RSPBA downgrades EUSPBA’s City of Washington
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has announced its formal regradings, and again has downgraded a non-member band that competed at the World Pipe Band Championships. The City of Washington Pipe Band of Washington, DC, has been moved to Grade 2, according to an RSPBA announcement.
City of Washington finished second-last in the Grade 1 qualifying round at the 2010 World Championships, besting only the Tayside Police, which subsequently disintegrated as a band following the competition.
Despite agreeing at 2005 Alliance of North American Pipe Band summit not to re-grade non-member bands, the RSPBA did not accept the entry to the Grade 1 event at the 2008 World’s from the Oran Mor Pipe Band of New York, also an EUSPBA-member band. In 2001 the Prince Charles Pipe Band of San Francisco, then in Grade 1 under the Western United States Pipe Band Association, had its entry rejected two weeks before the World’s. The band went ahead and competed in Grade 2 and was then upgraded by the RSPBA after finishing fourth in the Grade 2 competition.
In 2006, the RSPBA took it upon themselves to elevate the British Columbia Pipers Association-member Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band of Vancouver to Grade 1. The upgrade was followed by the members of the band parting ways with the Simon Fraser University organization, and eventually establishing the group with the Triumph Street Pipe Band.
While Grade 1 bands at the World’s routinely compete with at least 15 pipers, City of Washington took 10 to the field – two more than the minimum defined by RSPBA rules. Despite the band finishing second-last overall, it placed ahead of three others bands from one piping judge and four others in ensemble.
EUSPBA President Jimmy Bell said that he had “no comment just now” on the matter, but confirmed that it was the first he knew of that his organization had heard about the regrading. At publication time, City of Washington Pipe-Major Dan Lyden had not yet responded to pipes|drums’ request for comment.
The RSPBA also regraded the North Coast Pipe Band of Cleveland, Ohio, from Grade 4 to Grade 3. North Coast is a member of the Midwest Pipe Band Association. Several bands based in continental Europe were also regarded.
No Grade 2 bands – RSPBA-members or otherwise – were moved to Grade 1.
RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton did not respond to an e-mail inquiry.