The Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band is a newly established youth based pipe band, open to people aged eighteen years and under from the Greater Toronto Area.
Although brand new, it has been fostered by over one hundred years of pipe band experience through it’s association with the Toronto Police Pipe Band.
The Band’s mission is to mentor and develop youth in the art of Highland piping and drumming, thereby ensuring that the memory of Sergeant Ryan Russell #7686, along with his bravery, courage, and competitive spirit are remembered.
Members of the Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band will receive:
Professional musical instruction in an inclusive and fun environment
Team building skills
Community service involvement
Public performance experience at community events
Experience in pipe band competitions
As future members of the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario, the Band will be looking to compete at the Highland Games in 2014.
The Ryan Russell Pipe Band is led by Pipe Major Brian Urkosky. The Band wears the Red Ross tartan in honour of the Toronto Police Pipe Band’s first Pipe Major, Thomas Ross.
The Band is accepting new members who are 18 years of age and under, and who have either already starting playing, or are wanting to learn to play. For more information on how to join, please contact us !
About Ryan Russell
Ryan Russell was born in 1975, son to a Metropolitan Toronto Police Officer. He was raised in the City of Scarborough. After graduating from college, Ryan decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a member of the Toronto Police Service as a Police Officer.
He began his career at 54 Division. Due to his policing excellence, he was later transferred to the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force where he continued to excel. In 2011, he was promoted to Sergeant and was transferred to 52 Division for his first posting as a supervisor.
On January 12, 2011, Sergeant Ryan Russell #7686, was tragically killed in the line of duty. He left behind his wife Christine and his two year old son Nolan.
A great admirer of pipes and drums, many of Ryan’s closest friends were pipers with the historic Toronto Police Pipe Band. This included Ryan’s best man at his wedding, who still is a piper in the band. It is only fitting then, that a memorial pipe band be named in his honour, that will encourage and teach the youth of tomorrow this wonderful art.
Pipe Major – Brian Urkosky
Brian Urkosky began piping lessons at the age of 13 with Pipe Major John MacDonald, of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Pipe Band. Since that time, he has received tuition from Pipe Major Ian K. MacDonald in light music and Ceol Mor, and actively competed in solos, until he reached the Grade 1 level. In 1992, he joined the Metro Toronto Grade 2 Pipe Band. In 1998, Brian became the Pipe Major of the Toronto Police Grade 4 Pipe Band, a position he held until the band’s dissolution in 2002. During that period, the band won the North American Pipe Band Championship three times.
In 2007, Brian established, and was Pipe Major for a new junior Grade 3 Toronto Police Pipe Band. He held this position until 2015 and the band won the North American Championships in 2011, and the PPBSO’s Champion Supreme Award three times! In 2013, the band travelled to Scotland to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships, and finished 6th in the Grade 3B category – this is thus far Brian’s proudest piping achievement!
In the fall of 2013, the Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band was formed and with the help of family and friends, the new band hit the competition circle in 2014. Brian is looking forward to the summer of 2018, where he will again lead a band onto the field of the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. The RRMPB will be competing in the Novice Juvenile B Grade. This will be the first time an Ontario youth only band will compete at the World Championships since the 1990’s. This will be a massive accomplishment for the members, their families, and supporters.Brian has been a member of the Toronto Police Service since 2001, and currently holds the rank of Detective.
Ian K. MacDonald — Piping Mentor
has been a member of the Toronto Police Pipe Band since he was 13 years old and took over as Pipe Major from his father, John MacDonald in 1998. He receives tuition from Jim McGillivray, Bill Livingstone, Pete Aumonier and George Campbell. Ian is the current Pipe Sergeant with the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band. In 2016, he became one of twelve people to ever win the “Double Gold” medal at Oban and Inverness and in 2017 he won the Dunvegan Medal in Skye, 2nd in the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban, was awarded the Ontario Champion Supreme for Professional Piping, and was the Piper for Grade 3 Snare Drumming Champion Supreme, Cameron MacDonald, who just happens to be his son!
Ian K. is a Detective with the Toronto Police Service and proud husband to the beautiful, Brenda and father to Colin (18), Cameron (17) who is also a snare drummer with the Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band, and Ashlyn (15).
Hector Macdonald — Piping Mentor
Hector Macdonald is a well-known piper who has been involved in the piping community from a young age. He was first exposed to the music of Scotland by his parents, and he was initially taught by Terry Cleland, Bill Livingstone and for many years George Campbell. Hector was a successful Open class soloist and is now an adjudicator at the various Highland Games in Ontario. He spent many years playing in Grade 1 bands with many trips to Scotland. He spent a fascinating year playing bagpipes while living and working in Japan and travelling throughout the Far East.
Hector brings intense passion for the music and a deep knowledge of the instrument. He has the ability and the willingness to pass on that knowledge to the next generation of pipers.
Hector is a Police Officer with the Toronto Police Service. He is married to Denise, a Highland Dance adjudicator. Hector is the proud father of Malcolm and Alexander, who both play the pipes. Malcolm is an alum of the RRMPB and Alexander is a current member of the band.
Jeff Redford — Piping Mentor
Jeff Redford has been a member of the Toronto Police Service for the past twenty-one years. Jeff started his piping career in 1996 with the Halton Regional Police Pipe Band. He then joined the Grade 3 Toronto Police Pipe Band in 2004 as a competitive piper, winning Champion Supreme several occasions.
PM Brian Urkosky asked Jeff to assist the RRMPB as a mentor in teaching the young pipers. Jeff’s knowledge, experience and patient approach has been a valuable addition to the mentoring team.
Jeff recently retired from competitive piping to put his focus and energy on mentoring the RRMPB.
Doug Stronach – Instructor: Snare and Bass Drum
Doug Stronach is one of North America’s top pipe band players and educators. He is a World Junior Solo Snare Drum Champion, winner of the Scottish, British and European Championships, as well as multiple top-six World Championship finishes with bands both in Scotland and Canada. He was the leading drummer of the Toronto Police and Peel Regional Police Pipe Bands with two Grade 1 North American Drum Corps Awards. He recently retired from competition with the six-time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, BC.He has taught and played throughout the world including Canada, USA, South America, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, France, Germany, Sicily and the UK and has authored five books on Pipe Band Drumming including North America’s best-selling beginner tutor book.
Doug is an accredited judge and holds the highest level of certificate in drumming from the combined Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, The Army School of Piping and Drumming, and the Institute of Piping, known collectively as the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board. He is a qualified assessor for the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board. You can contact Doug directly through his contact page here.
Jamie Alfred — Instructor: Tenor Drum
Jamie Alfred grew up in Walkerton, ON and started tenor drumming with the Walkerton Legion Pipe Band. She then transitioned to competition bands and played with Capercaillie Pipe Band & Strathnaver Pipe Band before coming to TPPB. Her first tenor instructor was Tyler Fry.
Jamie has been tenor drumming for twenty years and most of that time has been spent in the Toronto Police Pipe Band organization. She joined the TPPB Grade Three in 2000 and has played in both Grade 1 and Grade 3 Bands. Currently, Jamie is the midsection lead and bass drummer in the Grade 3 Toronto Police Pipe Band.
Outside of pipe bands, Jamie is a fixtures/faucets buyer with a local plumbing wholesaler. As well, she is building her business, Flourishing Rhythm, which specializes in teaching tenor drumming to soloists and pipe bands.
RRMPB is extremely fortunate to have Jamie as part of our instruction team and we are looking forward to our new tenor section debuting this summer!
Mackenzie Chamberlain — Lead Drummer & Drumming Mentor
Mackenzie Chamberlain initially started drumming with the Sarnia Legion Pipe band. He then moved to the Grade 4 Penetangore Pipe Band in Kincardine, Ontario, before going on to play three years with the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, and compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. In the 2015/2016 year, MacKenzie competed at the Balmoral Classic in Pittsburgh, PA, and Winter Storm (Grade 1) in Kansas City, winning the MSR and HP/J contests at both. In the spring of 2016, MacKenzie was upgraded by the PPBSO to the Professional Grade. Most recently, MacKenzie led the drum core for the Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band in the 2017 season.
In addition to having learnt from many knowledgeable and talented Drum Sergeants, including Deb Whittall, Gerry Radford, Jeff Boyle, and Drew Duthart, Mackenzie is a student of Doug Stronach.
MacKenzie is currently in his second year at the University of Toronto, studying Management and International Business.
RRMPB is extremely grateful and excited to have Mackenzie on board to work with our drummers.
The Rotary Club of Toronto – We are neighbours, community leaders, and global citizens uniting for the common good. With you, we can accomplish even more – Service above self.
Highland Gear Pipe Band Products is a local supplier of excellent bag covers, cords, drum covers, and other assorted products. Please visit their website for further
McCallum Bagpipes offers an unrivalled range of bagpipes, pipe chanters, practice chanters reeds and smallpipes. We also stock an extensive selection of piping supply products. Please see their website for further information or to find a local dealer.
The RRMPB is truly thankful for any support and/or donations received. No amount is too small to help start off a young person to learning a musical instrument!
An option is to use our DONATE button located on the right side of your viewing screen. PayPal securely processes donations, and it just takes a few moments to create an account that you can use for future purposes as well. As well, please feel free to contact us directly. Please be advised that the Band is incorporated as a not-for-profit. The Band however cannot be able to issue any type of income tax receipt. Please ensure your donation is a gift to the Band.