April 23, 2017

PPBSO judging panel develops at annual seminar

About 25 members of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s panel of judges gathered for the organization’s annual all-day professional development seminar, this year held in Campbeltown, Ontario.

Organized by the PPBSO’s Music Committee, and directed by double Gold Medallist John Cairns, the day focused on judging solo competitions, and included lively discussions and debate on various approaches to handling common, and occasionally difficult, situations.

With piping, snare drumming and mid-section adjudicators attending and breaking out into discussion groups, aspects on tone and tuning, technique and musicality kept the group enjoying constructive dialogue in which opinions were respectfully considered and discussed.

John Cairns leads discussion in one section of the 2017 PPBSO Judges Seminar as (L-R) adjudicators Dan Bist, Hugh Cameron, Jim McGillivray and Charlie MacDonald listen.

“The seminars provide a great opportunity for our adjudicators to come together and continue their lifelong professional development through collaboration with their peers,” PPBSO President Chris Buchanan said. “Providing continuing development opportunities like this is part of what makes the PPBSO’s panel as strong as it is.”

“The Music Committee’s goal in putting on this seminar was to find ways to help our adjudicators to solidify in their own minds how they would approach various scenarios that judges have to face on a regular basis,” Cairns said. “Ultimately, we want our judges to have the confidence to be able to say this is my decision and this is exactly why I made it.”

In an interesting experiment, the group worked with recordings of actual competition performances in mock situations, asking judges to assess them one time, and then listening to the performances again to compare results a second time.

“We put people in small groups in an attempt to create an environment where everyone would feel comfortable to share their ideas,” Cairns continued. “With the wealth of knowledge and experience that we have in the PPBSO, we opened the door to expand the scope or perspective of our adjudicators and give each attendee an opportunity for some personal developments as a judge.

“This was put to the test during the practical component, where each attendee evaluated three performances at a specific grade level.  In their small groups, they were then asked to rank the three performances and share with the group how they came to make that decision. We then played the three performances again asking the attendees to factor in the comments made by the other members of their group. When asked to rank the three performances a second time, it challenged everyone to decide, given the different perspectives, if they would rank the performances the same. This was an excellent way to help our adjudicators to solidify in their own minds: ‘I have taken into consideration what has been said and this is my decision and this is why I made it.'”

The PPBSO expects its adjudicators to attend at least one accredited seminar every two years to stay current and on its published list of judges that it shares with other associations. The organization includes attendance at other associations’ professional development seminars in its requirement.

The seminar ran from 9 am until about 4 pm on one of the first sunny and warm Ontario spring days, with several judges travelling more than five hours to attend the session. There are more than 60 on the PPBSO’s adjudication panel.

Attending this year’s PPBSO Adjudication Seminar:

  • Pete Aumonier
  • Chris Bell
  • Andrew Berthoff
  • Dan Bist
  • Tom Bowen
  • Andrea Boyd
  • Gail Brown
  • Ross Brown
  • John Cairns
  • Hugh Cameron
  • Terry Cleland
  • Jacob Dicker
  • Chris Dodson
  • Kate Dudek
  • Kyle Heaney
  • Bob MacCrimmon
  • Charlie MacDonald
  • Michael MacDonald
  • Norman MacDonald
  • Glenna Mackay-Johnstone
  • Jim McGillivray
  • Peter Sinclair
  • Brian Williamson
  • Bob Worrall

The PPBSO’s Music Committee currently comprises:

  • Glenna Mackay-Johnstone (chair)
  • Peter Aumonier
  • Andrea Boyd
  • John Cairns
  • Hugh Cameron
  • Kate Dudek
  • Brian McCue
  • Lynda Mckay
  • Bob Worrall





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