November 30, 2009

MacDonald new President, rule changes at PPBSO AGM

After serving on the organization’s Executive for more 34 years, Charlie MacDonald was elected President of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario at its annual general meeting held in Campbelville, Ontario, on November 28, 2009.

MacDonald, who most recently served as Vice-President, succeeds Bob Allen, who had held the post for 10 of the last 12 years. Duncan MacRae was acclaimed as Vice-President and will serve out the remaining year of MacDonald’s two-year term. John Allen returns as Treasurer, also by acclamation.
Approximately 35 of the 1200-strong membership attended the meeting, and the three-hour event was congenial, with constructive and respectful discussion throughout.
In addition to the election of executive officers, the most important business was the review of and voting on motions from various PPBSO branches. The significant rule changes are the addition of an occasional 6/8 March event to Grade 1 and Grade 2 amateur solo piping, and the extension of the Grade 3 pipe band medley requirement to a maximum six minutes.
There was a lively discussion regarding the PPBSO’s practice of consultation judging at band competitions. Rather than scrap the procedure outright, it was decided to formalize it to make it more efficient and transparent, provided the PPBSO Executive ultimately approves the fundamental practice.
Outgoing President Bob Allen speaks to attendees at the 2009 PPBSO annual general meeting as Vice-President Charlie MacDonald and Secretary Barb MacRae look on.The following decisions were reached:
“That the PPBSO’s Music Board reviews the existing Champion Supreme points system for solo competitions, and recommends changes, if any, to the PPBSO Executive.”
“C-7.1 – Change: Grade 1 jig competition be changed so that a four-parted 6/8 March competition replace the Jig at alternate games to be determined by the Society. Two 6/8 marches will be submitted. Only one march will be played.”
“C-7 – Change: Grade 2 Jig competition be changed so that one four-parted 6/8 March competition replace the Jig at alternate games to be determined by the Society. One 6/8 march will be submitted.”
“D-12.3 PPBSO Article D-12.3 shall be revised to read: Grade 3 bands shall submit one set and one medley of three-to-six minutes duration.”
“That the PPBSO’s Music Board consider a band judging consultation process and make a recommendation for a formal system and process to the PPBSO Executive, which will be authorized to put these recommendations into force.”
Outgoing President Bob Allen started the meeting at 1 pm with an update on the state of the organization. He reported that the PPBSO is in “a good financial state,” even though annual membership fees were reduced in 2008 to $40.
Allen said that, while two Highland games were cancelled in 2009 (Chatham and Sarnia), two were added (Oshawa and Lindsay). He said that the organization has been approached by several other prospective new events, but that the Executive has taken a measured approach to agreements, given economic times.
Allen highlighted the overall resurrection of the PPBSO’s Windsor branch to a more active standing, the implementation of a duty piper for Grade 5 solo snare drumming competition and a policy for inclement weather as being highlights of the year past.

Bob Allen cited several challenges, and readily accepted blame for them, including confusion over an errant disqualification of the Glengarry Pipe Band at the Montreal Games, which had been addressed. He finished his report with thanks to the Executive, the Music Board, stewards, PPBSO Administrator Sharon Duthart and the membership at large.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Allen received a standing ovation from those attending.
Charlie MacDonald provided a brief Vice-President’s report, stressing the importance of collective teamwork and challenges ahead to ensure that competitions remain successful. He cited challenges with the RSPBA over putting three PPBSO judges “in suspense” for alleged non-compliance in providing sample scoresheets
The Treasurer’s report showed that the organization was on solid financial ground, with a nearly $50,000 in its operating fund, and $25,000 in its building fund. Auditor George Leonard cited overall improved financial management, a decrease in overhead expenses and a $17,000 positive settlement of a 12-year-old litigation case as being the main reasons for the improved financial status.
PPBSO Music Board Chair Andrew Berthoff provided a summary of the group’s 2009 initiatives, including a program to study and improve participation in solo snare drumming; formal accreditation of bass- and tenor-judges, and the trial of mid-section judges for pipe bands; the organization’s Education & Theory program; and general judging accreditation, allocation and grading matters.
He indicated that Music Board planned to continue to build on those programs in 2010, and also potentially develop a survey of members to obtain feedback on individual PPBSO adjudicators, with the objective of learning and improving the overall experience for competitors.
Under General Business there was brief discussion of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association’s recent AGM and Judges Meeting, as well as a short dialogue on the planned 2011 Western United States Pipe Band Association event in Las Vegas.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 4 pm.


  1. I really believe that there should be a quorum of at least 10% of the society’s membership in attendance for any rules to be changed so that we don’t have the minority getting silly personal agendas put through. Give me a break,…. a 6/8 march contest to be substituted every second contest instead of the Grd 1&2 Jig ? Certainly formal competitive 6/8 March playing should be addressed long before grade 1/2 ! We’ve got to wake up and stop this BS of the judges discussing contests before submitting results. Either you are a qualified Judge or not. Lets ban this practice and expose the inept judges and move on with those that know what they are doing.

  2. I agree that poor attendance can result in personal agendas dominating the proceeding, but it is up to the membership to ensure that the attendance is sufficient to support any rule changes being made. The process cannot stand still based on apathy from the members. If the Gr I/II solo competitors didn’t want to have a 6/8 March contest in place of a Jig, then all 40-60 of them should have shown up and voted it down. As of now, they’re stuck with it for a year at least.



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