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After separate general meetings, the Midlands and Glasgow & West of Scotland branches of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will take proposals to establish Best Bass-Section awards at every future RSPBA championship in every grade to the Association’s Music Board.
The proposal – “To introduce new Best Bass Section awards at RSPBA major championships.” – was passed unanimously at the Midlands Branch meeting in early December, and the Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch’s motion was carried at its December 6th meeting after a lively debate by a vote of 10 to five.
The proposals are in response to the Association’s decision in March 2008 to eliminate the Best Bass-Section prizes that had been awarded at the World, Cowal and British championships. Because there was never any rule that the awards had to be handed out, the RSPBA’s Music Board made the decision as a matter of policy, and it was subsequently approved by the National Council, the RSPBA’s official ruling body.
The proposed rules make no mention of “re-instating” the awards, and instead are positioned as creating a completely new rule. The proposals will be passed to the RSPBA’s Music Board for further discussion by, among others, newly appointed Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch Music Board representatives Don Bradford, Strathclyde Police Pipe-Major, and Alistair Graham of the Grade 3 Milngavie Pipe Band’s bass-section.
Arguments for officially creating the awards included the contention that bass-sections are currently the fastest growing part of pipe band membership, market demand and the idea that the awards are an incentive for bands to improve.
The RSPBA cited time constraints at prize-giving ceremonies as the primary reason for eliminating the prizes. Other arguments against Best Bass-Section awards include the assertion that they can encourage division within bands and detract from ensemble goals.
An online petition to re-instate the Best Bass-Section awards was presented to the RSPBA, but the appeal was subsequently rejected by the Association’s National Council.