January 15, 2021

MWPBA makes decisions with safety in mind

While the Alma Highland Games organizers have already called off their hoped-for May 2021 event, the Midwest Pipe Band Association is optimistic there will be in-person pipe band events this year and are making things easier for bands if and when there’s a resumption.

MWPBA President Jim Sim said that competition playing requirements have been reduced to lighten the load on bands and competitions.

“Because the bands will not have the normal amount of time to prepare for the 2021 season, we are reducing the playing requirements for the entire 2021 season,” Sim said. “We will return to the normal requirements in 2022.”

MWPBA band playing requirements for 2021 would be:

  • Grade 2: one medley and one MSR
  • Grade 3: one MSR
  • Grade 4: one medley
  • Grade 5: one quickmarch medley (unchanged )

The association hopes that changes reduce the uncertainty, as bands would have a limited time to practice together in-person should the pandemic situation permit it.

“We hope this will allow the bands to better prepare quickly for the 2021 season. We wanted to get this information out as soon as we could,” Sim added.

Regarding the early cancellation of Alma, which typically hosts the United States Pipe Band Championships in the tiny college town in Michigan, Sim said: “This was unfortunate news indeed. I have contacted the games to discuss doing something that weekend on a much scaled-down basis. Hopefully, we might be able to do something by then, but we will have to see. I understand the games’ position as sponsorships and other contracts need to be signed. There is a lot of upfront money that goes into these things.”

He added that the Milwaukee Highland Games organizers will decide by March 1st whether to go ahead.

The MWPBA has proactively surveyed its members about safety concerns regarding a 2021 season and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Decisions will be made in regards to the survey very soon,” Sim added. “This season will most likely be like no other. I think we will all have to be a little flexible with things. My hope and desire are that players and bands will compete in some fashion and somewhere this year. However, this all must be done with safety and the players’ health in mind. We are trying our best to do the right thing.”

The MWPBA also has had to cancel the regional events for its May 1st “Day of Piping,” but they hoped to hold something in a different format, yet to be decided.



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