August 31, 2011

Cross-border bands unite to take on Juvenile and Grade 3

Two Grade 3 bands – White Spot from Vancouver and Northwest Junior from Seattle – combined for a one-year “United” experiment, and after success on the Pacific Northwest circuit, the group is taking on Juvenile, Grade 3 and some Grade 2 competitions in Scotland with success.

The Northwest/White Spot United Pipe Band gained a second in Grade 3 at Bridge of Allan and a third at North Berwick, en route to competing in the Juvenile grade at the World Pipe Band Championships.

According to Todd Schiele, a spokesman for the band, Northwest/White Spot United was created “to provide new opportunities for growth by combining talents in a Grade 3/Juvenile level pipe band for the 2010/2011 competition season.   The one year youth band project began with modest expectations of having fun and learning together across international borders, playing at a higher competition level and making the trip to Scotland.”

On the RSPBA circuit bands graded Juvenile are generally allowed to compete at non-championships in Grade 3 and occasionally up to Grade 2 when a Juvenile contest is not offered. Several Juvenile bands in the UK do well when playing in Grade 2.

The United band is led by Pipe-Major Alexander Schiele, Pipe-Sergeant Trevor Davidson and drum-sergeants Bryce Kreger and Fiona Senyk, with a total of 20 other pipers and drummers younger than 19.

“We all took on the challenge as a bit of an unusual experiment last fall,” said Hal Senyk, one of the band’s instructors. “Not surprisingly, we encountered some challenges, but through everyone’s efforts we have achieved  some gratifying results.  A great learning experience for both the band members and instructors.”


The combined band is one of several organizations over the last years that have consolidated with improved competition results in mind. Last year three Grade 4 bands in Nevada combined for form a “superband” to compete in Grade 4B at the 2011 World’s. The band is drawn to compete first at 9 am in one of three qualifying heats.

Bolstering World’s rosters with available players from bands not competing at the contest has become routine with many bands, especially in the higher grades. According to Rule 3.7, the RSPBA requires that a full 14 days must pass after a player is officially released before he or she is allowed to compete with a different band.




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