February 04, 2022

ANAPBA Summit discusses grading, RSPBA compliance issues

The 2022 Summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) was a relatively brief affair, held online on January 29th due to ongoing travel challenges and safety protocols due to the pandemic.

The collective of the continent’s nine major piping and drumming associations discussed primarily matters of grading consistencies, as well as adhering to agreements made with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The agreement made with the RSPBA in 2015 to provide the UK organization with not only rosters of bands competing in RSPBA contests, but player profiles was discussed. The agreement had not been well publicized, if at all, by ANAPBA or member associations, but had apparently been put into practice.

The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Grade 4 Hamilton Police Pipe Band was reportedly upgraded when it entered the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships because of the perception that members with high-grade experience raised the grade-level of the band. The band subsequently withdrew from the event.

“The RSPBA Supplemental Roster process” was covered to ensure that new ANAPBA representatives were well informed about the process.

‘In the RSPBA grading process, the competition background of each player in the band plays an important part.’

According to a summary of the Music Committee meeting provided by ANAPBA chair Jeff Mann:

“The original intent was that ANAPBA would make sure that the RSPBA received only ‘clean’ rosters that were identical to the roster filed and validated by the home association. However, the RSPBA was only interested in the roster of the players who would compete in the RSPBA contest. Within the RSPBA grading process, that was ‘the roster.’ The RSPBA does not want to get involved in questions about whether the RSPBA roster was in compliance with local rules and leave it to the local association to deal with situations in which local roster requirements may not have been satisfied.

“In the RSPBA grading process, the competition background of each player in the band plays an important part. For example, if three players transfer into a band from a higher-grade band, that automatically triggers a grading review (although not necessarily a change of grade). For RSPBA member bands, the information concerning prior band membership is already on file. The ANAPBA roster was designed to provide that same information on overseas band to the RSPBA Grading Committee. The RSPBA roster would be simultaneously filed with the home association so the home association would have some background if the RSPBA contacted the home association with follow-up questions (and not with the intent that the home association would ‘validate’ the roster). Finally, the roster form includes important RSPBA deadlines and roster rules so that an overseas band would know these important facts. Since the ANAPBA roster process has been in place, the RSPBA has taken advantage of the process and asked for additional information on a number of bands before they made the final grading decision.”

The group will apparently meet with new RSPBA Music Board Chair Malcolm Brown-Scott in a few weeks to “allow Malcolm and the Music Chairs to get to know each other. This type of personal contact should be useful later if grading issues arise.”

Also discussed at the meeting was the difficulty presented to non-UK bands in finding information on competing at RSPBA events. It was agreed that the RSPBA would be asked provide information on deadlines for the filing and amendment of rosters, entry deadlines, an explanation as to why non-UK bands are required to join the RSPBA, the membership fee and “any rules applicable on the day of a contest that might not be obvious to an overseas band (e.g., the requirement that the pipe major carry a copy of the band roster to the line).”

More regional issues of grading both bands and solo players, and the need to encourage judges to complete assessment sheets, was discussed. There was an agreement to share grade-level assessments confidentially between associations.

The long-discussed idea of a rotating ANAPBA Championship was resurrected.

Apparently, there’s a problem with pipers and drummers not happy with their grading with one association then applying for a grading from another: “The ANAPBA associations are committed to respecting geographic boundaries. The discussion centered on how to identify these players. In the past, with paper registration forms, the registrars did a good job of catching this type of behavior. With the increased use of online registration, there may be more of a concern. However, in all the member associations, any player will eventually come before the Music Board if they either register as an ungraded player or register as a transfer from another association requesting an upgrade. The Music Board should be able to spot suspicious applications and prevent the problem. Some associations also intend to investigate whether their online process could be modified to automatically flag registrations for further review based on address.”

The presidents’ group reportedly resolved that the media will receive ANAPBA information only by proactively accessing the ANAPBA website. The resolution is apparently in response to pipes|drums publishing news stories on “leaked” topics of discussion for the meetings. At least one leader learned of the agenda items after reading the pipes|drums stories.

The long-discussed idea of a rotating ANAPBA Championship was resurrected, with the most successful bands from each association competing, but enthusiasm appeared to be lukewarm. Starting with only solo players, at the earliest in 2023, was floated.

It was agreed that summits and other ANAPBA meetings should probably continue at least partly online even after the pandemic.

ANAPBA is a collective of the nine RSPBA-recognized piping and drumming associations in North America:

  • Alberta Society of Pipers and Drummers
  • Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association
  • British Columbia Pipers’ Association
  • Eastern United States Pipe Band Association
  • Midwest Pipe Band Association
  • Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario
  • Prairie Pipe Band Association of Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association
  • Western United States Pipe Band Association

The summit meetings are held every two years, with each organization’s president and music board chair invited to attend, with separate presidents and music board meeting agendas.

Wayne Rempel, president of the Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association, and Michael Grey, president of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, were the only leaders who did not attend the online summit.



Anti-ringer process for ‘overseas’ bands at RSPBA contests to be discussed at ANAPBA meeting
January 21, 2022

ANAPBA 2022 Summit goes online
January 5, 2022





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