March 31, 2000

Millennium Group Proposal Accepted in Principle at RSPBA AGM

Glasgow, Scotland – March 11, 2000 – The much discussed report submitted in January by the ad hoc Millennium Group of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) was approved “in principle” at the organization’s annual general meeting here today.

The meeting was one of the more well attended affairs in recent memory, with an estimated 400 members attending the event at the Henry Wood Hall in Glasgow.

Among the most contentious issues in the report was that on conflict of interest, where it is recommended that manufacturers of piping and drumming equipment be banished from judging. This recommendation was doubted at the meeting by a vocal minority, and actively approved by the vast majority of attendees.

The Millennium Group report now goes to an “Implementation Group,” which must be appointed, and a criterion for membership on the new group is not clearly understood. There is some thought that members of the Millennium Group would carry over to the Implementation Group, but it is uncertain whether all members have the inclination to do so.

“The membership has spoken, and it’s now up to the membership to decide how best to implement the Millennium Group’s report,” said one RSPBA member. “It will be very difficult to change the structure of the report now that it has been approved.”

For more details on the Millennium Group’s report, please see our previous story on Piper & Drummer Online. To download the full RSPBA Millennium Group report, click here.

League Table System for World Championships Approved

A new “league table” system for Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships (see previous story on P&D Online) was approved at the AGM. The new format will see bands accrue points at each major RSPBA championship.

Six RSPBA bands pre-qualify from the results of the major championships prior to the Worlds in the same season; i.e. the six highest placed Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association bands from a league based on the championships prior to the World’s.

Overseas bands pre-qualify based on achieving a top six place at the previous year’s World’s, or obtaining a top six place at a championship prior to the World’s in the same season.

The new system would do away with the prize winners from the previous year’s World’s qualifying – unless it’s an “overseas” band, such as Simon Fraser University of Vancouver, Canada, which won the title in 1999.

The new system has been met with considerable opposition by bands outside of the UK, as it puts tremendous pressure on them to attend a major RSPBA championship to try to qualify. The system also does not provide for any non-RSPBA qualifying events, such as the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, Canada. It also means that, conceivably, the winner of the previous year’s World’s – if it’s an RSPBA band – must qualify for the final the next year.

“The new system seems to favour RSPBA bands completely, and really is a raw deal to bands from outside that jurisdiction,” said one member of a Canadian Grade 1 band. “With only a few months before the first RSPBA major, we might need to raise $30,000 to get over to try to qualify at another championship. It’s absurd.”

New Chairman Elected

Jim Cruickshank of Aberdeen was elected as the new Chairman of the RSPBA, replacing Matt Connell, who tendered his resignation in December 1999. Cruickshank – father of Fiona Cruickshank, a piper with the Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band – was elected in a run-off vote against Sandy Henderson of Edinburgh.

Also becoming official, Colin Darroch – formerly of the City of Glasgow Council – is now the RSPBA’s Executive Officer, replacing Ian White, who resigned suddenly in November 1999.

45 Washington Street Still HQ, For Now

Contrary to previous announcements by the RSPBA, the organization will hold on to its expansive and costly headquarters at 45 Washington Street in the centre of Glasgow.

Outgoing Chairman Matt Connell had prematurely announced that it would be put up for sale, but with the approval of the Millennium Report, the RSPBA must weigh its options first to ensure it gets the most for the property at the best time.

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