New RSPBA Website Up and Running, Reduced Band Fees for 2022 and for 2023 if Finances Permit

The new RSPBA website is up and running! After years of criticism about a clunky, non-user friendly website layout, the Association now have ‘an attractive site, the use of which will be of benefit to pipe bands worldwide’.

Kathleen Robertson, RSPBA Marketing and Media Convenor, reporting to the Board of Directors: ‘Over the last eighteen months, the Board tasked us with a refresh of the Association website. 

‘I am delighted to introduce the new site to you. There are three phases to the development and as such there will be more added and updated in due course. We hope you will enjoy the new look, find it easier to navigate, and be able to use it on mobile devices as well as laptop and desktop computers.’

Other Board of Directors matters:

FEES: Following a long debate that considered the feedback received on the payment of Membership Fees for 2022, a number of motions were put to the floor. In the current financial climate the Board accepted the recommendation that there would be no change to the published Fees and Allowances. 

A majority of the Board agreed that Membership Fees for 2022 would be payable but here would be no increase in the amount. However bands who had paid their 2021 fees will receive a 50% rebate on their 2022 fee, and, if Association finances allow, a further 50% against their 2023 fee. 

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SUMMER SCHOOL: The Board received a report on the 2021 School from Principal John Nevans. He and Education Officer Pat Whelan commended the work of all those involved in the preparation and delivery of the Summer School. Key points were:  

• The event was presented in an online format for the first time

• The school focused, as in previous years, on three areas required by the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board: Theory, Practice and Maintenance.

• The course was delivered to 28 students, covering a broad range of ages and geographical location.

• The structure and content were developed in a short time frame.

The event was a success, it took place, albeit moving to this format had its teething problems. However, these were overcome with minimal distress to the students and instructors.   

Mr Nevans felt the Association should consider expanding its online activity as a means of ‘outreach’ to the membership especially those in Grade 4a and 4b. These bands were the nursery for the young people who will grow to become our Grade One players of the future, he said.   

The Board approved his request to examine online learning which would be delivered to the membership in short episodes perhaps on a weekly basis.  

Instructors and students at 2019’s RSPBA Summer School

TRADITIONAL MUSIC: The Chairman, following his investigation into Traditional Music Forums, confirmed the Association is now a member of the Traditional Arts Culture Scotland (TRACS). 

MUSIC BOARD: It was reported that no MB member has come forward to take on the role of Convenor. The playing requirements for the 2022 Championships will be agreed at the next MB Meeting. 

WORLD SOLO DRUMMING: A press release on the Adult Regional Qualifiers is being prepared. The Branches involved have been asked to confirm the anticipated contest dates as soon as possible. The WSD Group had been looking to hold an event in 2021 at which a replay of the 2019 World Solo Drumming Final would be held. 

There were mixed views expressed. No budget was available for consideration. There was a view that this was to be a showcase event, but some directors pointed out that adjudicators were needed, hence the request was for a contest and if run on the lines of a WSD final it would need eight adjudicators. 

A proposal was put forward to allow a WSD Final replay event in 2021 to go ahead. A counter proposal was tabled for the event not to be progressed by the Association. The counter proposal was supported by a majority of the directors. 

HON. VPs: Certificates for the Honorary Vice Presidents have now been produced. There was a delay in the production / sourcing of the medals. It was agreed that K Reilly and I Embelton would look at options for expediting the presentation of the award of Honorary Vice President to G Hamill and J Hughes in advance of the 2022 Season. 

Former Chairmen John Hughes and Gordon Hamill are to be appointed Hon. Vice Presidents of the RSPBA

‘PLAYING FOR SHEETS’: Vice Chairman Paul Brown reported he had a meeting to progress an ‘Open Band’ ‘Playing for Sheets’ event where those who took part would receive a set of critique sheets that may help their winter preparations for the 2022 season.  The Music Board supported the initiative to be progressed as a pilot to be run within the North West England Section.  The initiative was supported by the Board.

STAFF: Plans are in progress for the staff to return to Washington Street HQ when furlough ceases [Sept 30]. 

ACCOUNTS: The accounts are up to date as of the 19th August 2021 and all outstanding liabilities have been settled. All bills have been paid. The accounts presented at the AGM 2021 have been filed with the Office of Scottish Charities Register (OSCR) and Companies House. 

ONLINE MEETINGS: OSCR have recommend a change in the RSPBA’s Articles of Association to include virtual AGMs and meetings.

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