Published: February 28, 2007

Trailing drones feb 07

by Harry Tung

My sources tell me that the January 26-27 Alliance of North
American Pipe Band Associations
(or ANAPABAPABA) annual
summit went off in Las Vegas. Rather than do anything, they all
went out and shot the budget on a game of craps at Caesar’s. Um,
no, just kidding, but the august group did decide that it’s time to
make the summits only semi-annual. So the next one, if it happens,
will be January 2009 in Toronto. (On the agenda: should there be a
limit of 50 to pipe sections?) The 2007 summit was not so well
attended, but reps from New Zealand and Australia made a nice trip
of it to see what all the hubbub’s about in Vegas. Rumour has it
they attended the summit meetings, too! Ba-dum-bum.

Kudos to pipes|drums for getting a leaked copy of the
RSPBA‘s judging assignments for its 2007 majors.
Fascinating reading. I noticed that the oft-ballyhooed
“international judges” (i.e., ones who generally have more
experience and better background than 80 per cent of the RSPBA’s
existing panel, but who were forced to go through their seminars
and exams) got a grand total of one assignment at the 2007 World’s.
Why is this? Well, I have been told that the RSPBA has asked all
judges to make themselves available for at least five of their
contests. Now, I don’t know any judges who are retired and wealthy,
so that means, in effect, that non-UK judges can’t help that much,
since they have to pay their own way to the UK. What’s more, they
are demanding that all judges go through a training session on the
Wednesday before the World’s to remain eligible for their events.
And they thought that the 60 quid, pie and Bovril at each contest
were just too good to pass up.

And speaking of numbers, the rich keep getting richer and the poor
keep wanting to be richer when it comes to band sizes. The Scottish
Lion 78th
Fraser Highlanders
have said that they plan to compete with as many as 30 pipers in 2007. I count 37 on
the roster on the band’s site, including a few new members who’ve
jumped from the Toronto Police. Numbered in that group is
Sean McKeown, who held down the P-S spot at TPPB in 2006. I
understand that McKeown is shown how to waggle his fingers by the
78th Frasers’ P-M Bill Livingstone, so it follows.
Unconfirmed reports say that Livingstone is demanding to be called
“The Boss,” and that George Steinbrenner may come to do a
motivational speech at the band’s next practice.

Praise the Lord and what to my wondering eyes might appear but
platforms for the solo piping events at the North American
Championships
at Maxville. After almost 60 years of pipers
stumbling over knobbly grass, getting twigs caught in their laces
mid-piobaireachd, and fencing matches between low-hanging branches
and bass-drones, the most prestigious (in terms of competitors
anyway) solo piping events in North America will finally be held on
proper elevated boards. I also understand that there will be major
new MSR contest in honour of long-time Maxville organizational
stalwart, Connie Blaney. Cool.


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