The Grade 4 Wake & District Public Safety Pipes & Drums of Raleigh, North Carolina, has made known to the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association that it intends to move up a grade and sustain bands in Grade 4 and Grade 5 by 2015.
Wake & District has added players to its Grade 4 and Grade 5 rosters, now numbering more than 70 pipers and drummers in total through its program. So the group will divide and conquer by expanding with another band, plus the addition of a juvenile program in the shape of the Crossroads Kilty Pipe Band by 2016, in time for the organization’s 10th anniversary year.
With only 13 Grade 3 bands currently in the massive EUSPBA jurisdiction, the information was welcome news to association President Eric MacNeill, who Wake & District Band Manager Joe Brady said was “supportive.” The band sent a formal letter outlining its expansion and upgrading intentions to principals within the EUSPBA.
“We hope to see a few EUSPBA Grade 3 bands push themselves forward to Grade 2 next season,” Brady continued.
The organization’s competition program is being directed by Ken McKeveny (who leads the Grade 4 band) and drumming instructor Tom Foote, both professional level competitors and accredited judges on the EUSPBA circuit.
“We are opening a new chapter and want to transparent about how we continue to grow and how new members come into the band,” said Ken McKeveny, “we have policies in place to address this.”
“There is a really good piping scene in the Raleigh area,” said June Hanley, chair of the EUSPBA music board, “Wake & District is a big part of that, and . . . it is great to see good things happening down there.”
The EUSPBA was partially at the centre of a recent grading controversy after the RSPBA proactively upgraded the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highlanders to Grade 1. The EUSPBA is keeping the band in Grade 2.