School of Hard Knox: a missing entry, a 17,000 km trip, and a $240,000 investment
in August 2012 for the remainder of that season after Kilpatrick was seen to criticize an RSPBSA judge on Facebook.
Knox Grammar managed to find a competition to compete in at the Co. Tyrone Championships at Omagh, Northern Ireland, an event run by the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA. The branch organizers treated the band as honoured guests, and accepted their late entry, which they are able to do for “minor” competitions. A special presentation was made to the band at the final march-past.
The RSPBA faced considerable controversy following the 2012 World Pipe Band Championships after it was discovered that the Grade 2 Bagad Brieg of Brittany exceeded the maximum six-minute medley time in Grade 2 by six seconds, and went through to the Grade 2 final, in which it placed third and won the drumming prize.
Some consider the stringent Knox Grammar School ruling as a cut-and-dried reaction due at least in part to the Bagad Brieg situation when the organization allegedly knowingly made a rule exemption, only to be caught out in numerous videos posted on YouTube.
Another RSPBA insider who also agreed to speak on condition that his name was not used, said, “In the case of Knox Grammar I am inclined to fall on the side of leniency primarily because its kids. Kids who have no control over the efficiency of the band admin. I also think that the trustees of the RSPBA have a duty to apply the rules, yes, but also to steer clear of bad PR and ensure the mood of the membership is taken into account. Unfortunately the directors have failed miserably on this occasion. Then to not allow the kids to play for critique sheets only beggars belief. Shameful PR on a global scale. Maybe a panel of top pipe-majors [could have] listened to the band and give critique sheets whilst they were in Scotland. The RSPBA missed an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one. It totally conflicts with the mission statement and aims of the RSPBA.”
pipes|drums reached out to RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton and Board of Directors Chair Gordon Hamill for the association’s perspective on the matter, but has received no response.