School of Hard Knox: a missing entry, a 17,000 km trip, and a $240,000 investment
If you were an Australian band of teenaged boys that spent almost a quarter-million-dollars on a trip to compete at a major RSPBA championship, only to find out a month before the date of the competition that your posted paper entry was not received by the association, and then to be told that no exception could be allowed, it would be understandable that your band might never want to return.
But despite what was certainly one of the biggest disappointments in pipe band history, the Novice Juvenile Knox Grammar School Pipe Band of Sydney, Australia, is already planning to get back to Scotland in 2016, when it will have again raised enough to make the journey.
It’s no coincidence that the school’s Latin motto is “Virile Agitur,” or, in English, “Act like a man.”
Despite weeks of pleading and looking for a solution in the way of an exception due to overwhelming evidence, the Knox Grammar School band was denied the right to compete at the June 29th European Pipe Band Championships at Forres, Scotland, by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
After numerous emails and phone calls and even a signed affidavit presented two weeks before the event, the boys’ band that had been saving some $240,000 for the UK trip that revolved around competing at the European Championship were given no quarter.
A June 2nd email message from RSPBA Executive Office Ian Embelton, obtained by pipes|drums, relayed the decision derived by the association’s board of directors:
“The Executive Committee of our Board of Directors have considered your request to compete in the European Championships and I write to inform you of their decision. The RSPBA has clear rules relating to entries for our Major Championships. These rules ensure equality and fairness for all competing bands and have had to be implemented in previous years. As a result, The RSPBA is unable to allow Knox Grammar School, Australia to participate in the European Championships 2013. In recent years, there have been similar situations that have been dealt with in the same manner. On those occasions, although bands were bitterly disappointed, they acceded to our decision and agreed that it was right and proper.”
According to sources, after the band received no confirmation from the RSPBA, which still requires bands to submit paper entries by snail-mail, the band inquired in May to the association only to find nothing had been recorded. Knox Grammar School . . .