shortly - things you will find quite interesting! [by Paul Olson]



29 April 2003  The site continues to grow!  We have received a packet from the USAF including manuals and photos.  You will find these on the Mil/USAF section as well as the Media section.  We have made contact with several parties regarding fife and drum manuals.  The calendar is up and is being expanded thanks to Mick Stewart!  We are in the initial phase of developing a Highland Mace manual which is our first major project outside of the website.  We have also heard from the Edinburgh Tattoo, which has agreed to send us some photos for posting. [by Paul Olson]



17 April 2003  We made a significant breakthrough in our contacts.  Scott Grant made contact with the USMC which has graciously provided us with it's band and drill manual, in addition to photographs. Our friends from the USAF Ceremonial Brass are also sending us a package of manuals, photos, and contacts.  You shall be seeing a significant expansion of the Military sections very shortly.  The members keep flowing in despite us not yet going public, although that day is coming soon.  We have some very influential members in the US Military realm, including the drum major instructor for the Armed Forces School of Music.  Currently our highest percentage of members are USMC drum majors!  We also have a new member from Sweden!  This week also marked the passing of the United States Drum Major Association (USDMA), our precursor, into the history books.  The USDMA website was taken down and retired.  I also enlisted the help of Lyman Howard, one of the pipers from the Stewart Tartan Pipes & Drums, my home band, to model the Full Dress uniform (Pipes/Dress/RSPBA Dress).  We shot pictures on Treasure Island (site of the 1939 S.F. World's Fair, former US Navy base, and best all around view of San Francisco) in between squalls of the last major storm of the season. [by Paul Olson]



10 April 2003  This has been very exciting week.  We received permission from the Ministry of Defense to publish the UK Drill Manual (1935).  You shall find it posted in the Pipes & Drums/Drill section.  Also we received and posted a guest article from Rick Wilson discussing what catches the judge's eye during competition [Pipes & Drums/Competition].  We are currently putting together the calendar.  [by Paul Olson]  



3 April 2003 A lot has happened over the past few weeks. The site (drummajor.net, v1.4) is now up and running! The site continues to be fleshed out with new material that I wish I had when I started my D/M endeavor. Many contacts have been made to secure additional information. You shall see those shortly. Many thanks to VP and Web Marshall Scott Grant, who spent many long hours working to get this site created and implemented. [by Paul Olson]



20 March 2003 We have made a significant strategic alliance. The RDMA has entered into an affiliation with Rick Wilson�s Drum Major Resource Center (www.onlinedrummajor.com). Rick will be focusing on school band and drum corps drum majors. Rick and I have known each other for more years than we care to remember and, coincidentally, had the same vision of a drum major information site. Rick is a walking encyclopedia of drum major information. He has been a very successful high school, college, and Scottish drum major. He founded The Drum Major Academy over 20 years ago and has provided instruction to hundreds of high school, college, and Scottish drum majors. Rick has also been a judge of high school, and Scottish drum majors for 20 years. Rick very approachable and I would encourage you to tap into his vast knowledge. [by Paul Olson]


Regimental Drum Major Association � 2003 - 2007