Published: August 16, 2020

Derek Midgley first non-UK-resident CPA president

Derek Midgley [Photo pipes|drums]
Derek Midgley of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, was affirmed as president of the Competing Pipers Association, becoming the first non-UK resident to head the 53-year-old organization. Midgely was the only candidate for the president role.

Midgley succeeds Glenn Brown, who stepped down at the organization’s August 16th annual general meeting, held via Zoom. Although born and raised in Ontario, Brown has lived in the UK for more than 10 years. New Zealand-born but Scotland-resident Murray Henderson also held the position for several years in the 1990s.

“COVID-19 and the new Zoom meeting normal have allowed this to be possible,” Midgley said. “We have a great team elected on the committee and I hope we can get through COVID together as a vibrant and healthy piping community.”

Brown completed his three-year term as president during a time when the CPA became more international in membership, instituted reforms for the Silver Medal piobaireachd competitions, and helped to weather the last five months of no in-person solo piping competitions with several online events.

“I’d like to thank the CPA members and committee for having me as president for the last three years,” Brown said. “It’s a tough job, but one that I tried to do my best at. We didn’t always get things quite right the last few years, but at least we tried some new ideas. I feel we made positive progress to build on, moving forward. So, we live and learn. I’d like to wish Derek all the best in this role as president. I’m sure he’ll do a great job and I’ll be here if he needs any tips or advice. I would like to thank Callum for being the vice-president whilst I was president and I’m sure he’ll carry on doing a great job in that role. Thanks also to Johnny Greenlees for his hours and service as the treasurer and to wish Steven Leask success in this new role for him. One last thank you to Ross Miller who has done a terrific job taking over as secretary from Helen Urquhart. This is no easy feat!”

The last three years have also seen the CPA take a more stringent position on its members not competing in front of their teachers. The UK’s Solo Piping Judges Association also put in place a code of conduct requiring teachers not to judge their pupils.

At the meeting, Steven Leask of Glasgow was elected treasurer, replacing Jonathan Greenlees who held the post for five year. Callum Beaumont and Ross Miller remain as vice-president and secretary, respectively.

The CPA was founded in 1977 by a small group of pipers fed up with overcrowded and largely unregulated entries in the Highland Society of London Gold Medal competitions at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, held in Scotland at Oban and Inverness, respectively. Until then, more than 60 pipers would compete in the events, running for more than 14 hours before exhausted judges listening to a wide range of playing quality.

The CPA immediately instituted the Silver Medals as quasi-qualifying events for the Gold Medals, and ushered in a grading system that is in use today.

The CPA schedules its AGM to coincide with the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting, so that more pipers can attend.

“Today’s AGM was done via Zoom meeting in which everyone could be in the comfort of their own homes,” Brown added. “In an association made up of around 250 members, it was rather disappointing to me that there were only 24 people who logged on. If members would like their voices heard, it would be nice for them to log on and take part.”

 


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