Update 1: Oran Mor to compete in Grade 2 at World’s
The Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band of New York will compete in Grade 2 at the World Pipe Band Championships. Sources close to the band said, on condition of anonymity, that the band was asked to compete in Grade 2 at the event by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, and the band accepted the request.
Oran Mor was upgraded
to the top grade by its home organization, the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, after a successful 2007 in Grade 2. The upgrade at the time was the topic of debate.
Oran Mor changed leadership in April 2008, with Andrew Douglas taking over from long-time Pipe-Major Donald Lindsay.
“Oran Mor has always believed in setting the bar high for itself,” Douglas said. “We had a very good overseas showing in 2007: a win at Bridge of Allan, a win in the Grade 2 qualifier at the World’s, and a seventh place finish in the final. In the EUSPBA, the band won its third consecutive Champion Supreme in Grade 2. Given this momentum, and an influx of talent coming into the band, we felt the time was right to attempt a move to Grade 1.
“The band requested an upgrade in the fall of 2007. We had no expectations, one way or the other, as to whether or not the RSPBA or the EUSPBA would grant the request. After corresponding with both associations, it was determined that the band would be allowed to move to Grade 1 in the EUSPBA, but not in Scotland. The RSPBA committee did not think we were yet ready to make the move. Oran Mor was certainly prepared for this decision.”
Douglas concluded: “Oran Mor’s official standpoint on the matter is this: We feel like the band is moving in an upward direction. That is the most important thing to us. We are happy to compete in any grade, and respect the wishes, regulations, and standards of all pipe band associations. Thus, the band is not concerned with supposed pre-exisiting precedences regarding international pipe band grading. We are most concerned with being respectful to all parties involved.”
At the 2005 summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations in Winnipeg, 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 RSPBA upgraded the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band to Grade 1 in October of 2006 after the band won the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships. Robert Malcolm was subsequently dissolved by its parent Simon Fraser University organization, merged with Triumph Street and was then assigned to Grade 2 by the British Columbia Pipers Association.
Oran Mor entered the Grade 1 event at the 2008 North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, and the Pipers & Pipe Band Association of Ontario accepted the application without reservation.
The RSPBA has not yet responded to questions from pipes|drums on the matter.
In 2001 the Prince Charles Pipe Band of San Francisco, which was graded Grade 1 by the Western United States Pipe Band Association, had its entry to the Grade 1 event at the World Championships accepted, only to be told two weeks before the event
that the band would have to play in Grade 2.