November 30, 2011

Updated: MacDonald and MacRae to square off for PPBSO presidency at 2011 AGM

The leadership of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario will be at stake at the organization’s 2011 annual general meeting on Saturday, December 3rd, in Campbellville, Ontario, and an absentee proxy system for voting will be implemented for the first time in the association’s 64-year history.

Incumbent President Charlie MacDonald if nominated will stand for a second two-year term, while former PPBSO Executive Duncan MacRae will accept a nomination and compete for the society’s top-spot.

After altering its bylaws and letters-patent, the organization will allow member votes to be cast by designated proxy, provided signed forms are in the hands of members attending in person.

After a 2010 annual general meeting that disintegrated midway through the proceedings due to a loss of a minimum 30 members attending to satisfy a required quorum, the organization reduced the quorum requirement to 20. Total association membership numbers more than 1,200 individuals.

MacDonald and MacRae each confirmed to pipes|drums that they plan to run if nominated. MacRae most recently held the position of Executive Vice-President of the PPBSO, but resigned in the middle of 2011 citing differences with MacDonald’s leadership style.

Two PPBSO Music Committee Chairs, Andrew Hayes and Doug MacRae, have also resigned in the last year, each expressing concern with MacDonald’s leadership as the reason for leaving the post. PPBSO Executive Treasurer John Allen resigned reportedly for the same reason in October of this year.

“There are a number of much needed PPBSO improvements that have been identified and some are underway,” MacDonald said when asked to elaborate on his plans for the organization if re-elected. “Because I would like to see these implemented, and because of new ideas that will be sure to be offered by new directors coming onto the board, I would stand if nominated.”

MacDonald later added that, if re-elected, he would strive to “foster   a spirit of goodwill and teamwork through all levels of the PPBSO for its overall betterment; improve our use of Information Technology and web and internet communication tools; streamline our governance processes to achieve office efficiencies and transition to electronic records; renew and strengthen arrangements with our existing games while negotiating in good faith with existing non-sanctioned events to gain a foothold; [and] develop a strategic plan incorporating information provided from the ad hoc Highland Games Committee and other member input.”

Duncan MacRae, when asked to provide his platform and plans if elected, was more expansive, “I would be honoured to represent the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario as its  president.   I see the position as an administrative role that requires experienced leadership skills, integrity, respect, the ability to communicate, and the ability to identify issues and take a pro active position on them.   I have had experience in several administrative positions where I have been able to accomplish all of these goals, and would do the same for the PPBSO.”

MacRae said that if elected his priorities would be to “maximize the number of competitions for PPBSO membership; enhance communications between the Music Committee and the Board of Directors and the membership; improve communication with Highland games committees; update the PPBSO website with current rules, calendar of events, and regular memos from the Music Committee and Board of Directors; promote the art form of piping and drumming to both those within and outside of the PPBSO through workshops and other efforts; and encourage respect, camaraderie and a sense of pride in [the] society.”


MacRae added, “The PPBSO is going through some tough times.  I have some progressive ideas for which the first reiteration of the specifics should be discussed at the Board of Directors.  As President I will encourage everyone to help me move the society forward.  With my administration experience and hard work, I plan to earn everyone’s respect by example.”

Duncan MacRae has served with the PPBSO as an elected official for most of the last decade, including terms as Vice-President and Treasurer, and regularly assisted with stewarding and the compilation of results on the days of competitions. He is not a piper or a drummer.

MacDonald has worked with the PPBSO in various exceutive capacities for more than 35 years in every elected position on the groups Exceutive, as well as at branch levels. He was a piper for many years with the now-defunct pipe bands McNish Distillery and Toronto & District, and was Pipe-Major of the also disbanded Grade 3 Port Elgin and Downsview pipe bands.

Professionally, MacRae is an ear, nose and throat surgeon at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, where he is also Director of O.R. Resources and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. MacDonald works in the Ontario nuclear energy industry and travels frequently as a consultant to other regions and countries.


Unlike virtually every PPBSO AGM in the past that generally presented at least 20 motions from various branch AGMs, there is only one motion to be put forward at the 2011 meeting, from the organization’s Ottawa Branch requesting the society’s annual gala and AGM to be held in Ottawa in 2012, in conjunction with the branch’s sixtieth anniversary.

The PPBSO is planning a major review and consolidation of its rules in the next two months.

The annual general meeting will start at 1 pm at the Lions Meeting Hall, 42 Main Street, Campbellville, Ontario.


  1. Good luck to both candidates. Lets hope that moving forward that we don’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. The PPBSO should figure out how to engage and entertain the general public or we will be left enteraining ourselves. Perhaps we could nominate some people to get involved that have a marketing background instead of tunnel visioned musicians.?

  2. PipesDrums appears to be shading a little to one side of the political tight rope on this one. There is a fine line between what appears to be reporting and what appears to be supporting.



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