May 01, 2024

Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association elects Barbara MacDonald president, plans for future

The Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association (SPBA) had its annual general meeting on Saturday, April 27th. Band representatives met in person in Regina, Saskatchewan, and were joined via Zoom from across the province, including Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Swift Current.

Delegates heard that band and solo registrations were on par with the previous year and still recovering from the repercussions of COVID-19, when band members drifted away, and there were few new registrations in youth pipe bands. There was also a report on activities from bands, a discussion on issues in each area, and proposals for developing more performance and competition events for member bands.

Thirteen bands are SPBA members, but only six regularly compete. The focus was on recruitment, musician training, and promoting piping and drumming as a musical option in many communities.

SPBA past President Wayne Rempel reported on the highly successful Sound Advice 2023 piping and drumming summer school. Rempel briefed members on plans for the 2024 school, including the return of Richard Parkes and Field Marshal Montgomery Leading-Drummer Gareth McLees.

Barbara MacDonald

A Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Foundation grant has been approved, allowing the SPBA to award 10 summer school scholarships to students from outside the Regina and Saskatoon metropolitan areas.

On that theme, there was excitement about the new youth pipe band in Moose Jaw, which already has a dozen young people learning pipes and drums.

Barbara MacDonald of Regina was elected president. She is one of Canada’s most accomplished pipers, with many years of success as a competitive piper, band leader, and teacher.

MacDonald said she is already looking forward to developing connections with bands and events for members to improve their skills. Along with a focus on retention and recruitment, she said she’s hoping to consider how the SPBA can move toward the vision for women in piping and drumming expressed in the “Positive Change: A Collective Vision for the Future” pipes|drums article marking 2024 International Women’s Day.

Barbara MacDonald is one of few women to be elected leader of a recognized piping and drumming organization. Nancy Taylor holds the distinction of being the first when she became president of the Midwest Pipe Band Association in the 1990s.

The SPBA is one of six piping and drumming associations in Canada. The others are the British Columbia Pipers Association, the Alberta Pipe Band Association, the Prairies Pipe Band Association, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association.

Does your pipe band association share its news? If not, ask them why not.






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