Would it make sense to standardize competition rules
worldwide at least at the top levels? Every year since the World
Pipe Band Championships made the Grade 1 Final playing requirement
submit two MSRs and one medley, there has been some hue and cry
over the disparity between requirements leading up to the contest,
with some alleging that some non-RSPBA bands have an
The RSPBA requires that bands submit two selections at all of its
Grade 1 medley competitions. The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of
Ontario has the same rule. On the other hand,
the British Columbia Pipers Association andother
organizations call for Grade 1 bands to put in only one medley
throughout their season.
The allegation by some is that bands that have only one selection
to work on all summer enter the World’s with an edge.
I’m not sure what I think on the matter, but I do know that every
association’s rules for solo competitions get progressively more
stringent through the grades. In the Professional, or Open, grade,
most associations require solo pipers to submit four of everything.
Similarly, rules for bands get more and more difficult going up the
grades, and it would seem logical to continue that increasing level
of difficulty right through to the premier grade.
It makes sense to me that Grade 1 bands should have to prepare at
least two MSRs and two medleys. In fact, in these days of most
Grade 1 bands needing to have two hours of concert material at
their fingertips, one would think that two of each is no bother at
But, then again, it also makes some sense that associations should
follow the requirements set out by the RSPBA at the World’s, and
allow their bands to hone their very best selection in the event
that they need it on the big day.
Perhaps the solution is for the RSPBA to increase the requirement
of the Grade 1 Final to two medleys. There are several advantages
to this I think: more variety for the crowd; more variety
year-to-year on the DVD and CD; more drama and excitement for the
Sure, it’s more work and pressure for the bands (or at least as
much when bands pre-1972 had to submit three MSRs) but, really,
isn’t that what the Grade 1 Final all about?