UPDATED: Triumph Street awaiting grading recommendation
It’s nearly December and the Triumph Street Pipe Band of Vancouver is still awaiting word from the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) about whether it will be officially upgraded to Grade 1 after a successful 2007 season.
While the BCPA’s grading committee addressed the status of its solo competitors in October, it decided not to make a recommendation on Triumph Street due to committee members feeling conflicted because of current involvement with rival bands. Four of the grading committee’s seven members allegedly abstained from voting, thus not enough votes could be cast to make a change.
“We would embrace the challenge to play in Grade 1,” said David Hilder, Triumph Street Pipe-Major, also a Director with the BCPA, as is the band’s Leading-Drummer, Andre Tessier.
A spokesperson for the BCPA had indicated in October that the organization was addressing the matter and anticipated that the issue would be resolved, but Hilder confirmed that he had not been informed of a decision. The BCPA will reportedly have a regularly scheduled directors’ meeting on December 1st to address the matter, among other issues.
Meanwhile, BCPA President Ed McIlwaine says Triumph Street – and all bands – should apply to change grades if that’s what they desire.
“Last October, the BCPA Grading Committee made a recommendation to not mandatorily re-grade any band but indicated that any band wanting to be assigned to a new grade should make an appeal,” McIlwaine said. “This recommendation was approved by the BCPA Board and was published on our website in early October. Therefore TSPB was not promoted and is currently a Grade 2 pipe band with the BCPA.
“The BCPA is in the process of implementing improvements to our band grading system by way of creating a separate expert committee for making recommendations regarding bands. However, any appeal regarding band gradings would, at this point, go directly to the BCPA Board and we would deal with any such appeal accordingly. No such appeal has been made through any channel.
“It is probable that the new band grading committee will be asked to reassess BCPA pipe bands from the 2007 season. In the meantime, any band wishing an immediate reassessment should make a request to the BCPA Board,” McIlwhaine concluded.
Triumph Street won the Grade 2 event at the North American Pipe Band Championships at Maxville, Ontario, in August, taking six of a possible eight first-place rankings from judges.
The band enjoyed a windfall of players in fall 2006 after a tumultuous split from the Simon Fraser University organization in which the members competed with the Robert Malcolm II Pipe Band, which won the Grade 2 competition at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships and was subsequently upgraded to Grade 1 by the RSPBA.
The SFU organization then requested that RMMII remain in Grade 2, citing the elevation of several key players to the Grade 1 band. SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee provided his summary of the extraordinary events in a pipes|drums exclusive.
RMMII then dissolved, but the Maple Ridge Pipe Band was put in place to serve as the SFU organization’s Grade 2 feeder-band.
The move to Grade 1, of all of the grades, is considered by most experienced pipe band people as the most difficult to make successfully. Over the years there have been numerous instances of bands upgraded to Grade 1 that either dissolved or were relegated to Grade 2 within a year or so of the move.
Should Triumph Street be promoted to Grade 1, it would be the ninth Canadian band in the premier grade. There are nine Scottish Grade 1 bands.
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