Published: November 07, 2015

PPBSO brings in new prez; Freestyle toast; transfer period in

After the RSPBA and Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario in the world’s third-largest piping and drumming organization with approximately individual 1,200 members, and its 2015 annual general meeting saw about 30 turn up in-person, and about 80 proxy votes sent in to decide various roles, rules and policies at the Best Western motel in Brantford, Ontario.

Leading the developments were election of officers, and Chris Buchanan was acclaimed president, being the only one to stand. Two-term incumbent Duncan MacRae did not accept a nomination from the floor, so Buchanan, a piper who was vice-president of the organization for the last year, will serve a two-year term.

The gathering at the 2015 PPBSO AGM in Brantford, Ontario.

With the vacancy left in the vice-president position, former president Charlie MacDonald was elected to the role to finish the current term, defeating Matt Kiegelmann, pipe-major of the Grade 4 Barrie Pipe & Drums, in a vote. Incumbent treasurer John Allen was reappointed to the role, also by acclimation.

Kiegelmann and Eric Froats, a drummer, were appointed by acclimation to the two open Member at Large positions with the organization.

Only two motions put forward by branches were passed. The solo piping Professional Freestyle event was soundly eliminated by a unanimous vote. PPBSO Music Committee Chair Peter Aumonier had reported that a survey of solo Professional solo pipers earlier in the year showed that the Freestyle event was “almost 100%” disliked. The organization will bring back either a Jig or Hornpipe & Jig event at all contests.

The original intention of the Freestyle event was to encourage competitors to be creative, allowing them to play essentially whatever they wished in a two-to-four-minute timeframe.

Also passed at the meeting was a motion that will determine a minimum period of time for a member of a band to transfer to another: “A player registered with one band may transfer to another band within the period of registration. All transfers must be declared to the administrator in writing at least XX days prior to the first contest in which that player will compete with the gaining band.” The organization will determine the actual length of time, likely in sync with the RSPBA’s likely move to 21 days from its current 14. The PPBSO has not had a defined transfer window before.

In his report, MacRae said that the RSPBA will be implementing a new roster-checking system likely based on the PPBSO model as the former organization continues its crackdown on players “parachuting in” for big contests, primarily the World Championships. The RSPBA, he said, will work with associations around the world in an attempt to verify that players on competing bands’ rosters are within the rules.

MacRae also reported that the PPBSO has decided that gaining official status as a charity was determined “At this time not in the best interests of the society.” The investigation on whether to become charitable has been on table for at least 15 years.

He said that there was a “critical shortage of judges” in 2015, so the organization will appoint a “Chief Certification Examiner” from the existing pool of judges who will help to maintains certifications, reports to the PPBSO Music Committee on judging needs and oversee processes.

In Aumonier’s report he also discussed the shortage of available judges and that the group will review the existing eligibility requirements and certification process for new PPBSO adjudicators.

Aumonier added that he will step down as chair of the Music Committee.

The two-and-a-half-hour meeting concluded with a solid round of applause for out going President Duncan MacRae.

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