UK solo judges meeting Sunday
and awarding prizes to their students has existed in the UK for as long as piping, drumming and band competitions have taken place.
The strong majority of competitors worldwide have clearly and repeatedly expressed desire to have policies or rules that dissuade or prevent teachers from judging their students.
Two separate pipes|drums polls have each indicated that approximately 80% of readers believe that teachers should not judge their pupils.
A faction within the SPJA has expressed their desire to rescind the policy. Led by Malcolm McRae of Australia and supported in writing by Canada’s Bill Livingstone and Bob Worrall, Scotland’s Robert Wallace and Duncan Watson, and Donald Lindsay of the United States, it is believed that there could be an attempt at the November 12th meeting to try to overturn the policy.
The SPJA does not allow proxy voting, so only votes by those in attendance will be counted. The organization is believed to be planning to table the idea of allowing voting by proxy beginning in 2018 at the meeting.
Associations around the world, many of which will hold their own annual meetings soon, inevitably will be watching the SPJA decisions as they consider their own policies and rules.
Chris Armstrong and Roddy MacLeod each withdrew from the Formers Winners MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering. Armstrong said that his decision was at least partially based on Wallace being a judge of the event.
Unlike almost every piping and drumming association in the world that governs adjudication, the SPJA has no formal education or testing process for accrediting new members. SPJA members are considered subjectively, apparently based mainly on competition success, defined as “Those knowledgeable and experienced and having had notable success in competition, amateur or professional, but not necessarily at the highest level.”
Several of the group’s members have never competed at any senior or professional level.
The terms of Judges’ Representatives Murray Henderson and Hugh MacCallum, Treasurer Euan Anderson and Secretary Jack Taylor are also at an end. Henderson has reportedly already said that he will not stand again.