February 28, 2005

RSPBA to implement new format for lower grades

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Music Board has developed a new competition format for its Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile competitions at championships whereby bands will perform tunes “pre-described” by the association. The new format, approved by the association’s National Council governing body, is slated to be introduced in 2006.

According to an RSPBA news release, “The overall vision is to improve ‘pipe band’ performance in terms of musical balance, musical effect and playing standards,” and is linked with the RSPBA’s recently announced Academy of Pipe Band Musicianship.

The restructured events will comprise a “musical appreciation and presentation contests based on pre-described two-parted 2/4 marches,” a final of 12 to 15 Grade 4 bands with each band performing a selection of marches. According to the same release, the format for Novice Juvenile events will be ostensibly the same.

It is not clear whether the association plans to abandon its A and B sections of Grade 4.

Said one insider with the Irish Pipe Band Association, “The whole idea seems ludicrous as I understand it. Another case of the RSPBA attempting to change the goalposts. What is being proposed seems a little sketchy at present, but I just don’t see it making any sense and again it appears to be the RSPBA going ahead and tinkering with the World’s as if no overseas bands had any interest.”

At publication time, RSPBA officers had not responded to inquiries.


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