Anti-ringer process for ‘overseas’ bands at RSPBA contests to be discussed at ANAPBA meeting
In addition to matters such as North American associations clarifying the process of registering and obtaining a grading from an association outside their home area, judging reciprocity between organizations, and a discussion on “problems with Grade 1 & Grade 2 players playing in Grade 4 & 5 bands,” the upcoming Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA) will be resurrecting an agreement it made to provide the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association with roster details of North American bands planning to compete in the UK.
At the 2015 ANAPBA summit, it was agreed that not only would a list of band members be provided, but also details of each member’s competing experience. North American associations then worked with their member bands to complete detailed roster forms to submit to the RSPBA for review before the band would be approved to compete in the grade for which they submitted their entry.
The agreement was reportedly intended to cooperate with the UK association to prevent bands from competing in a grade with members with experience beyond the band’s grade-level – ringers, essentially – on a one-time trip to Scotland.
“The plan was to provide the RSPBA with the information about player experience that they would need to make a grading decision, verify the accuracy of the rosters at the local level, and provide a point of contact if the RSPBA had any questions or concerns. We hoped the new roster [system] would improve communications and avoid some of the grading disasters from the past,” an ANAPBA message to Music Board representatives read.
There has reportedly been only one instance of a North American band being regraded by the RSPBA since 2015.
Presumably, “grading disasters” was in reference to confusion over the Grade 2 Stuart Highlanders of Massachusetts being told in May after they entered the 2014 World Championships that they exceeded the RSPBA’s Grade 2 standard and would have to compete in Grade 1. The band subsequently scrambled to pull together an additional medley and competed at the World’s in the top grade. It was upgraded to Grade 1 by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association in the fall of 2014.
There has reportedly been only one instance of a North American band being regraded by the RSPBA since 2015, the Hamilton Police of Hamilton, Ontario, entering Grade 4 at the 2019 World Championships, but then told that they would have to compete in Grade 3 after their roster and player profiles were reviewed. According to sources, the band then elected not to go to the event at all, even after some of the better players left the group.
The resurrection of the roster review process, according to ANAPBA chair Jeff Mann is because the RSPBA’s new Music Board chair, Malcolm Brown-Scott, is unfamiliar with it.
“[The process] was certainly in place and worked well for five years while Bruce Cargill was Convener for the Grading Committee,” Mann said. “As several of the Music Board chairs here in North America are also new since 2019, the agenda item contemplates a re-start of the process by familiarizing the ANAPBA members with where we were and seeing if anyone has any suggested changes.”
The ANAPBA Summit will also apparently include a discussion on the types of information member associations would like have available on the RSPBA website for North American bands to make the process of competing in the UK clearer.
The 2022 ANAPBA Summit will be held online January 28-29. There are nine associations in ANAPBA. The president and music committee/board head of each organization attends the summits:
- Alberta Society of Pipers and Drummers – President Jacquie Troy, Music Board Chair Cam Keating
- Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association – President Dan Knee, Music Board Chair Roderick MacLean
- British Columbia Pipers’ Association – President Graham Davidson, Music Board Chair René Cusson
- Eastern United States Pipe Band Association – President Jim Dillahey, Music Board Chair Nick Hudson
- Midwest Pipe Band Association – President Jim Sim, Music Board Chair Tom Weithers
- Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario – President Michael Grey, Music Committee Chair Jim McGillivray
- Prairie Pipe Band Association of Manitoba – President Gale Walker, Music Board Chair Liam Speirs
- Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association – President Wayne Rempel, Music Board Chair Iain MacDonald
- Western United States Pipe Band Association – President Jeff Mann, Music Board Chair Ken Sutherland
ANAPBA 2022 Summit goes online
January 5, 2022