The RSPBA’s proactive upgrading of the Stuart Highlanders to Grade 1, while the band’s home association, the EUSPBA, will keep the band in Grade 2, will be put to an interesting test on Saturday, May 17th, at the Colonial Highland Gathering in Fair Hill, Maryland, when the band competes against the Grade 2 New York Metro, a band that finished third in the category at the 2013 World Championships, and Ottawa Police Services.
Making the event even more interesting is RSPBA senior adjudicator Joe Noble being flown in by the EUSPBA to judge at Fair Hill. Noble is scheduled to adjudicate the Grade 2 MSR and Medley events.
The RSPBA upgraded the Stuart Highlanders based on the band’s merger with the Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band, which suffered a membership decline in 2013, and the association reportedly had not heard the group recently. Ottawa Police also benefitted from a merger, when it combined with the Grade 2 Glengarry Pipe Band in 2011.
“As I said before, the Stuart Highlanders are still graded 2 in the EUSPBA,” president Eric MacNeill said, “and I know the two bands plan to compete again each other locally at several games throughout the year as both bands gear up to travel to Scotland in August. There is a history of EUSPBA grade 1 and 2 bands regularly playing against each other at local games in recent years to give everyone some competition.”
When asked if his band would indeed compete against a band designated Grade 1 by the RSPBA, New York Metro Pipe-Major Mike Mahoney said, “We will definitely . . .