Colin MacLellan voted SPJA Chairman
Sunday, November 12, 2017 – Colin MacLellan, the College of Piping’s Director of Piping, was today voted chairman of the Solo Piping Judges Association (SPJA) at its annual general meeting in Perth, Scotland. The period of office is for three years.
MacLellan, pictured right, succeeds Andrew Wright, the organisation’s first chairman. Jack Taylor and Euan Anderson were returned as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
Colin MacLellan was not at the meeting but in a statement read out prior to the vote said: “If elected as Chairman of the SPJA, I would aim to be open and inclusive, encouraging input and opinions from everyone within the association. However, I would remain consistent with views which I have previously clearly expressed and which are well known.
“I also am firmly a believer in the majority view being respected. Debate, transparency, and open expression of views is to be encouraged, but decisions made with clear majority support must be held, and respected even by the minority who may disagree.
“Another of my principal aspirations would be to move on from the lengthy and tiresome arguments about teachers judging pupils. The debate is and has been important and has been hashed out at great length. A decision was made one year ago at this meeting regarding the three major meetings. That decision has been successfully implemented, and it should be respected going forward, and we should move on.
“This association needs to be about much more; learning, sharing knowledge, musical interpretation, judging methodologies, analysis, improvement, and development. Allowing the association to be mired in a single issue is detrimental, and if elected as Chairman, I would strive to ensure that was not allowed to happen.”
There will be no change in the Code of Conduct at present. Feedback from the Competing Pipers’ Association and competition organisers after the first year of operation of the ‘no pupils’ rule is awaited at next week’s meeting of the committee for solo piping competitions.
Allan MacDonald and Allan Forbes added to list of senior judges
Members also voted in favour of a resolution to adopt proxy voting for previously notified written resolutions, giving all members the chance to vote on these in future. It was also announced that the Association’s complaints procedure will be reviewed.
Allan MacDonald, pictured left, has been added to the list as a senior judge in ceòl mòr and light music, and Alan Forbes has been made a senior judge in ceòl mòr.
Following the AGM a successful seminar on the 2018 Gold Medal tunes took place. Informative presentations were given, including recordings illustrating different settings.
The SPJA was formed in 2014 to govern adjudication at the three major solo piping competitions: the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, the Northern Meeting at Inverness, and the London Competition.
Shortly after the SPJA was formed it became embroiled in the heated debate of its members sitting on benches and judging their own pupils. A Code of Conduct was established to prevent members from doing this at the three aforementioned major competitions. It was voted unanimously (17-0) at the SPJA’s AGM this time last year vote. Despite this, a small faction of SPJA members worked to have the policy rescinded.
In his remarks Andrew Wright referred to it having been a busy year with four committee meetings and much email traffic. He used the phrase “victims to emails” which brought wry nods from those present. He also said “Piobaireachd is a worldwide art form, and competition promotes the playing of it. Things have to be seen to be right.”
He also mentioned his concern about what information is made public.