The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has relegated three of their bands to Grade 2 status bringing the number of member Grade 1 bands to an all-time low of 11, eight being from Scotland.
Following the organization’s Music Committee’s recommendations, which still need to be ratified by the RSPBA’s Board of Directors, Scotland-based Kilts & More-Dysart & Dundonald and Torphichen & Bathgate, and Seven Towers of Northern Ireland will have to contend with Grade 2 status in 2014.
None of the organization’s Grade 2 bands were recommended for upgrading.
Assuming the recommendations are made official, Grade 1 bands based in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland will be:
- Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
- Cullybackey (Northern Ireland)
- Denny & Dunipace-Gleneagles (Scotland)
- Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
- Greater Glasgow Police Scotland (Scotland)
- Inveraray & District (Scotland)
- Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
- Ravara (Northern Ireland)
- ScottishPower (Scotland)
- Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
- Vale of Atholl (Scotland)
Although St. Laurence O’Toole of Ireland competes at all RSPBA major championships, it is considered an “overseas” band. Denny & Dunipace-Gleneagles survived its first year in Grade 1 following upgrade after 2012. The first transition year to Grade 1 is thought to be by many the most difficult move for competition pipe bands.
Despite the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) and the Toronto Police at the World Pipe Band Championships finishing behind some or all of the bands that were relegated, neither were recommended for downgrade, as the association has taken upon itself to do in the past.
While Scotland is down to eight top-grade bands, Canada has seven in Grade 1, New Zealand five, Australia four, the United States two and France one.
Following the World’s, Kilts & More-Dysart & Dundonald Pipe-Major Greig Canning announced his resignation. The band has not yet announced his successor.