October 31, 2011

RSPBA upgrades EUSPBA-member New York Metro

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has upgraded the New York Metro Pipe Band two spots to Grade 2, after the band won the Grade 3B event at the 2011 World Pipe Band Championships. The band is a member of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.

The RSPBA made the announcement on October 5th, along with several bands that are RSPBA members and is the latest grading decision by the Scottish organization involving bands outside of their area that competed only a few times, or even just once, in Scotland.

The EUSPBA has yet to make its 2012 grading decisions, and association President Eric MacNeill said that recommendations won’t happen until early-December.

“I cannot say for certainty what will happen locally with New York Metro at this time,” MacNeill said. “However, this decision of the RSPBA will factor in some way, I’m sure. We’ll also be in contact with the New York Metro musical leadership about this. I think it’s obvious that this band is working hard and doing the right things to advance their group.”


While associations that are members of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) have pledged to reciprocally honour gradings of bands throughout the continent, the RSPBA has at times assigned bands to altogether different grades when they compete in their sanctioned events. The RSPBA downgraded the City of Washington Pipe Band to Grade 2 after the band played in the Grade 1 Qualifier at the 2010 World Championships, but the EUSPBA decided later that the band would remain in Grade 1 in their organization.

“I take absolutely no issue with the RSPBA’s grading practices,” MacNeill continued. “Bands that compete in the RSPBA are graded by the RSPBA for the purposes of RSPBA contests only. They have in no way mandated any grading to the EUSPBA. It is obvious to me that the RSPBA grading committee works hard to maintain a strong standard at each grade in their association, so I’m sure a band like New York Metro would feel honoured to have been graded to Grade 2 by the RSPBA committee.”

For the 2008 World’s the RSPBA reassigned the Oran Mor Pipe Band of Schenectady, New York, to Grade 2 after the band’s entry to Grade 1 was initially accepted. The band had been upgraded that year to Grade 1 by the EUSPBA.

At the 2005 summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations in Winnipeg, then RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly agreed on behalf of his organization that the RSPBA would not re-grade any North American bands. At the time he did reserve the RSPBA’s right not to allow bands to compete in a certain grade if his organization deemed that they did not meet or exceeded the playing standard of the grade.

The New York Metro regrading was part of the RSPBA’s overall reassignments, which included the move of Seven Towers and Ravara of Northern Ireland and the Grampian Police of Scotland to Grade 1. Other bands upgraded to Grade 2 by the RSPBA were Oban of Scotland and Manorcunningham of Ireland, which finished first and second respectively in Grade 3A at the World’s last year.


  1. They were always too good for 3B…pity should have been winning 3A easy kill and would have been competitive in GR 2 From a comp perspective – misplaced totaly

  2. It’s been said on another news item, but this band were always too good for 3B. Interesting they took a decision to come to Scotland and not play the weekend before the Worlds. Perhaps they feared being moved Grades prior to the Worlds, this has happened previously. I spoke to several RSPBA judges on Worlds week who all heard them around the Todd and all agreed they were outwith their grading of 3B – surely those guys would know. And I’m sure Kieran Mordaunt would know this too, given he was around them a lot, only natural I guess. Grade 2 is the correct for this band, they would have won Grade 3A as well I think, and that’s where they would have been playing had they entered North Berwick or Bridge of Allan the weekend before the Worlds.

  3. I find it so humorous that people are still talking negatively about this band. It’s really very sad. My instructor plays in this band so I do know some of the Facts. This band began in the states from scratch a little over a year ago with a bunch of folks from various Grade 3 bands in New York area and worked their tails off to be where they are today. The states have been criticized for years for not being up to the RSPBA’s standards for any given grade. Now a band comes in, does well and is criticized for it. The RSPBA put the band in 3B by the way, which I think was the correct move considering the bands very new status. The band was also beaten by a grade 3A band this year in the states. As for Berwick or Bridge of Allan… don’t forget that bands are traveling long distances and not everyone can do a two week trip. I wish the band the best of luck and appreciate the RSPBA’s commitment to keeping the level of play at such a high standard.

  4. God we have some really bitter people here. Well done to Mahoney and the NY Metro guys, the blood, sweat and tears put into this is paying off in spades. And for the grade 3b bands out there that are making all these negative bitter comments Maybe put in 50% of the hard work these guys have put in and you’ll getting upgraded too! And the band did nothing wrong, it followed due diligence and whilst this sometimes throws up debate, this is no reason to reinvent the wheel every time a rare exception to the rule comes along. As for not playing in Bridge of Allan or Berwick, shame on you NY Metro for not raising the addition $15k or so in a difficult economic climate to travel over 3 days earlier to satisfy some whinging scots!! And I mean come on, using the fact that you only get 2 weeks holiday leave a year in NY is no excuse for this, clearly you don’t need the break and should focus your entire 2 weeks of annual leave on a trip to sunny Scotland every year!!! Again well done NY Metro, looking forward to seeing you in the Todd for a guinness (your shout McSwiggan) Greg Lowe

  5. laugh away with the humour- but can’t see where the negativity is…only observations good luck to the guys I say.. just a miss in where they should have been placed grading wise

  6. G-Money, We really appreciate the love. Good points and love the shout out. Either way, I need to get over to Oz for a visit, you get a new job and head over to NY Metro, or meet halfway at the Todd. Be good and all the best to the boys back in Melbourne…. Swiggs



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