November 30, 2002

RSPBA Judging Sub-Committee Allegedly Recommends Size Restrictions on Bands

The “Professional Society of Adjudicators,” a sub-committee within the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, held a meeting last weekend and, among other topics raised, the size of pipe bands was allegedly discussed.

The concern at the meeting apparently was primarily with the time it takes for judges to actually get around and properly assess larger bands. Pipe sections in Grade 1 have routinely swollen to as many as 22 in recent years, and bands generally feel that without at least 18 pipers on the field they cannot be seriously competitive.

Consequently, Grade 1 and 2 bands have been stockpiling as many players as possible, leaving, in some cases, eight or nine pipers – or enough to field a Grade 3 pipe section – on the sidelines. One Canadian Grade 1 band this winter reportedly has 32 pipers and 15 side drummers attending practices.

Attendees at the meeting discussed the fact that, should any limits be proposed on size at the RSPBA’s AGM in March, a motion could well go through, since it is in the interest of lower grade bands that could potentially reap the benefits of gaining talent top grade bands don’t fully use.

The PSA also reportedly decided to drop the name of the sub-committee, since it could be misconstrued potentially as an attempt to gain more power within the association.

The sub-committee is designed as a forum for adjudicators to present their concerns and recommendations.


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