Two significant indoor events in Ontario will conflict on April 10th, with two Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario branches vying for the participation of pipers, drummers and enthusiasts within 200 kilometres of each other.
The PPBSO’s Toronto Branch will stage its second Toronto Indoor Games on April 10th, while the association’s Western Branch will hold its first competitions as part of London, Ontario’s Kiwanis Music Festival.
According to Toronto Branch president, Kelly Crowe, the branch had booked Moss Park Armoury in downtown Toronto in July of last year for the Indoor Games, an event the branch resurrected with an eye to returning it as a significant date on the North American competition calendar. She said that the venue – the home of the 48th Highlanders of Canada – is in heavy demand, so booking early was essential.
Meanwhile, the Western Branch organized its event when the opportunity to join the Kiwanis Music Festival arose, not knowing that the date conflicted with the Toronto Branch.
“After we were made aware of the situation with the Western Branch, we did attempt to change the date and explored moving to another venue,” Crowe said. “Unfortunately, no other date was available and we could not find an appropriate or affordable alternative. After considerable thought and consultation with several members of the pipe band community in the Toronto Branch area we have decided to present the Indoors Games on our original date. The deciding factor for us was our concern that the pipe band community would lose faith in the continuity of the event. As we have every intention that the Toronto Indoors will be a mainstay on the annual competition calendar, we decided we needed to go forth.”
Crowe said that new events are being added to this year’s Toronto Indoor, namely Quartet competitions for Grade 1-4 and a competition for “parade bands” that don’t normally compete, but “are interested in challenging themselves to maintain or improve their pipe band skills, network in the pipe band community, and perhaps encourage them to consider entering PPBSO sanctioned contests in the future.”
The events are being added to the full slate of solo competitions and the mini-band contests for all grades.
Meanwhile, in London, Ontario, the Western Branch will hold solo events for pipers and drummers, with results counting towards aggregate solo Champion Supreme awards. The branch is also offering a mini-band competition.
The previously mentioned Innovation workshop and Drumming for Drinks contest are aligned with the Western Branch competitions, which will be held at London Central Secondary School.
“This is a weekend unlike most events in the Ontario region as it incorporates competition, education and performance,” said Western Branch vice-president Doug MacRae. “We are disappointed that Toronto announced their event will be held the same day as [our event]. After researching the date and consulting the other branches, the Western Branch reported to the Branches at an Executive meeting in September that we will go ahead with our event. The PPBSO sanctioned the event, allowing us to award Champion Supreme points and all protocols are being followed.”
MacRae said, because the Kiwanis festival draws many spectators, judges will make public “reviews” following each competition, discussing what they heard and how it was evaluated, with a goal of educating spectators and competitors. The reviews will be in addition to written score-sheets.
Crowe said that results from the Toronto Indoor Games will not count towards Champion Supreme rankings.
“Although we regret that Ontario pipe bands and competitors have to choose between events we will ensure that every effort will be made in the future so that a similar conflict does not happen again,” Crowe said.