By The Editor
Well that’s the first day of the Grade 1 contest over. Thirty performances, 15 MSRs in the morning rain, the same in the Medley in afternoon sun. After sitting through it all I know who I am backing to take the title.
I’ve written it on a piece of paper for my own interest. I will make no comment on the individual performances until the results are known. It wouldn’t be fair.
What I will say is that all the bands acquitted themselves very well in the horrible conditions pre-lunch. There’s was hardly a squeak or a handslip. The tone suffered mind, but that was to be expected.
The afternoon was much better with some stupendous playing in the Medley. All duly noted, classified, categorised and computed by the eight adjudicators.
Their results are now safely in that plastic folder in the hands of RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton (below). He will guard them overnight unseen by anyone. They will be handed to the RSPBA’s official compilers tomorrow along with the Saturday sheets. Only then will the winners become known to be announced by Mr Embelton circa 6.30pm.
At the start of the day the judges were implored to keep their results to themselves. It was vital, said the Adjudicator Management Board, that they respect confidentiality. To discuss was natural but results were sacrosanct.
So we will wait and see who comes out on top. Whoever does will truly have earned the title of ‘World Champions’. To prevail over four performances in front of 16 judges is a test unprecendented in pipe band history.
However sitting there today I was left wondering if the expense and time staging the Friday legs was really necessary. Could all 15 bands not just have played on the Saturday? Indeed I think this should become the norm. Restrict Grade 1 to 12 British Isles bands with three places for overseas entrants. A more stringent examination of Grade 1 candidates from Grade 2 will produce the necessary natural selection.
Moreover playing over the two days is a huge strain on the bands. I hope they do not suffer some sort of fatigue and the playing tomorrow falls below what we have come to expect. An early night chaps and chapesses; plenty of bananas for brekkie.
A few other points: It was pointed out to me that the circle today seemed very close to the line, and the circle itself was definitely too far away from the front-on stand. Without a prevailing wind it would be very difficult to hear anything clearly from the back rows.
Why was there no separate draw for the two events on the Friday? It didn’t seem right that the same band had to kick things off in both the MSR and the Medley. I know it is a different draw for tomorrow but again bands will play in the same order for both disciplines. Separate draws would be fairer and easily manageable with over an hour of a gap between the two runs.
Anyway that’s the whingeing over. The upside of a meaningful Friday was a substantial increase in attendance. There must have been a good few thousand who turned out despite the weather and the cosy availibility of the livestream. Well done to everyone who got out the waterprroofs and heard the music live. There is no substitute.
And a big well done to all those excellent musicians who played today in trying circumstances – and to the volunteers who kept everything running smoothly and on time. Here’s to tomorrow and may the best band win.
Finally, good on you Alvis Kerr! He gets my prize for the best dressed adjudicator. Balmorals rock!