Published: December 31, 2003

(Updated) EUSPBA pulls out of ANAPBA Summit

The Eastern United States Pipe Band Association (EUSPBA) will not send a representative to the annual summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA), scheduled to be held in Vancouver, January 9-11, 2004.

According to a document from EUSPBA president Al McMullin, his association has decided not to attend the meeting because of “the role of ANAPBA . . . and where the EUSPBA thinks it is currently headed.”

The EUSPBA is concerned with ANAPBA’s apparent attempts at interfere with the association’s affairs. McMullin’s letter continues: “The EUSPBA’s Executive Committee recently received a letter from the chair of ANAPBA criticizing the association and me personally for not informing ANAPBA about its internal decisions. I, for one, never thought any association had an obligation to let ANAPBA know its business. Even with that, on one particular controversial issue, I did in fact inform ANAPBA presidents of pending action and received no negative responses or objections. The bigger question is how did ANAPBA get to the point where anyone felt they had the authority to address a member association’s executive committee?” (All italics included in original letter.)

The issue McMullin refers to is the EUSPBA’s creation of two new branches in October 2003, apparently encroaching on perceived boundaries of the Midwest Pipe Band Assocation.

The current ANAPBA chairman is Rob MacNeil, president of the British Columbia Pipers Association. Chairman for the year is the president of the organization that will host the Summit.

“I regret to inform you the EUSPBA has voted to not send representatives to ANAPBA 5 in Vancouver. Let me be very clear about this. We are not boycotting ANAPBA. We are not withdrawing from ANAPBA. The EUSPBA will continue to remain an interested party in the affairs of ANAPBA and will continue to support the concept of sharing information / ideas. On the other hand, the EUSPBA feels very strongly that the future direction of ANAPBA must be established once and for all. We feel this cannot be achieved at this point in time with a restrictive, binding set of by-laws. Instead, we offer the suggestion that a ‘policy manual’ be formulated.”

McMullin went on to state that, if proxy voting is in fact allowed at the meeting, then the EUSPBA directs Bob Allen, president of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and/or Jeff Mann, ANAPBA founder, to act for his organization.

“The EUSPBA’s reasons are not centered around any judges program or any single issue for that matter,” McMullin commented separately to Piper & Drummer Online. “I have been working with Bob Allen and Jeff Mann and am very optimistic about the ultimate future of ANAPBA.”

Rob MacNeil said, “It is unfortunate that the EUSPBA Executive Committee has decided not to attend and contribute to the upcoming ANAPBA Summit. The EUSPBA has always been such an integral part of this alliance and this will certainly have an impact. Nonetheless, we have a lot of important issues to address and there are some really exciting prospects for the development of piping and drumming. Stay tuned for details as we approach the Summit and events unfold.”

“This is a strong statement by the EUSPBA,” said one insider speaking on condition of anonymity. “Depending on what happens at the January Summit, the Alliance will either continue to crumble or start patching up the cracks. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen. I do know that without the EUSPBA’s support and involvement, there can be no true North American alliance.”

“I have no comment at this time,” said Drew Hoinacki, president of the Midwest Pipe Band Association.

Iain MacDonald, vice president of the Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association, an ANAPBA member, said, “There is a general sense that ANAPBA is at a crossroads, and this is reflected in a wavering commitment to the summits. Last year, the Atlantic Association didn’t send reps, and this year the Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association Board had a lengthy discussion about whether or not to send reps, and in the end decided that they ‘might as well’ given that it was so close, and less expensive than any previous summit.”

While ANAPBA has been praised by the majority, the Alliance been criticized by others.

“One concern is that some of the ‘frequent flyers’ to ANAPBA are there just for the gig, and that the benefits of the summits are on a sliding scale of diminishing returns,” said an insider asking to remain anonymous. “Yep, sharing and communication are good, but how often and at what expense to associations? As it is, ANAPBA is paying for a Secretary/Treasurer with no other pipe band or association affiliations, and has an incoming Chair who has not attended Board meetings for his home association since last April.”

The EUSPBA is North America’s largest pipe band association in terms of members. ANAPBA was started in 1998, and comprises the ten pipe band associations in North America.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association is apparently sending a representative to the January ANAPBA Vancouver Summit.

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