News and Notices
Sunday December 27th, 2020
I hope that the holiday season is treating everyone well, and that all of you are safe and healthy. I have several exciting updates from the Board that I would like to share with you. The first is that the PPBSO has gone completely virtual and has shut down our office in Milton. While it was a sad occasion to close our office after 14 years, we’re looking at this as an opportunity to save money over the next year. For the time being we’re working remotely but have secured access to a co-working space in Oakville should the need and opportunity for in-person activities to resume. As life and our operations start to return to normal, we’ll reevaluate our office needs.
The next thing I’m happy to announce is that the Board of Directors has extended all 2020 memberships until April 30th, 2021. There is obviously a lot of uncertainty as to the shape and nature of our 2021 season, and so until we have a better idea of what that season will look like, we want to allow our current members to be able to continue to benefit from their memberships to participate in our branch events and our upcoming AGM. Additionally, we’ve decided to eliminate all late fees for our 2021 memberships.
What we haven’t decided upon yet is what those 2021 membership dues should look like. Our plan is to have a conversation at the upcoming AGM to discuss the finances of the PPBSO, what services and opportunities we can provide to our membership, and options for membership dues. The AGM will be held on January 30th, 2021 at 1:00 PM. Under the COVID-19 emergency measures passed by the Government of Ontario, our AGM will be online. Details including the agenda, Zoom link, and other materials will be made available in the coming weeks.
In order to help minimize costs and modernize our communication strategy, we’re looking to move away from physical notices for meetings and move to an electronic format. To do this we need your help! Under Ontario law, notifications for meetings must be made individually. This means that we need to send you the notices for general meetings either via email or physical mail – a posting on the website or Facebook is insufficient. Unfortunately an analysis of the member email addresses in the database shows that the majority are either missing or invalid. We need each member to provide us with up-to-date contact information. At the end of this post there will be instructions on how to do that. Please take the time to do this – every valid email address saves us money on printing and postage. We also want to be able to more directly communicate with our members and send information and surveys to you, but we need your help to make that happen.
Finally, over the course of the past few months both the Board and the Music Committee have been extremely busy. We’ve been continuing to look at ways to reduce operational costs, provide events through our branches, process upgrade requests from competitors, plan for various possible options for the 2021 season, engage in a strategic planning initiative and develop a member survey, review our adjudication requirements and professional development, discuss and examine opportunities for engagement in education, and many, many other things. We’re looking forward to sharing and discussing the details of these things at our AGM. I am proud of the work of all our volunteers and staff, and thank each and every one of them for their dedication and their time – the PPBSO wouldn’t function without them.
I look forward to seeing as many of you at the AGM as possible. In the meantime, please partake in the online events offered by our branches and continue to play and practice as we eye a return to a summer competition season.
Updating your contact information
The best way to do this is to use the online member services at https://ppbso.org/secure_html/. For those members who haven’t registered, please follow the instructions at https://ppbso.org/secure_html/register.html. If you are unable to do this, we’ve created an online form for you to use (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LYF5WpHY93ODULtKLEvAGThYCaSUFkPvTMVZnaAaGAQ).
Friday August 7th, 2020
Join Piping Live! on Saturday 8th August for The Silver Chanter with 6 top pipers playing MacCrimmon Piobaireachd. Then from Monday 10th – Wednesday 12th, at 4PM (BST) each day, Finlay MacDonald will meet pipers from around the world to talk about their piping traditions. On Thursday 13th August there is the Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge which has been a sell-out show for the last three years! Then they round off the festival online with the Old Blind Dogs at Piping Live! 2020 on Friday 14th August. All this great music live, online and in your living room. Tickets for these three concerts are £10 each, or its £25 for our festival pass to all 3. The talks are free to attend.
To find out more and get tickets now go to www.pipinglive.co.uk.
Saturday July 25th, 2020
Just a reminder that the registration and video submission deadline for our 3rd online amateur contest is tomorrow night! That’s Sunday, July 26th at 11:59 PM.
Sunday July 5th, 2020
We have three upcoming The PPBSO In Conversation … events that you’re sure to want to attend!
On Saturday, July 11th join PPBSO Music Committee Chair and piper Trish Kirkwood will host a 45-minute conversation, followed by a Q&A with Bob Worrall, one of North America’s leading teachers, adjudicators, performers, and composers. Trish and Bob will discuss his life as a piper, teacher, composer, adjudicator, traveller, and hobbyist!
Three days later on Tuesday, July 14th PPBSO Music Committee member and tenor drummer Kyle Heaney will host a 45-minute conversation, followed by a Q&A with Andrew Lawson, lead drummer of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. Born and raised in Newmarket, Ontario, Andrew spent his formative years playing in pipe bands in Ontario, including time with the Toronto Police and Peel Police drum corps, before moving to Scotland to join the Shotts drum corps in 2004. Kyle will lead a conversation with Andrew, discussing his journey from Newmarket, to leading one of the world’s most legendary drum corps.
And finally, on Saturday July 18th PPBSO Music Committee member and piper Andrea Boyd will host a 45-minute conversation, followed by a Q&A with Bill Livingstone. This conversation will be wide ranging, from the teaching and training of pipers and pipe bands in Ontario over the past fifty years, to the successes of pipers and pipe bands from Ontario at Scotland’s major competitions. The interview will consider how Ontario could position a greater cohort of its pipers and drummers to rise again on the global stage.
Registration for all three of these exciting conversations is free, but registration is required! Please register now at <a href=”https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/the-pipers-and-pipe-band-society-of-ontario-30403154684″>https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/the-pipers-and-pipe-band-society-of-ontario-30403154684</a>.
Wednesday July 1st, 2020
The PPBSO is happy to announce four additional online contests to round out our summer series. The contests will be in the same format as the first where competitors submit videos, and will be judged on the following weekends:
- July 18 – 19
- Aug 1 – 2
- Aug 15 – 16
- Aug 29 – 30
A full slate of amateur events in piping, snare, tenor, and bass drumming will be offered – as well as practice pad and chanter events for those kids out there who want to submit a video! Each event will be $10 per member, $15 for non-members, and free for the practice pad and chanter. Competitors are encouraged to sign up for as many or as few events as you want.
Regarding potential professional events, we’ll be polling our members over the next week to gauge interest in online professional contest offerings. If there’s sufficient interest, we’ll be adding events for our third contest on the weekend of August 1st.
Complete contest details can be found on our contest series rule page at http://ppbso.org/2020-online-contest-series. Registration is open now.
Sunday June 14th, 2020
A quick reminder that the entries for the first PPBSO online contest are due today! Please refer to the instructions at https://ppbso.org/2020-online-contest-series to make sure that your registration and submission are in compliance with the rules laid out for the contest.
We’re also pleased to report our first two webinars in our new The PPBSO In Conversation with… series were a success – and both are now available on our new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTtV8TIQfUZ5lWRATjc6CZQ. Watch Andrea Boyd in conversation with Finlay MacDonald, and Tyler Bridge lead a panel discussion about preparing for online competition.
Tuesday June 2nd, 2020
Registration has now opened for our online contest! You can find all the contest details at https://ppbso.org/2020-online-contest-series.
Sunday May 31st, 2020
Since the unfortunate cancellation of our summer season, the Board of Directors, the Music Committee, and some member volunteers have been hard at work developing new and innovative online events for our members. We’re pleased and excited to announce these today. The first is a new webinar series spearheaded by the PPBSO Music Committee called “The PPBSO In Conversation…”, featuring prominent pipers and drummers from Ontario and around the world. The first webinar in the series will take place on Thursday June 11th at noon Eastern Daylight Time. PPBSO Music Committee member and professional piper Andrea Boyd will host a 45-minute conversation and Q&A with Finlay MacDonald, the new Director of Piping at the National Piping Centre and Artistic Director of Piping Live! Festival, who officially starts his role on June 1st. The session will start with Andrea interviewing Finlay, followed by a Q&A with questions submitted by the audience, and concluding with a few tunes. We’re extremely excited to have Finlay with us, and we’re looking forward to his appearance – and what will be the beginning of several of these events over the summer. Attendance is limited, so please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-ppbso-in-conversationwith-finlay-macdonald-registration-107359346696
A second webinar will be held two days later. Led by Tyler Bridge – professional piper, Pipe Major of the Guelph Pipe Band, and music teacher – and joined by other panelists who will try to answer the big question on so many competitors’ minds – how do I prepare for online competition? We all think that it’s easy when you have professional quality recording equipment, but what happens when you just have your phone? How does the room you’re in affect your sound? What other tips and tricks will make you sound your best? Join Tyler on Saturday, June 13th at 2:00 Eastern to find out! Register now at https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/the-pipers-and-pipe-band-society-of-ontario-30403154684
Finally, competition. It’s what we do and what we love, and we’re pleased to announce the first online PPBSO contest of the 2020 season. This first contest will feature amateur light music events and snare, tenor, and bass drumming events – future contests will have a full slate of solo events including piobaireachd and professional graded events. Contestants will submit their videos in advance, and our judges will have a couple of days to judge the contests and submit the results, which will then be posted on our site – just like any other games! And like any other games, competitors will receive their score sheet with comments and playing level evaluations. Here’s the best part: for this first contest, it’s free for all PPBSO members who have paid their 2020 dues! The contest will be open to non-members as well from anywhere in the world, for a fee of $10 Canadian per event. So for members who maybe haven’t competed in solos for a number of years (or maybe never), now’s your chance to try. The full details of the rules and process will be posted on our site at https://ppbso.org/2020-online-contest-series when registration is opened in the next two days, and we’ll make a future announcement when that’s done. But get ready – recordings will be due by the end of Sunday, June 14th and the “date” of the competition will be June 20th.
This contest will be the first in a series. We intend to learn from this event – what worked, what didn’t, what can be better – and incorporate that feedback into the final series of contest rules. For our adjudicators, we’ll be reaching out to you in the next couple of days asking if you’re available and interested in judging such an event.
There’s no doubt that 2020 is the strangest year on record, but we’re adapting and continuing to find new ways to offer opportunities and services to our members. As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve started our strategic review process to understand how the Society can best serve its members and grow – a process that will continue for some time. We also are continuing to examine ways to save money and offset costs, while also expanding our online presence. We will keep everyone updated over the summer. In the meantime, we hope that you take advantage of some of these new offerings – and most importantly, that you keep safe during this time.