March 12, 2020

Most events so far moving ahead in wake of COVID-19

Piping and drumming associations and organizations around the world are so far moving ahead with events and plans, but watching the COVID-19 situation closely.

The British Columbia Pipers Association has informed its members that they still plan to hold the organization’s Annual Gathering on April 10-11 in Vancouver. The event is the largest run by the BCPA each year, and regularly attracts more than 200 pipers and drummers and a sizeable audience.

BCPA President Robert MacNeil’s message to members included reminders from health authorities on how to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus

“Based on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s risk-based guidance, BCPA has identified a number of actions that the Annual Gathering organizing committee will implement as well as actions that we will ask solo and band competitors, spectators, parents, adjudicators, stewards and officials to implement to protect the health of all who participate in the Annual Gathering,” he stated in the message, adding that “we will announce these actions in frequent communications shortly and over the coming weeks. We request your cooperation in staying informed and in implementing the actions.”

He promised to maintain a steady a flow of communications to BCPA members.

Similarly, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Toronto Branch so plans to hold its annual Toronto Indoor Games on April 11th. Branch leader Ellen Mole said, “At this point the Indoor Games are still on, but obviously we’ll be keeping a close eye on developments with COVID-19.”

The National Piping Centre in Glasgow issued a statement saying that its operations continue, saying, “Currently we at the the NPC are taking our responsibilities to students and visitors very seriously, trying to ensure the least amount of disruption to staff, studies and visits here whilst putting health and safety first. The National Piping Centre is currently operating as usual, with lessons still as planned and shop, restaurant and hotel open for business. We are keenly monitoring Government Guidelines on this.”

The NPC also included reminders about best practices to avoid acquiring and/or spread of the virus.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s annual general meeting is scheduled for March 14th in Glasgow. Chief Executive Ian Embelton did not respond to an inquiry from pipes|drums about the association’s plans to hold the meeting or other RSPBA events in the future.

Neither the PPBSO nor the RSPBA are known to have issued a statement to their members so far.

MacNeil’s message to BCPA members concluded, “To solo competitors and bands: piping and drumming are hobbies that we all want to continue to enjoy. Please inform yourselves and your band members of the appropriate preventive measures you can take in this current environment so that the larger piping and drumming community, that we are all a part of, will continue to prosper. We look forward to our continued communications with you as we navigate this issue together.”

While the National Piping Centre plans for business as usual, the Piobaireachd Society cancelled its annual conference to be held at that location on March 21st.

Expressing his personal frustration, in a message to members the Piobaireachd Society’s president said, “The government’s travel advice and the increasing threat from the COVID-19 virus meant that we really had no choice. I will be in touch re future arrangements once we have agreed a way forward. Annoying but can’t be helped.”

The New Zealand Pipe Band Championships is going ahead March 13-14 in Invercargill. Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association president Iain Blakeley confirmed to pipes|drums that everything is a go.



Virus advice to pipers and drummers: keep to your instrument
March 10, 2020





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