National Piping Centre Takeover of the College of Piping (further updated)

The following statement has just been received  by Piping Press….

The Boards of the College of Piping and The National Piping are pleased to announce that they have agreed, in principle, that The College of Piping will transfer its charitable and commercial activities to The National Piping Centre.   This will create one single national centre of excellence for the study and performance of Scotland’s national instrument.

The two charities have agreed that this is the best way to promote and support piping in future.

From May 1, 2018, the combined organisation will operate under the name ‘The National Piping Centre, incorporating The College of Piping’.  It will continue to offer a full range of educational activities and qualifications, to act as a home to The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and to host ‘Piping Live!’, the Glasgow International Piping Festival.

The Board of Directors of The National Piping Centre will be joined by the present Chairman of The College of Piping.

Colin MacNeill, the Chairman of The College of Piping said: ‘To merge the organisations at this time makes sense for many reasons, not least because this is the best thing to support the tuition and promotion of the history and performance of the bagpipes. This will be extremely positive for the bagpipe world.’

Sir Brian Ivory, on behalf of the National Piping Centre, said: ‘We are delighted that the College of Piping has decided to join us.  It has played a very important role in support of the piping tradition since 1944.’

PP Editor Robert Wallace, who for 15 years (1999 – 2014) was Principal of the College of Piping and editor of the Piping Times said: ‘I believe that in the current climate this is a good move for piping. It is one many of us predicted and one the directors of the College of Piping who were in situ on my departure brought on themselves. That the College of Piping will cease to exist as a separate body will be seen as disappointing to many but many more will see it as a positive step.

‘The College has had a disastrous time recently with public apologies, misguided appointments and a loss of direction. Questions remain on the future of the Piping Times and the Piping Today magazine. Will they be combined into one under a single editor or will they continue separately but published by the NPC?

‘What is the future of the College of Piping’s tutor books and other publications. In particular whose tutor books will be promoted/ sold by the NPC? Are there positions on the NPC board for other College of Piping directors?
‘Will the premises in Otago Street, probably worth £1m in property/ site value, but with considerable debt still outstanding, be retained, sold or re-badged? What is the future for the current employees at Otago Street? I hope we get answers to these questions in the near future.’

Later the following answers to the above questions were received by Piping Press from the Piping Centre’s PR company:

The Piping Times/ Piping Today: Both will continue for now. Once the integration of the COP into the NPC has been completed there will be a review of all our publications going forward.

NPC Board: It will not be a joint board, this is a takeover of the College of Piping by the National Piping Centre. Colin MacNeill has been asked to join the board of the NPC.

College of Piping Tutor Books and other Publications? It will be business as usual until the integration process is completed, at which point the NPC will decide how best it’s publications including – Piping Times and Piping Today –  can serve the piping public going forward.

Financial position of both organisations? I would refer you to the College of Piping with any questions regarding their financial position. The financial position of the NPC is very strong.

Does Roderick MacLeod become the Principal of the new joint body? Roddy MacLeod will remain the Principal of the National Piping Centre, Alberto Laidlaw will remain the Director of Administration of the NPC.

Will the premises in Otago Street be retained or sold or re badged? The NPC will continue to utilise it, just as it does its present building, for teaching and all associated activities. The NPC is expanding, so more space is welcome.

What is the future for the current employees at Otago Street? Under the arrangement, all of the College staff and tutors will transfer to the NPC.


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