March 31, 2001

RSPBA AGM a Relatively Quiet Affair

The seventieth Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association was held at Moir Halls in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 10 with a total of 81 pipe bands represented.

The event was, by all accounts, a straightforward meeting relative to the 2000 AGM in which the association had just lost its Executive Officer and National Council Chairman.

Ian Hamilton was introduced at the meeting as the new Executive Officer for the RSPBA, a post considered by many to be the most difficult job in the pipe band world.

Alistair Aitken OBE, Chairman of the Millennium Report Implementation Group gave a report that was accepted unanimously. It was also agreed that the MRIG would have the right to place items on the agenda for future General Meetings of the RSPBA. It was agreed at the meeting that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on October 13, 2001, to in motion the sweeping changes the Millennium Group’s report call for.

In 1999 the RSPBA was reportedly basically insolvent, with only £3000 in its bank account. It was revealed at the meeting that in two years the account has grown to over £90,000. The 2000 World Pipe Band Championships raised £19,500, Cowal £7,000, the British £8,000, Scottish £9,000, and European £11,000.

Despite the fact that nearly £20,000 was made from the World Championships, there was no discussion of raising prize money for bands from the few hundred pounds currently awarded to the Grade 1 World Champion.

There was no movement forward on the potential sale of the association’s headquarters at 45 Washington Street, on prime Glasgow real estate thought to be worth in excess of £300,000. The site is still to be appraised by developers.

Pilot scheme for World’s passed

A motion to adjust the format of the Grade 1 event at the World Pipe Band Championships was officially passed at the meeting, with little changed from what was tried in 2000. Basically, it states:

1. A system of qualification will be used to produce a final.
2. Six RSPBA bands will qualify for the final based on a league table of the accumulated results of the RSPBA major championships prior to the World’s in the same season.
3. Ties in the qualifying league will be decided on ensemble preference.
4. Overseas bands will qualify for Final by being placed in the first six in the year immediately previous.
5. Overseas bands will qualify for the Final if they are in the top six in a major RESPBA championship prior to the World’s in the same season.
6. A qualifying contest will be held in the morning of the Worlds from which six bands will qualify for the Final.
7. If a pre-qualified band is unable to compete at the World’s their place will go to an additional band qualifying from the morning.
8. There will be a random draw immediately when all the finalists are known. The Final will commence no earlier than one hour after the announcement of the draw. Bands will play the MSR first and when all finalists have completed then in the same order they will play their selection.

Also passed was a change to the decision system at minor contests. The existing points system will be abandoned in favour of the ranking system currently used in major championships, where lowest points win. Since smaller contests have only a piping and a drumming judge, points for the piping judge will be multiplied by two.

As predicted, George Ussher was nominated for Chairman of the National Council by the Northern Ireland Branch and was elected by proclamation. George Purves was nominated by the Lothian & Borders Branch and elected unchallenged for Vice Chairman.


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