Eighty-four bands were represented at the RSPBA AGM held today in the Trades Hall, Glasgow (above). Beginning at 10am the meeting ran for just over two hours with healthy debate on important issues, and with representatives of the various boards and panels within the organisation presenting summaries of their annual reports.
In the chair for the final time was Chairman Gordon Hamill who had previously intimated that he would be standing down after seven years in the job.
His successor is John Hughes, previously Vice-Chairman, who was elected by acclamation by delegates. Afterwards John praised the work of his predecessor and pledged to do all he could to further the cause of the association and of pipe bands at home and abroad. ‘It is an honour and a privilege to be elected to this position,’ he told the meeting. Mr Hughes is a piper and played to high level in bands such as Neilston, Hoover and Drambuie Kirkliston. His place as Vice Chairman was taken by Mr Paul Brown.
Gordon Hamill remains actively involved with the RSPBA taking a place on the Board of Directors as the representative for the Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch. Other new directors are: D Johnstone (Lothian & Borders), I MacAskill (Glasgow & West), W MacGregor (London & South), P McAndrew (Dundee, Perth, Angus), J Spindley (Midlands).
As far as branch representation on the board was concerned the meeting endorsed a rule change which allocated directors as follows: Branches with 12 – 25 bands (inclusive) get one rep, 26 -39 two reps, 40 or more three, and under 12 none.
Approved changes for judges mean that they can now confer with their colleagues in the arena. Following agreement at the AGM the rule governing this now reads: ‘Adjudicators have an option to confer with colleague adjudicators at the end of a band performance but not while the band is playing. However, adjudicators shall not discuss their placing decisions with colleague adjudicators before all official result sheets have been collected by a designated RSPBA official.’
Other rule changes saw the confirmation of the establishment of a properly constituted pipe band college with a Principal of Piping and a Principal of Drumming. The college will have representation from judges, music board and will ensure representation in various geographical areas.
A proposal by Northern Ireland’s MacNeilstown Pipe Band to reduce the qualifying period for transfers from a higher grade band to a lower from 42 days to 25 failed by a substantial margin, the meeting swayed by Music Board Convenor Bruce Cargill who argued that the workload problems could be significant should such a change be approved.
Also failing was a proposal from another Northern Irish band, MacDonald Memorial, to allow leading drummers of Grade 4 bands to register with another band. It was pointed out from the floor that this would put Novice and Juvenile bands at a disadvantage when they played in Grade 4. This dispensation currently exists for pipe majors only.
Finance Director Kenny Crothers reported a very healthy balance sheet with funds standing at £900,000 + and this included a substantial insurance payment following the fire which caused widespread damage to the association’s headquarters in Washington Street, Glasgow, last year.
The meeting was given information on the redevelopment of the RSPBA HQ. This will necessitate a decant into nearby office accommodation for approximately one year. The money mentioned above will pay for this work but Chief Executive Ian Embelton appealed to everyone to assist with fund-raising if they could. Ways of accessing public money were being explored. by the Association’s auditors.
The new building will have a major emphasis on education with four large, dedicated teaching rooms and a substantial performance area. In addition there will be a designated trophy room and contest equipment room for judge’s tents etc. Work on the redevelopment will begin this summer with completion scheduled for the start of the 2019 season.
• Get your quick guide to this year’s band contests here.