RSPBA taps bands for input on World’s format
In a letter to Grade 1 bands, the RSPBA requests responses on proposed rule changes that could see a different format for the Grade 1 Medley event. The thinking, the letter infers, is in response to the BBC’s request to alter the contest’s format because the television network, which made a program on the 2006 World’s, finds it lacking. The BBC will reportedly produce a similar program on the 2007 World’s.
Potential changes to rules include the elimination of mandatory introductory three-pace rolls, getting rid of the requirement to march in to formation, and bands would be allowed to compete in any format they like, rather than the traditional circle.
The letter suggests that a majority vote will govern, and that bands not responding by March 9 will be counted as accepting the proposed changes, saying, “Failure to reply will be deemed a vote for change.”
“Every other country in the world with their own style of competitive band competitions has changed the set-up for competition and musical presentation,” said Jim Kilpatrick, leading-drummer of the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band. “The two best examples are Drum Corps International and the bagad competitions in Brittany. Both produce excellent musical presentations and are set up in a way that people from other bands and the public can watch and appreciate the event.”
“These changes would be great, but no structure, no judging guidelines, no consultation no thought, and all driven by the wrong rationale: the BBC wants it,” one Grade 1 band-member said. “This would be the same BBC which doesn’t pay a penny to the performers.”
The RSPBA experimented with “concert formation” competitions in the early-1980s when Robert Shepherd, then pipe-major of the Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band, was a proponent of the format. The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band introduced a “V” formation in 1980. The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario tried to test concert formation for Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands in 2001, but the experiment was shut down when competing bands expressed their dislike of the system.
Since 1992, after the aforementioned 78th Fraser Highlanders started its medley with a traditional Gaelic walking song, the RSPBA amended its rules to require that bands begin medleys with a “quick-march.”
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