Editor’s Notebook: Highland Games Threat/ Trophy Search/ Oban Festival/ Dollar Contest/ Sandy Jones

This from a prominent Highland games organiser: ‘On the CPA judge/pupil pronouncements that have lately been made, has anyone raised the problems this causes for competition organisers?

‘How are games committees, expected to be able to attract decent player numbers, or to maintain their ‘local’ feel, when they may not be able to use local piping adjudicators because they then wouldn’t get local competitors?

‘How can they afford to import judges from afar with their associated travel and accommodation expenses? What a headache for organisers to have to consider the judge/pupil relationship.

What a bonus for visiting overseas competitors who won’t have local pipers to worry about.

‘What was so wrong with the CPA grading system where competitors’ results when judged by their tutor were just discarded?

Have there really been significant cases of blatant favouritism by judges of their pupils? Or is it in most cases just sour grapes by the disappointed?’

As readers will know, I have been on about this for many years. I would urge CPA officials to pay heed to what my correspondent writes. Please have a think about the effect some of your rules are having on contest promoters and how they could reduce the number of opportunities for your members to compete.

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Trophy Search

Still with the Games, this from Jean Cameron: ‘Can you publish a request as I am struggling to find the whereabouts of the Caithness Glass Chanter awarded to the senior pipe winner at the Northern Highland Games, probably in Caithness and Sutherland.

‘The last known winner was Stuart Samson about 1998. If it can be found we’d like to reinstate it to try to boost competitor numbers at the games. It was first called the Ackergill Tower Glass Chanter. Is there perhaps a list of rules or prizewinners for this trophy over the years.

‘I have exhausted the sources I know. I am wondering when German piper Martin Kessler was competing here and thought that maybe he could help. Any assistance you can give will be more than welcome.’

Over to our northern area pipers. Surely someone has knowledge of what sounds a very nice trophy. Email us at the usual address.

Oban Festival

Entries are now open for the Highland and Island Festival piping to be held in Oban on April 29. Here’s the link for the entry form.

Considering this contest has not been held for three years, prizemoney looks pretty decent:

P/A Piob: 1 £250, 2 £200, 3 £150, 4 £100

P/A MSR: 1 £225, 2 £175, 3 £125, 4 £75

B Piob: 1 £200, 2 £150, 3 £100, 4 £50

C Piob: 1 £200, 2 £150, 3 £100, 4 £50

B MSR: 1 £175, 2 £125, 3 £75, 4 £25

C MSR: 1 £175, 2 £125, 3 £75, 4 £25

Dollar Band Contest

Dollar Academy celebrate winning the 2017 World Juvenile Pipe Band title

Three cheers for Dollar Academy and their enterprising pipe band. They have stepped into the breach left by the cancellation of the British Championships to hold an all-grades contest in the grounds of the school on May 20. The event is being run in conjunction with the Dundee, Perth and Angus Branch of the RSPBA.

Would it be so difficult now to declare this competition the ‘British’? In times of need the RSPBA needs some lateral thinking. Step away from the local authority promoter approach. The imperative is to hold a championship. If it’s small scale and easy to do, then needs must.

Come on bands, give the Dollar initiative your full support. Here’s the link for entries.

Sandy Jones

It was with sadness I learned of the passing of Sandy Jones. I only met him on a couple of occasions but having taught in the south east US for many years I can vouch for the excellence of his teaching and of the schools he ran.

Sandy’s legacy will live on in all the many hundreds of pupils he nurtured throughout his life. The EUSPBA Newsletter had this:

‘Born in Idaho in 1938, Sandy took to the pipes at an early age. Joining the United Sates Air Force, he served with the USAF Pipe Band holding the position of Pipe Major for eight years. 

‘Along with John MacFadyen, Sandy founded the North American Academy of Piping and Drumming in Valle Crucis, NC in 1970. The school will be opening its door to students this summer for the 53rd time.

After his retirement from the Air Force, Sandy took on the position of piping director at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, a position he held until 2003. After his Citadel time, Sandy continued to be active as a piping teacher and adjudicator throughout North America.’

4 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Highland Games Threat/ Trophy Search/ Oban Festival/ Dollar Contest/ Sandy Jones

  1. Regarding the ‘Highland Games Threat’, an anecdote.
    In the 1950s in my corner of North East New South Wales there were about 2 dozen local ‘Games’ prior to the introduction of a new ‘Regulatory’ cell…that became a juggernaut…the ‘local’ PBA.
    Doubtless powerful arguments exist for and against what followed but we are left with Maclean as the sole (mainly due to the collective souls) survivor.
    I was at Portree in 1997 when an aberrant Hammer landed within ‘diarrhoea distance’ of the local solo comp…huge roar and all reflected on their ‘Enter at own risk’ status. But when we’re we happier?

  2. Just a minor correction. Sandy Jones founded the North American Academy of Piping with John MacFadyen.

  3. Rab, I was interested to read the comments today from a games organiser about the possible impact on competitor numbers of the CPA pronouncement on pupil/tutor/Judge issues. Without expressing any view on that subject, as someone who has for around ten years assisted in approaching games organisers to gather information for the CPA’s annual Guide to the Games one of my routine frustrations is the lack of response from some organisers to requests for information, despite pointing out that the Guide is a key means of encouraging competitors to support their events. This year out of nine approaches three gave no response at all and this included a games which was until recently one of the premier solo contests. Some are very good even responding the same day (applause for Ken Cameron at Lochaber!) but others (and by no means just the smaller games) seem to operate in the expectation that pipers will just turn up. For clarity I do not and never have held any other role in the CPA!

  4. I wholeheartedly congratulate Dollar Academy for their initiative in organising a pipe band contest on the same date as the now cancelled British Championship. Is it totally unreasonable to be thinking that the RSPBA could easily have explored something similar? It is my humble opinion that the the RSPBA gave up far too quickly on seeking alternative scenarios for the British, especially after the recent 2 year lockdown for pipe bands. I also understand that the RSPBA coffers are in a very healthy state, and as another option, could not the RSPBA have themselves sponsored the British as a one-off exception to their normal procedure? Overall, this fantastic initiative from Dollar Academy does not reflect well on the organising intellect and capability at RSPBA Headquarters.

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