The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has upgraded the New York Metro Pipe Band two spots to Grade 2, after the band won the Grade 3B event at the 2011 World Pipe Band Championships. The band is a member of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
The RSPBA made the announcement on October 5th, along with several bands that are RSPBA members and is the latest grading decision by the Scottish organization involving bands outside of their area that competed only a few times, or even just once, in Scotland.
The EUSPBA has yet to make its 2012 grading decisions, and association President Eric MacNeill said that recommendations won’t happen until early-December.
“I cannot say for certainty what will happen locally with New York Metro at this time,” MacNeill said. “However, this decision of the RSPBA will factor in some way, I’m sure. We’ll also be in contact with the New York Metro musical leadership about this. I think it’s obvious that this band is working hard and doing the right things to advance their group.”
While associations that are members of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) have pledged to reciprocally honour gradings of bands throughout the continent, the RSPBA has at times assigned bands to altogether different grades when they compete in their sanctioned events. The RSPBA downgraded the City of Washington Pipe Band to Grade 2 after the band played in the Grade 1 Qualifier at the 2010 World Championships, but the EUSPBA decided later that the band would remain in Grade 1 in their organization.
“I take absolutely no issue with the RSPBA’s grading practices,” MacNeill continued. “Bands that compete in the RSPBA are graded by the RSPBA for the purposes of RSPBA contests only. They have in no way mandated any grading to the EUSPBA. It is obvious to me that the RSPBA grading committee works hard to maintain a strong standard at each grade in their association, so I’m sure a band like New York Metro would feel honoured to have been graded to Grade 2 by the RSPBA committee.”
For the 2008 World’s the RSPBA reassigned the Oran Mor Pipe Band of Schenectady, New York, to Grade 2 after the band’s entry to Grade 1 was initially accepted. The band had been upgraded that year to Grade 1 by the EUSPBA.
At the 2005 summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations in Winnipeg, then RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly agreed on behalf of his organization that the RSPBA would not re-grade any North American bands. At the time he did reserve the RSPBA’s right not to allow bands to compete in a certain grade if his organization deemed that they did not meet or exceeded the playing standard of the grade.
The New York Metro regrading was part of the RSPBA’s overall reassignments, which included the move of Seven Towers and Ravara of Northern Ireland and the Grampian Police of Scotland to Grade 1. Other bands upgraded to Grade 2 by the RSPBA were Oban of Scotland and Manorcunningham of Ireland, which finished first and second respectively in Grade 3A at the World’s last year.