Published: November 30, 2003

Ontario Plans Musical Excellence Summit With Leading Lights

In what is thought to be a pipe band association first, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO) has invited twenty-five of its brightest and most experienced pipers and drummers to the first Musical Excellence Summit this month in Toronto.

The three-hour invitation-only meeting will tap leaders for ideas on how Ontario pipe band competitions can become musically better, to provide an improved musical package for competitors, audiences, and games committees.

According to the invitation from PPBSO president Bob Allen, “The meeting will be purely constructive and pet beefs or personal gripes will not be welcomed. Our objective is to build on the many positive aspects of what we do, to make our product the most interesting and enjoyable it can be for everyone involved and to continue to build Ontario’s Highland Games leadership among world organizations.”

The summit comes at a time when many competitions around the world have suffered from declining interest from spectators, with games committees increasingly unable to afford band prize- and travel-money. Band competitions have come under some criticism for being musically uninteresting to many competitors and spectators.

“We have a great musical product already,” said Allen, “and we want to make it even greater. We want to bring even more musical excitement and excellence to even more people. To do that, we need to ask ourselves how we can maximize our entertainment value, while preserving our competition mandate. We must take it upon ourselves to be better, to expand our scope and audience.”

Among those invited to the summit are a cross-ection of pipe-majors and leading drummers from Ontario bands, A-level band judges, and several people experienced in event organization.

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