November 30, 2010

PPBSO AGM upholds consultative band judging, then suspended after quorum lost

Only half of the scheduled agenda of the 2010 annual general meeting of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario could be completed before a necessary quorum of 30 members was lost, leaving the organization with the challenge of scheduling a special general meeting to complete necessary business.

The November 27th AGM commenced at 1:40 pm at the Lion’s Club in Campbellville, Ontario, and started with 27 members present. As the meeting progressed, five more members arrived to allow executive and committee reports to be made, and six motions from branches of the organization to be tabled and voted on, until four members departed at approximately 4 pm due to other commitments. The loss of quorum essentially dissolved the meeting.

Until the September revision of the PPBSO’s by-laws, the organization had no official provision for quorum at meetings. The society’s new bylaws now mandate that 30 members must attend a general meeting in order for procedure to occur officially.

Of those that were considered before the meeting broke down was the defeat of a motion to eliminate the PPBSO’s practice of consultative judging in band competitions. The organization will continue to refine the consultation process and its Music Committee has recommended further transparency for competitors.

Three motions from Western Branch member Tyler Fry regarding bass and tenor drumming adjudication were carried. The first called for the formal addition of mid-section adjudicators to the panel of adjudicators in pipe band contests for the purpose of “specific education,” essentially formalizes the trialing of mid-section assessment that the organization has conducted for the past two years. The mid-section assessment will still not have an impact on the competition results, but it in effect requires that the PPBSO assigns a mid-section adjudicator to every band competition for the event to take place.

Two other motions from Fry were carried, namely that all mid-section judges must hold a valid adjudicator’s certificate, and that drumming and mid-section judges will now have an A and B certificate, similar to what currently exists with band piping judges. Eligibility for an A certificate calls for a minimum of 10 years playing experience and membership in a Grade 1 band or held a mid-section leadership position in a Grade 2 band for five years within the last 15 years.

As the motion was written and approved, criteria for a B certification in drumming or mid-section adjudication was exactly the same as an A certificate, creating some confusion.

A motion that called for a ban on judges adjudicating not just their former band but any other bands officially associated with their former band for a year after leaving was defeated. The PPBSO has long had a rule that judges have to wait a full year before judging a band that they left.

Also carried was a motion to that requires the organization to publish its Master Entry Form before May 1st of each year.

Fourteen branch motions, including several more concerning mid-section adjudication, changes to the PPBSO’s Champion Supreme system and several changes to competition events were left on the table when the meeting dissolved.

Reports from President Charlie MacDonald and Treasurer John Allan raised significant concerns regarding the Oshawa Highland Games, which has so far not settled payment to the PPBSO, creating a financial impact on the organization, which otherwise has a healthy operating fund balance.

MacDonald called for an improvement in overall communications and stressed the need for better “teamwork” within the organization. He also agreed that the organization needs to be prepared to adapt to the changing needs of events that formally were satisfied with a traditional Highland games format, but now may be increasingly interested in different approaches. The example of the Montreal Highland Games, which last year decided not to hold traditional competitions run by the PPBSO, instead opting to redirect funds to pipe bands that were contracted to stage mini-concerts throughout the day.

A report from Music Committee Chair Andrew Hayes was read, which outlined the group’s fledgling teaching initiative, its unanimous support of consultative band judging, its ongoing formalization of bass and tenor drumming adjudication, the revamped Champion Supreme system and other accomplishments in 2010.

It is not known when a special general meeting will be scheduled to complete unfinished business, including voting on the remaining 14 branch motions, election of the Executive Committee’s Vice-President and Secretary, appointment of internal auditors, appointment of accountants and other general business.

Earlier in the proceedings, MacDonald stated that Barb MacRae would step down as PPBSO Secretary, ending more than a decade in the role, for which she received warm applause from those in attendance.


  1. Dunno. People should probably think of assn/society/club AGMs as an opportunity to make their perception of a positive mark and have their voice heard (i.e. make the magic) versus attending for some kind of passive look-in at a brilliant show of fireworks.

  2. Every year the AGM is attended by a small minority of individuals that are trying to push through their desired change for that year. Everyone member was notified what motions were put forward and the poeple have spoken loud and clear that these motions are obviously not important enough for the vast majority to come out and support.

  3. It’s too bad that more people couldn’t turn out for the AGM. Seems to me that 30 isn’t really that high of a number, and there’re lots of exciting things going on up there in Ontario! If I was a member of PPBSO I’d surely have made it, if for no other reason than to have an active role in the association that dictates the art/hobby/life that I live. And really LugNuts” and “masonsapron”? You really think that people don’t turn out because of the agenda? That seems like a very cynical stance to have. And why are those highlights good enough for you? Do you have something against having competent judges? Are you OK with a contest not paying the PPBSO? “



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