Australia introduces Grade 4B

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Chris Earl.
PBA President, Chris Earl.

Australia’s pipe band governing body has introduced Grade 4B to competitions down under. Pipe Bands Australia (PBA) spent a three-year reviewing its grading structures so as to align with those in Scotland and other major pipe band associations.

Chris Earl, President of the PBA, said: “The adoption of Grade 4B followed inclusion of the proposal in this year’s ballot of the bands and subsequent consideration by national council and national management committee. The ballot also formalised the introduction of juvenile competition grades.

“Grade 4B has developed from the Grade 4 Selection of Marches (SoM) event introduced in 2016 to begin the process of filling a gap in Australian grading and music requirements.

“Grade 4 moved from a selection of marches to an MSR following the 2012 Australian Championships that saw some bands no longer taking part in competitions. The Grade 4 SoM began to again engage bands and encourage bands to form No. 2 or development bands.”

The success of this has assisted in re-establishing band numbers at contests and led to the new grade.

The PBA’s Grading Committee will develop the criteria for Grade 4A and Grade 4B and will invite branch grading committees to assist in reviewing all bands currently allocated to Grade 4 and those bands currently unallocated in conjunction with timetabled branch grading reviews. Grading processes will be completed by July 31 this year and apply from September 1, 2019.

Scotch College Adelaide Pipe Band. The band is one of eight bands from Australia travelling to compete at Inverness on June 29.
Scotch College Adelaide Pipe Band. The band is one of eight bands from Australia travelling to compete at Inverness on June 29.

Mr Earl continued: “The prescribed tune list of Pipe Bands Australia will comprise any tunes on the RSPBA list from time to time in addition to any tunes submitted by bands and endorsed by the Principal Piping or tunes included on the Australian list by the Principals Piping, Drumming and Ensemble (acting as a music board advising national council/national management committee). Until June 30, 2020, a tune (including simple time marches where applicable) played by a band in competition in applicable grades will be deemed to have been included on the transitionary prescribed list. The list will be further reviewed before June 30 2020.”

With the growing number of Australian bands setting their sights on major championships in Scotland, the PBA says it is important that home-soil contests provide the best possible preparation for those bands. Grade 4B should assist bands in their aspirations while also further strengthening the foundation grades in Australia.

Eight Australian pipe bands intend to take part in this month’s European Pipe Band Championships in Inverness.