October 31, 2006

RSPBA finalizes re-gradings; upgrades non-member bands

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) has completed its grading adjustments for 2007, and the Grade 2 Champion of Champion, the Tayside Police Pipe Band, has been promoted officially to Grade 1.

Among the bands that the RSPBA has upgraded were the Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) Pipe Band, winners of the Grade 2 event at the World Pipe Band Championship, the Gaelic College Pipe Band of Nova Scotia, Glengarry (Gr. 4) from Canada, and Benoni High School of South Africa, even though the bands are not members of the RSPBA. RMM was upgraded by its home association, the British Columbia Pipers Association in September.

Then RSPBA had agreed after the 2004 Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) Summit that it would not re-grade non-RSPBA bands.

“It’s fair to do this [non-member-band] upgrading, but why don’t they just insist on every band playing at the World’s to be a member of the RSPBA?” said a prominent member of a North American association’s music board, who commented on condition on anonymity. “[The RSPBA lets] these non-member bands play, they say they don’t do grading of non-member bands, which is a very dangerous precedent to set. They want their cake and they want to eat it to.”

No Grade 1 bands were demoted, and only one band has been relegated: Inverclyde & District, moving from Grade 2 to Grade 3A.

The grading process had been delayed until the RSPBA’s National Council could ratify the recommendations made by the association’s Music Board grading sub-committee.

To Grade 1 from Grade 2

  • Robert Malcom Memorial II (Canada)
  • Tayside Police

    To Grade 2 from Grade 3A

  • Battlehill
  • Coalburn IOR
  • Denny & Dunipace
  • Gaelic College (Canada)

    To Grade 3A from Grade 3B

  • Aughintober
  • Beeston & District
  • Cottown
  • Dunoon Argyll
  • Gortaclare
  • GSPC Milngavie
  • Pitlochry & Blair Atholl
  • Royal Burgh of Annan
  • William Wood

    To Grade 3A from Grade 4A

  • University of Strathclyde

    To Grade 3B from Grade 4A

  • Benoni High School (South Africa)
  • City of Brechin
  • Drumlough
  • Kilsyth Thistle
  • Lanark & District
  • McNeilston
  • Raffery
  • Tweedvale

    To Grade 3B from Grade 4B

  • Newton Grange

    To Grade 4A from Grade 4B

  • Clydebank
  • Concord
  • Derry Clavin
  • Glengarry (Canada)
  • Grampian Corby
  • Killadeas
  • Kirkcaldy & District
  • Rasharkin
  • Saintfield
  • Troon Blackrock

    To Juvenile to Novice Juvenile

  • Kintyre Schools
  • Methil & District

    Bands should check with the RSPBA for official confirmation of their grading.


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    1. Several years ago, the RSPBA upgraded City of Washington from 2 to 1. This was done AFTER COW’s home association (EUSPBA) had already upgraded them. The EUSPBA sent the RSPBA a nice but firm letter thanking them for their action but advising them their action was not necessary since COW had already been upgraded. The EUSPBA never got a response… Until non-RSPBA associations let it be know that they should not be considered sub-entities of the RSPBA, things such as this will continue. Upgrading is not that big an issue but selection of judges at the World’s is a major issue. Once we were close to reaching a fair agreement but it seems that the momentum has been lost. What a shame…

    2. Good points. I think that the RSPBA has a right to govern its competitions and asign whatever judges it wants. If bands don’t think it’s fair, then they should not support the contest. But the RSPBA doesn’t have the right to grade bands that aren’t even members. Besides, maybe the Scottish Grade 4 standard is now poorer than what’s heard in North America and RSPBA bands might not make the grade in North America. Ever thought of that?



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