The 86th Annual General Meeting of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association took place today (Saturday, 11th March) at Trades Hall in Glasgow city centre.
The meeting came 24 hours after a blaze swept through the first floor of the organisation’s headquarters one mile away. Six tenders and 30 firemen attended the scene in the early hours of the morning of Friday, March 10. Chief Executive, Ian Embelton, assured attendees that the damage caused by the fire affected mostly the first floor and that while the ground floor was badly affected by water damage and was without electricity, he nevertheless expected to the office to be functioning again within one week.
Mr Embelton said he had been informed by senior fire fighters that the fire was the result of a malfunctioning thermostat in one of the old storage heaters in the upstairs area of the building. Coincidentally, the building is due to be renovated and a decision will be made to that effect in July. Mr Embelton said only luck prevented the fire from destroying the whole building.
As a result of the meeting, pipe bands will not be able to play a member who has not been registered as a Band Member for a qualifying period prior to a contest date. The qualifying period for a transfer from a higher grade band to a lower grade band has now been increased from 14 days to 42 days. On behalf of the Music Board, Bruce Cargill stated that this was due to abuse in recent years by one (nameless) band who had registered new players two weeks prior to the World Pipe Band Championships and who went on to win the contest in their grade.
The AGM itself was uneventful. Alex and Wilma Dalziel were made honorary life members of the association, and the nephew of former RSPBA President, Robert (Bob) McCreath MBE presented the association with Bob’s MBE and certificate. These will henceforth be displayed in the McCreath Room at 45 Washington Street.
The AGM also heard that the Chief Executive had met with representatives of Renfrewshire Council to discuss improvements to St James Playing Fields which was the subject of much criticism from bands at last year’s major championships.
The Consultative Pilot Scheme introduced last season will be introduced again for this season. This was the process whereby adjudicators at all five major pipe band championships were allowed the option to confer during the contest “where it is deemed appropriate and conducive to the adjudication process.” This was passed by a majority vote.
Pipe band secretaries will now be able to check their band members’ registration online as soon as electricity returns to Washington Street.