PPBSO votes to lengthen medleys; new “Freestyle” Professional Piping event

Published: November 30, 2008
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The annual general meeting of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario was attended by 63 people – or about three per cent of the organization’s approximately 1100 membership – at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 33 in Milton, Ontario. The meeting lasted three hours and saw lively and civilized debate over some 21 motions put forward previously at PPBSO branch AGMs.
Several motions for changes to competition structure were put forward. Grade 1 and Grade 2 medley maximum durations were extended by another minute, and minimum durations were kept the same, thus allowing bands from other jurisdictions to compete without worry.
A motion for a new “Freestyle” Professional Solo Piping event, where competitors can submit their own choice of tunes for a two-to-four-minute medley was carried. The event will at times take the place of the existing Jig event.
The 2008 PPBSO AGM
The membership voted to accept a new rule that will allow pipers and drummers to play in a higher-grade band as many as three times in a season with an aim to foster “player development.”
Defeated was a motion that would have Grade 1 bands play both a Medley and an MSR at events, with up to five minutes to tune in between the performances, while never leaving the competition area. However, it was agreed that the idea would be taken to the PPBSO’s Music Board for evaluation and potential trial-run at a select event or events.
The organization voted to expand competition circles to accommodate increasingly larger bands.
The membership voted to eliminate the RSPBA-style pipes-down, pipes-up, ready, etc. drill that had been in place for several years.
President Bob Allen opened the meeting with his report on the previous year, saying that the organization has implemented online membership and expects to have online entry to competitions available by the spring. Allen Apologized for errors during the 2008 season, highlighting a problem at the Montreal Highland Games, for which he personally took responsibility.
He also said that the organization is working to develop a full slate of policies and procedures, including those for what to do in the event of inclement weather. The PPBSO faced problems at both the North American Championships and the Fergus Highland Games when a lightning storm went through the vicinity, exposing members and participants to potential risk.
Allen went on to report that annual membership dues have been reduced by 27 per cent to $40 with an eye to helping members through the current world financial crisis. He said that the PPBSO’s bank balance is “robust,” so operating on a “bare-bones budget” and even running a deficit is affordable
He added that a revision of the PPBSO’s by-laws is under discussion at the board level, which may include the addition of a provision to allow proxy voting. “We should have voting by proxy,” he said. “It seems a shame that we have a membership of 1100 people and only six per cent turn-out.”

The PPBSO’s financial report showed a surplus of $5,092 in 2008, and an overall balance of some $31,776 in the organization’s bank account. Revenue of $101,447 was reported from Highland games in 2008.
Two executive positions were up for election, and Charlie MacDonald and Barbara MacRae were acclaimed as Vice-President and Treasurer, respectively
When it came to voting on branch motions, Allen determined that all motions would be addressed by individual members for consistency, citing that there are no band memberships, thus there should be no band votes. This was approved and all motions tabled were by voted on by individual members.
Motions tabled:
A-9 – Music Board: That the Executive prepare a Special Resolution to update By-Law 96-1 limiting the term of office of Music Board appointees to two consecutive three year terms.
AGM action: Motion withdrawn
B-1.1 – Amend to read: With exception of introductory Grade 5 Piping, Grade 5 Drumming and Practice Chanter. Please note that introductory is defined as the competitor’s first competitive season.
AGM action: Motion carried.
What it means: First-year solo competitors don’t have to pay membership dues in order to compete in solo events. Event fees do, however, need to be paid.
C-6.1 – Amend the professional light music requirements to read: For professional march, strathspey and reel, hornpipe and jig, and freestyle competitions, competitors shall submit four tunes of each type and shall play one tune of each type as chosen by the judge in any combination from the tunes submitted. For professional jig competitors, competitors shall play the tune chosen by the judge twice through. Freestyle competitors shall submit 2-4 minutes of free choice tune selection.
AGM action: Motion carried.
What it means: A new Professional Solo Piping event at some competitions.
New Rule – D-1 Membership and Band Rosters: Players in a lower-grade band are permitted to play up in a higher-grade band to a maximum of three times per season. Those lower grade players must be identified, prior to the commencement of the season as being on the higher grade band’s “player development” list band roster.
AGM action: Motion carried.
New Rule – D-6.8: If a person plays in the Instructor role for a band they must have consent to play from
the Pipe Major of the band in which they are playing, as well as the Pipe Major of the
band in which their name is registered.
AGM action: Motion defeated.

D-4.2 – New Rule: Bands may request a change in the order of play only 10 days prior to the contest or 7 days after the order of play is posted.
AGM action: Motion withdrawn.
D-6.3 – That the requirement for minimum numbers of players for Grade 2 bands be amended to delete “and two tenors”.
AGM action: Motion carried.
D-6.4 – Amend to include: “Grade 3 pipe bands may add a higher grade tenor drummer as their lead tenor drummer only, in addition to any other tenor drummers, providing that he/she Is registered as their tenor drumming instructor provided the band fields at least one other tenor drummer.”
AGM action: Motion carried.
D-6.5 – Amend to include: “Grade 4 pipe bands may add a higher grade tenor drummer as their lead tenor drummer only, in addition to any other tenor drummers, providing that he/she is registered as their tenor drumming instructor provided the band fields at least one other tenor drummer.”
AGM action: Motion carried
D-6.6 – Amend to include: “Grade 5 pipe bands may add a higher grade tenor drummer as their lead tenor only, in addition to any other tenor drummers’, providing that he/she is registered as their tenor drumming instructor provided the band fields at least one other tenor drummer.”
AGM action: Motion carried.
D-10.6 – That the rule requiring the performance to commence from the “at ease” position with “pipes down” to be deleted.
AGM action: Motion carried.
New Rule – D-10 Contest Performance
“Premier Show” All grade one pipe band competitions will see each band perform both set and medley, in that order, with draw at performance pieces at the start line. Bands will be provided the option to use a tuning interlude that will not be adjudicated and will not exceed 5 minutes or face disqualification. The same set of judges will be used for the entire “Premier Show” event. with overall prize list determined by a combination of the 8 sets of judges ranking (i.e. each section: MSR (2 piping, 1 drumming and 1 ensemble = 4) Medley (2 piping, 1 drumming and 1 ensemble = 4).
AGM action: Motion defeated. It was later agreed that such an event would be considered by the PPBSO’s Music Board for potential trial at select contest(s).
D-10.9 – Amend to read: “the band competition inner circle radius be changed from 14 feet to 16 feet. The next circle to be 6 feet larger radius. The outside circle radius is an additional 8 feet larger
radius”, where physically possible.
AGM action: Motion carried.
D-12.1 – Amend to include: “and two medleys of 5-8 minutes duration”
AGM action: Motion passed
What it means: Grade 1 medleys can now be up to eight minutes long.
D-12.2 – Amend to include: “and one medley of 4 to 7 minutes duration”
AGM action: Motion carried
What it means: Grade 2 medleys can now be up to seven minutes long.

D-12.4 – That the tune requirements for Grade 4 bands be amended to read:
Grade 4 bands shall submit 1 medley of tunes of 3 to 5 minutes duration and 1 set consisting of one four-parted march, one two-parted strathspey and one two-parted reel.
AGM action: Motion defeated
D-16.1 – That the ranking method be amended to read: Winning positions at all competitions shall be determined by the following ranking system.
(i) Each Judge’s preference will be ranked in order (1, 2, 3, 4 etc.)
(ii) The lowest total of all the ranking positions from piping, drumming and ensemble wins first place, second lowest wins second place, third lowest wins third place, and so on.
AGM action: Motion carried.
What it means: the PPBSO system changes from a 60% piping, 20% ensemble, 20% drumming system, to a 50% piping, 25% ensemble, 25% drumming system.
D-17.1 – Best Pipe Section: Motion to remove Award. The best Pipe Section in each grade or category shall be determined by the combined scoring of the Piping Judges and be announced.
AGM action: Motion defeated
D-22 – That the Executive request the Music Board to reconsider the present Champion Supreme point structure for bands and recommend a new arrangement for the 2009 season.
AGM action: Motion carried.
What it means: The PPBSO’s method for determining aggregate Champion Supreme awards will be reviewed and redeveloped.
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  1. AlMcMullin

    Thank you for the quick report! Even though the EUSPBA held its AGM two weeks prior to yours, I am still waiting to hear what happened. As for rule D-16, I am wondering if there was any discussion about the potential for more ties?

  2. Duke

    Since all band contests are judged on a ranking basis, I suggest that it would be progressive to alter the sheets to reflect just that and not create confusion by requesting marks out of 100 or whatever. Just rank them.

  3. Batman

    Al, you should have come to the meeting. It was in Atlanta this year. A report is being prepared, and will be puslished on the EUSPBA website in short order. Kudos to Andrew for getting the PPBSO report out so quickly. Looks like you guys have some interesting proposals in the works. So do we. It’s going to be a fun next few years over on this side of the Atlantic I think.

  4. Erin

    I think there is a correction to be made here. The membership voted to accept a new rule that will allow pipers and drummers to play in a higher-grade band as many as three times in a season with an aim to foster “player development”” I believe this was not accepted by the membership and the motion failed. “

  5. Bagpipermann

    It would be nice to see the PPBSO post an official list of the motions that were carried at the 2008 AGM on the PPBSO web site and/or this one.

  6. AndrewBerthoff

    Erin — that motion passed – narrowly, but it was carried. Bagpipermann — all of the motions, except those that were withdrawn are listed in the article (be sure to turn the pages), but the official” versions will of course be drawn up by the PPBSO executive.”

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