RSPBA Music Board rejects bass-section proposal
At a meeting of the RSPBA’s Music Board on January 17th, a proposal from the association’s Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch to consider the addition of Best Bass-Section awards at major championships was dismissed.
The request submitted asked that the matter be opened and offered to member bands for their consultation and potential voting at the organization’s AGM in March. The items was reportedly debated, and then dismissed without a vote from Music Board representatives.
Tom Brown is the convener of the RSPBA’s Music Board, and other members are said to be include Jim Campbell, David Clarke, Arthur Cook, John Hughes and James Wark. The organization does not list Music Board members on its website.
The request stemmed from reaction in 2008 to the association deciding to eliminate Best Bass-Section awards at the three major championships at which they were traditionally offered, including the World Pipe Band Championships. There was never an official RSPBA rule calling for Best Bass-Section prizes. The organization cited time constraints at prize-giving ceremonies as the reason the awards were removed.
Six-hundred-eighty-eight signatures were gathered in support of an online petition to reinstate the awards.
“From start to finish, the RSPBA has been determined to keep the door firmly closed on the voices of their members,” Strathclyde Police Pipe Band tenor-drummer Scott Currie said. “We’ve exhausted every reasonable method at our disposal to oppose the removal of the awards and re-invent them, but sadly met with brick walls at every attempt.”
Currie said that the online petition was thrown out earlier by the RSPBA National Council “without reason,” and added, “We requested debate with the RSPBA Music Board over devising and implementing a standardized, transparent and accountable set of adjudication criteria for the presentation of Best Bass Section awards without reply. We made a number of requests to the RSPBA for copies of minutes of meetings and were refused. Finally, we tabled a new proposal which the RSPBA Music Board neglected vote upon to put before an AGM to be decided by the membership.
“Even the harshest critics of the campaign [to reinstate the awards] can’t ignore the inefficiencies and lack of transparency and accountability highlighted within the machinery of the RSPBA,” Currie added. “A group of adjudicators can table a Music Board ratified status quo-altering motion containing a hidden agenda to an AGM, yet a transparent proposal made and backed by members is dismissed at Music Board level without vote. Where is the parity in that? I have strong hopes that Kevin Reilly’s ‘Vision’ redresses this type of representational imbalance and takes a good look at how issues affecting the membership such as this are handled in the future.”
The RSPBA is reportedly considering a formal adjudication process for assessing modern bass-sections in competition. The project is said to be led by the association’s Adjudicators Liaison Group.
Tyler Fry, a tenor drummer with the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band, said, “Politics aside, I remain optimistic that the members of the RSPBA Adjudicators Liaison Group – the committee behind the abolition of Best Bass Section Awards – have a coherent strategy in place with respect to how they intend to fairly adjudicate and assess the modern-day visual, rhythmic and harmonic contributions made by the bass section. Despite the absence of bass section prizes at all [RSPBA] championships . . . I am looking forward to seeing the objective and detailed critiques this summer and beyond.”
Inquiries by pipes|drums to members of the RSPBA Music Board and the organization’s Executive have so far not been answered. When a response is received, those comments will be added to the story.