PP Ed’s Blog: Band and Solo Judging/ G2 band not at Scottish/ SPA Juvenile

I think I agree with correspondent Ian Forbes about the order of play affecting pipe band results. Does a stick out performance at the start of the Worlds final leave a better impression than one at the end?

I think he has a point and there could be an argument for bands that are on early in the MSR being seeded to the end of the Medley. However what about bands playing last in the MSR? They would have to play first in the Medley. Is there enough turn round time?

However, in a Worlds final of only 12 bands, with two sets of different adjudicators, the playing order is much less of an issue than it is in the solo world. Here, for example, the records clearly show that most Gold Medal winners come from the end of the pack. This is not always the case though, and I can recall some excellent early performances which, thanks to the quality of the bench (how important is that!), the deserving tune prevailed. To sit all day listening to 25+ piobaireachd or 20+ ‘big’ MSRs is an onerous task and one only those with the required stamina, concentration, knowledge and experience should be invited to undertake.

Back to the bands for a moment. Looking at the lists of adjudicators we can see that the RSPBA has a much more mature approach to the issue of conflicts of interest than does the solo world. Looking down the list for the Worlds we can see pipers who were leading players who were once in some of the bands they are about to judge. This is absolutely as it should be. Should Grade 1 players not be out there judging Grade 1 once they retire from playing? There will be the usual comments about bias towards their old band, but the RSPBA has a transparency about its judging system which the solo world could learn from.

Adjudicators on duty at this year’s Worlds

The summary sheets published within minutes of every pipe band major show exactly how each adjudicator listed his or her preferences. There is no hiding place and if any pattern of partiality emerges then the Adjudicators’ Panel has the system in place to deal with it. Compare that with the solo world where there is a presumption of bias among adjudicators from the outset and limited transparency.

Pipe band adjudicators…transparency

Manorcunningham Pipe Band won’t be playing in Grade 2 at the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton. The band’s Leading Drummer, Alan Laird (pictured top with his drum corps), has sent this: ‘I’m messaging on behalf of Manorcunningham pipe band Grade 2 and was looking to inform the Piping Press that sadly we will not be competing at the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton at the end of the month.

‘Although entered we have a lot of players attending a wedding and a few are on holiday so we wanted to let the Piping Press know this. We are delighted with reviews and positive comments the band has got through the Piping Press reviews of Grade 2 this season. We are working hard to be in the best possible condition for the Worlds in August and Dumbarton will be the only contest we will miss before the end of the season.



‘After taking the year out last year we are refreshed and delighted to be back out competing again. Can you thank whoever is doing the reviews of Grade 2 as it’s great coverage for all the bands before and after the majors. The band’s preparation for the Worlds this year includes playing up in Grade 1 in Moria the week before Glasgow and also basing the band in Glasgow from the Wednesday before the Worlds. Hope any of this information can help . Thanks a million.’

Thanks for that Alan and all the best to the band. We are sure our Special Correspondent, MacStig, will be delighted at your comments on his reviews.

On the dark side….our Special Correspondent, MacStig

The Scottish Pipers’ Association have announced details of their 2017 Juvenile contest. It will be on 9th September at the College of Piping and for the first time they are having chanter competitions to stimulate interest in younger learners. Well done to all at the SPA for that. Get the entry forms here.


2 thoughts on “PP Ed’s Blog: Band and Solo Judging/ G2 band not at Scottish/ SPA Juvenile”

  1. I think there is a difference btwn adjudicators formerly associated with a band, and adjudicators actively associated with students.

    Regardless, it may be the issue is one regardling the appearance of favoritism, and not the accusation of it. Eliminating such “low hanging fruit” helps avoid any potential shadow cast over a legitimate win.

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