August 31, 2001

Bands React to Prince Charles Matter

We have sought the opinions of a cross section of several Grade 2 bands about the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s (RSPBA’s) decision to place the MacTarnahan’s Prince Charles Pipe Band of San Francisco, California, in Grade 2 at the World Pipe Band Championships.

After winning the Grade 2 event at the 2000 World’s, the band was upgraded in December 2000 by the Western United States Pipe Band Association (WUSPBA), a recognized affiliate of the RSPBA. The band was not officially upgraded in October by the RSPBA.

Comments are mixed, ranging from sympathy to apathy with the band’s unusual circumstance.

“I think it is a disgrace that any band that can win the Worlds is not upgraded,” said one piper in an RSPBA member Grade 2 band from Northern Ireland. “There should definitely be some sort of appeal procedure, if not boycotting the World’s this year. I know I would support them on this.”

Said a drummer with a Scottish Grade 2 band: “I should think there will be a certain amount of animosity aimed at the Prince Charles Pipe Band when they arrive on these shores because they seem incapable of accepting a decision which was obviously made a long time ago (remember Ravara also won a major championship last year!), and this will be the unsaid opinion that people will have, namely, ‘they think they are too good to play in Grade 2.'”

The bandsman continued by contending, “They have known about this for a long time and failure to point this out to people like yourselves is in my opinion distorting the truth by being selective with the true issues. In many cases the team that doesn’t get ‘promotion’ receives a touch of sympathy off everyone, but I’m afraid this time nobody has either been demoted or promoted so get the sleeves rolled up and play on!”

The Prince Charles band vehemently denied to Piper & Drummer Online that it knew before July 29 that the RSPBA did not recognize them as a Grade 1 band.

A member of a North American Grade 2 band travelling to the World Championships commented, “We don’t have a problem with playing against Prince Charles at this year’s World’s. However, I am sure Prince Charles feels they have nothing to gain by playing Grade 2 yet again. In fact they have everything to lose by doing this. Why would the RSPBA not allow them to play in the Grade 1 qualifier, as that is where they should be playing after competing a full season in North America as a Grade 1 band? Why does the RSPBA not apologize for what has happened and let Prince Charles play in Grade 1, as they deserve after winning the Worlds in 2000?”

A member of a Scottish Grade 1 band, which was upgraded from Grade 2 after the 2000 season, simply said, “We wish the Prince Charles Pipe Band and all our overseas visitors the very best of luck for their trip across.”

One Grade 2 bandsman who was at the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton on July 28, reportedly where the decision was made to place Prince Charles in Grade 2, commented, “It was even mentioned at the march past at Dumbarton that the [Grade 1] draw for the World’s would follow the prize giving and, to avoid any confusion, Prince Charles would not be part of that draw.”

Members of the WUSPBA, including association president Chris Hossack, are travelling to Glasgow to discuss the matter with the RSPBA.


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