The RSPBA has, unsolicited, upgraded the Stuart Highlanders of Massachusetts to Grade 1, the band recently learned after entering for the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships in Grade 2.
“I can confirm that the RSPBA has upgraded us this season,” said Stuart Highlanders Pipe-Major Adam Holdaway, “and while we did not request the upgrade, the band is humbled and honoured to be a part of the association’s top tier of bands.”
The band merged with the now defunct Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band of New York, and it is thought that the combination of the two bands brought about the Scottish association’s decision to place the band in Grade 1.
The Stuart Highlanders’ home association, the EUSPBA, was unaware of the upgrade, and was not consulted by the RSPBA. The band will remain in Grade 2 in the EUSPBA.
“Stuart Highlanders are Grade 2 in the EUSPBA, and as our season has not yet started yet, we have no plans to change that grading for 2014,” said EUSPBA President Eric MacNeill. “Adam Holdaway is a member of our Music Board and grading committee and we intend to work with him on this matter. At the moment, I foresee an excellent competitive push between New York Metro and Stuart Highlanders locally, and I think that will be to the benefit of both bands as they prepare to travel to Scotland in August.
“The EUSPBA was not consulted about the RSPBA grading. However, we are not under any obligation to also re-grade any band. Whenever a band travels to Scotland, they must be prepared to be graded by the RSPBA. It’s their event, so it’s their rules. I think bands that plan to attend understand that.”
According to a source close to the band, who requested anonymity, the Stuart Highlanders have appealed the decision of the . . .