I am a member of a club. It’s been closed by the lockdown. The committee has asked that members pay their subscriptions anyway. The club needs the money to tide it over this difficult period. Otherwise it might go under. I don’t want that to happen. I can afford to contribute. I’ve paid up.
The RSPBA have now made the same request to their member bands and they too should cough up if they can afford it. Whatever their faults, and there are some, the Association is the international governing body for pipe bands and recognised around the world as such. We mustn’t allow it to go under either.
However, when a band does not have the cash for their subs (£228 UK Novice, £252 UK Adult – see here) then some consideration should be given to spreading the fees over several months or, in the case of Juvenile and Novice bands, waiving them altogether. Use the money in the National Juvenile Pipe Band Fund instead.
Nor is it enough for the Association to ask for the cash and give no indication as to what next season might look like. I can see no evidence of any contingency plan: audience free contests, judges spread out, concert formation, reduced prize money accepted – the sort of changes that would get us past the covid polis.
Talks may have been going on behind the scenes but behind the scenes is not good enough when you are asking bands to shell out their hard earned. Times are difficult for them. No gala days, no concert earners, no prizemoney, no corporate gigs. And without practices and contest, how can they look their pipers and drummers in the eye and ask them to pay their band subs?
This notwithstanding, my message to bands is pay your dues if you can; and to the RSPBA give some thought to the above or don’t be surprised if bands tell you to forget it for 2021 – as one band has already indicated to me it is ready to do.
Anyone with any thoughts please comment below. Tick, tock, tick, tock …. 28 weeks to the British.
A few days ago we highlighted the petition brought by students at a music school near Glasgow. The residential woodwind and brass players weren’t being allowed to practice in their school building.
Well, the local authority, East Dunbartonshire, has relented and these doughty youngsters (We want to Practice! their slogan) will now be able to blow away to their heart’s content in the classrooms of the prestigious Douglas Academy, Milngavie.
Might there now be some light for our currently banned school pipe bands? All local authority areas with bands, Argyll, North Lanarkshire, West Lothian to name three, should get on to Dougalas Academy and the ED council and ask them what they did to please the authorities. Read more on this story here.
Thanks to Ron Abbot for the pictures of the pipe band of the Royal Company of Archers as featured on PP last weekend. Ron writes: ‘Here is a better photo of the band [see top]. It was posted on the Edinburgh Postal Pipe Band & Dancers Facebook pages by Andy Edgar of the RAF Pipes & Drums.’
The original newspaper cutting plus caption:
What was, or is, the Montrose Silver Arrow Shoot?
Reader Francis Chamberlain came across the pictures below featuring P/Ms Bob Hill and JB Robertson and kindly forwarded them to us. Both JB and Bob (he of the tune Bob Hill’s Ceilidh) were leading lights in the London piping scene in days of yore, Robbie the Champion Piper of repute. Before my time, but Bob’s ceilidh was always held, so I believe, on the Saturday evening of the Bratach Gorm. Any stories/ info welcome.
Francis writes: ‘I have been doing some clearing out and have just come across this historic fashion shoot from Tatler magazine of August 1965. Unfortunately some superfluous young women seem to have wandered accidentally onto the set – the magazine could surely have airbrushed them out – but they don’t obscure the pipers too much!’
Captions on the first pictures are from the magazine, and the Tatler article starts: ‘The Scots are nothing if not proud, and there is nothing they are more proud of than their traditional tweeds and hand-knitted sweaters….So we invited three proud Scots to join in a fashion fling in praise of all those tweeds, tartans and twinsets that would surely by now carpet the globe…’