January 31, 2013

PPBSO suffers more Music Committee loss after Worrall’s exit

Bob Worrall is one of the latest members of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Music Committee to resign, according to him “the result of an ongoing lack of trust, support, appreciation and communication from the Board/Executive.”

Worrall follows the departure of the legendary piper Bill Livingstone, who left in frustration in 2012, and several other members who cited time constraints as the primary factor for leaving, including Scott Bell, the Pipe-Major of the Grade 2 Rob Roy Pipe Band, who acted as Chair for a year after serving with the committee for two years before leaving in the spring of 2012.

Highland Society of London Gold Medallist and Pipe-Major of the Grade 2 Ottawa Police Pipe Band, Andrew Hayes, also resigned as a member and chair two years ago due to frustration with the PPBSO’s administration under President Charlie MacDonald.

Worrall had served on the organization’s Music Committee since its inception in 1995, and had worked primarily to develop and administer the organization’s comprehensive judging accreditation system, a program now emulated or adapted around the world.

The PPBSO’s Music Committee is an appointed group of established competitors comprising as many as 13 members. The committee discusses and makes recommendations to the organization’s Board of Directors, an elected group of individuals who do not necessarily have to play the pipe or drum. The organization also has an Executive group, a standing committee established consisting of a President,  Vice-President, Secretary,  Treasurer and the  immediate past-president.

“Key tasks and initiatives that fall under the jurisdiction of the Music Committee have been undermined by the Board/Executive,” Worrall said in a lengthy statement to pipes|drums. “Some Board/Executive members appear to be driving a personal agenda which, in my opinion, is in direct conflict with what is best for the entire organization.”

“When we established the Music Board many years ago we had the good fortune to be supported by presidents and executives who trusted and empowered those serving on the Music Board. Very good things happened. Talented pipers and drummers wanted to serve. I can say without hesitation that with very few exceptions, the people who have served on the Music Board/Committee always put the Society’s goals first rather than drive a personal vested interest. We moved forward with formal adjudicator certification, new solo score sheets, adjudicator training, a much more thoughtful and detailed approach to grading, and numerous other initiatives.  

“I would hope that the resignation of such a large number of talented people over the last couple of years should send a message to our Executive/Board that something is desperately wrong with our society and result in some much needed soul-searching. I look forward to a return to a healthy dialogue between the Board and Music Committee so that, once again, the PPBSO can begin to move forward and serve the needs of all its members.”

Remaining with the organization’s Music Committee are Dan Bist, Reagan Jones, Patricia Kirkwood, Lynda MacKay, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, Doug MacRae, Ellen Mole, and Geoffrey Neigh (chair).

“It is my position that the PPBSO officers and the Music Committee Chair should be involved in the early planning of the next steps,” PPBSO President Duncan MacRae said in a brief statement after being invited to represent the PPBSO’s perspective. “Until such time, it is inappropriate to comment.”

MacRae was elected to a two-year term as president in 2011, when he ran against incumbent MacDonald.

Disclosure: Andrew Berthoff, the editor of pipes|drums, also recently resigned from the PPBSO’s Music Committee after serving the organization for 12 years, seven as chair.


  1. On behalf of the PPBSO, I would like to thank both Bob and Andrew for their years of service to our society. Their efforts, along with those of many other volunteers in the Music Committee and elsewhere, have contributed greatly to the excellent quality of piping and drumming that we currently enjoy in Ontario. The PPBSO is committed to working with all of its stakeholders, including pipers, drummers, bands, judges, stewards, games’ committees, and all the other countless volunteers to provide the very best piping and drumming environment in the world. Bill Allison – Vice-President, PPBSO

  2. That’s good of you, Bill. No doubt this is just one of the joys of being the vice-prez. I’d guess most (ok, me) really just want to hear some kind of meaningful response from the organization related to this very sad state of affairs. The AGM is a full spring and competitive summer season away.

  3. There has been a strange undertone going on within the PPBSO for a number of years now, which has reared it’s ugly head via the Music Committee previously from time to time and not always in a public manner. Politics and personal agendas tend to have a way of interfering with the original purpose and basic philosophies that led to the creation of the organization and it’s committees in the first place. I sincerely hope that the PPBSO and its members sort this out and get back on track with the original idea of promoting and advancing the art form instead of personal egos and agendas.



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