Published: October 21, 2013

WUSPBA moves up bands to bolster Grade 2

The Western United States Pipe Band Association helped to rejuvenate a flagging Grade 2 category by moving up two bands, Prince Charles and Bushmill Irish Pipers, both from the San Francisco area.

The moves were made official at the association’s annual general meeting over the weekend, following assessment of data compiled over the year. After ever competition, WUSPBA judges rate band performances in relation to the overall standard of the grade, with an A, B or C mark, denoting above, at, or below grade-level.

At the end of the season the data is reviewed by the WUSPBA Music Board, and then passes recommendations to an executive committee for final recommendations.

The Prince Charles Pipe Band is one of the more established bands in the organization, and rose to Grade 1 status for a period before declining numbers necessitated a move to Grade 3 to work to restore numbers and quality.

Prince Charles travelled this year as a guest band at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, and finished the season by winning both Grade 3 competitions at the Pleasanton Games.

According to Pipe-Major Ken Sutherland, Prince Charles currently lists 16 pipers, eight snares, four tenors and a bass on its roster, and last two weeks ago confirmed that Eli Fugate has been made Leading-Drummer of the Grade 2 band and Drumming Instructor to the organization’s Grade 5 band. Fugate has been a member of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, Dowco-Triumph Street and the Los Angeles Scots. Fugate replaces Duncan McPherson, who left the band in September.

“Duncan has spent most of his life with the Prince Charles Pipe Band and most of the past eight years dedicated to providing quality instruction and putting out the best drum corps possible,” Sutherland said. “His work has laid a solid foundation for the Band to build upon, and the band wishes Duncan every success in his future endeavors.”

Also moved up by the WUSPBA was Kevin Blandford Memorial, which was elevated to Grade 3.

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