Published: February 28, 2007

Preliminary judging allocations for RSPBA majors

pipes|drums has received from reliable sources the preliminary allocations for the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s 2007 major championships. The RSPBA has not yet confirmed whether the allocations are or will be final.

Click here to view the allocation spreadsheet in Adobe Acrobat pdf format.

The Grade 1 contests at the World Pipe Band Championships are the most closely watched events. Nine of the 12 World’s Grade 1 judges are from Scotland, two from Northern Ireland and one from Canada.

All four judges who adjudicated the 2006 Grade 1 Qualifier – Peter Snadden, Alan Ronaldson, Jim Baxter and Harry Russell – have been assigned to contests in the Grade 1 Final. Snadden and Ronaldson were the subjects of much discussion following the 2006 World’s after the two piping judges were as much as 10 places apart with the same band in the 12-band contest.

Of note also is only one set of judges for Grade 2, indicating that the event will not be run in heats.

Despite the RSPBA’s much discussed expansion in 2005 of its panel to include non-UK judges, only one person, Greg Dinsdale of Ontario from that group, has been assigned to any grade at the World Championships.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Why should the nationality of the judges make any difference? As far as I’m aware, there’s no evidence of bias due to nationality. People are calling for more international judges” but

  2. I don’t think nationality” is the core issue here. Consider for a moment that Scotland is smaller than the US State of South Carolina. You pack all those bands in such a small area. On top of that

  3. I agree with a couple of the writers with respect to some of the comments that have little or no reasoning or understanding of what it takes to operate a major championship. Personally I don’t like some of the non-constructive and callous remarks/suggestions made towards an association that works hard and strives to understand and fullfil the needs of everyone” not just the few who persevere and thrive on disruption. If this sort of discention was shown towards their employer or even their pipe major

  4. What are they thinking? The same old faces hauled out there again at the Worlds. I can not believe that some of them are even being allowed on the park on the day let alone judge after last years debacle. And Shepherd once again calling the, ahem, shots. Stuck in a rut. When will the insanity stop?

  5. You imply that poorly qualified judges have been appointed to judge at the Worlds and not enough non Scots are on the panels? My impression from a vast distance is that the RSPBA has made very good progress on both of these matters in recent years. From the outside, their judges training programme looks impressive. Likewise, they have made successful efforts to get overseas judges included in their programme. On the basis that the RSPBA run the World’s they need to ensure that OS judges are suitably qualified. Going through the RSPBA judges training programme requires quite a commitment of time and money, which means that it will take a long time to get a decent number of OS judges on RSPBA panels. IMHO this is an issue that does need attention – probably some sort of accreditation of judges training programmes in other associations is required. It’s good to keep them honest, but they should be given credit where is due.

  6. I’m told that the lack of overseas judges is due to the fact that very few returned their availability forms – which a surprisingly large number of Scottish / Irish judges also failed to do…

  7. If judging the Worlds was more pleasant and the bands felt better about the way it was run, more people would sign up. It seems a pretty grueling job. Having so few judges really puts the pressure on – one man can call the contest and often does. I like the idea of lots more judges and more events. Maybe add a concert type event at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall. It really comes down to market forces instead of bureaucratic forces- it needs to focus on a good time for all involved, most of all the audience, and should appear to be evolving. I would like to see an obvious effort by the RSPBA to promote piping and drumming, instead of spending so much energy perpetuating its own existence.

  8. I think the RSPBA should start judging the grade 1 bands in the v formation from now on. They should have a panel of international judges , one set to judge the medley event and another set to judge the msr event. I think the msr event should remain in the traditional format – march into the circle. Year after year they should alternate the judges for both events accordingly. With the rise in numbers of players in grade one bands it might make the v format contest a little easier for judges to judge the event . But this is one man’s point of view.. Cheers

  9. This is truly unfortunate news. However, I do not blame the RSPBA for the lack of foreigners judging the major contests. Not that many years ago, there was a serious and sincere movement on the part of the RSPBA (and Alistair Aitken in particular) to expand the pool of foreign judges without having to go through the RSPBA judging program. I am certainly no apologist for the RSPBA but this sad state of affairs is not their fault.

  10. Why not look at a two day event. The second day could be strictly for grade 2 & 1 bands? This would free up judges so there could be 4-5 piping judges, 2 side, 1 mid. section & 1 ens. (for example) It would also allow all the other grade band member to taken in the full grade 1 contest which could increase the size of the paying audience (no more empty seats for the gr.1 msr.) Maybe at the same time we could get rid of the pipes up/down thing. Take the risk and go for it!! Cheers,

  11. Of course the Worlds should be held over multiple days. The grade 1 qualifier should be held at least 1 day before the final. Why should top grade bands have to compete from 9 a.m. to qualify and then if they qualify compete in the afternoon against totally fresh pre qualified bands. A handicap system is supposed to make the competition more even — go figure!!

  12. Further on the multiple day event for the worlds, as J Simpson mentioned, the judging panels for each event should substantially be increased for G1 & G2 – how about system – highest and lowest judges score taken out of equation as is case in judged events at Olymics and others major world sporting events.

  13. Here’s a thought, is there any other world championship where you don’t have to achieve a certain standard prior to inclusion in the championship competition. Why not retrict the worlds to the true cream of i nternational piping? Only bands who have been placed in competitions under their own associations competitions coming to the worlds. Every year RSPBA boasts about the number of bands who have competed/entered – so what? Where’s the quality – both in playing and in the ability to judge so many performances. I appreciate this may not solve the Grade 1 issue of qualification for the final places but – would it free up some judges by having fewer performances in the lower grades. Lets make the Worlds a true elite competition through the grades.

  14. Looking back over the comments in this thread one would easily get the opinion that the World Championships is a poorly run event that nobody likes. Sorry but the general opinion states otherwise. Most people who compete at the Worlds seem to thoroughly enjoy their day out. My other point is that there are lots of suggestions here into how the Worlds could be run better. How many of these suggestions have been put to the RSPBA though? Is it being left to them to monitor discussion groups such as this to try and guess what people want?

  15. Duncan, Two good ideas. Firstly, make the competition a 2 day event. This would free up judges as you mentioned, give the bands more time to prepare, and allow the lower level bands to actually see the Grade I and II bands perform. Secondly, increase the judges in the pipe section and drum section by 2, and when scores are compiled, the top and bottom marks are thrown out. This would eliminate the radical scores and keep the judges mindful that if they do award a really wierd mark, it will be discarded. I am chairman of the Montreal Highland Games and I did suggestedd this method to the P.P.B.S.O. last fall, to give it a try at our Games (I would pick up the tab for the extra judges). They are currently considering it (I believe). Kirk

  16. Bands practice all year for one day at the Worlds, so they are going to make the best of it no matter how behind-the-times it stays. That shows that people are generally not inclined to criticise their own devotion to something. Afterall, if you admit that the Worlds is crap, you are critcising your own choice to hold it in such high regard each year. When the honeymoon wears off, people become more realistic. That must by why every year the same suggestions are made to the RSPBA: Add judges; Add events; Add a day or more to the event; Do something to make it seem like the the RSPBA actually listens to suggestions and is not just around to watch the clock. The Worlds is only the Worlds because of the attendance of the bands that day. I fear this will only sink-in once a better option comes along.

  17. If judging the Worlds was more pleasant and the bands felt better about the way it was run, more people would sign up. It seems a pretty grueling job. Having so few judges really puts the pressure on – one man can call the contest and often does. I like the idea of lots more judges and more events. Maybe add a concert type event at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall. It really comes down to market forces instead of bureaucratic forces- it needs to focus on a good time for all involved, most of all the audience, and should appear to be evolving. I would like to see an obvious effort by the RSPBA to promote piping and drumming, instead of spending so much energy perpetuating its own existence.

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