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Passing: Roderick "Roddy" MacDonald, 1941-2012
The North American piping world and the EUSPBA in particular lost a major figure on October 22, 2012. Roderick W. “Roddy” MacDonald passed away in Sarasota FL.
Roddy, Gladys and their only child, Calum emigrated from Scotland to Massachusetts in 1966. In the Fall of 1967, the MacDonald family moved to Wilmington, Delaware. It was here that he was able to demonstrate the skills he acquired in his homeland under the tutelage of the legendary P/M Donald Shaw Ramsay and the Invergordon Distillery Pipe Band.
Roddy was immediately appointed Pipe Major of the City of Wilmington Pipe Band. It did not take long for him to convince former Invergordon drummer Kit Reynolds to move to Delaware. It was not long at all before the two of them produced a very well respected grade 2 pipe band. During the '68 & '69 competition seasons, the "original" COW was almost always in the prize list in the eastern US as well as Ontario.
Roddy also enjoyed a spectacular solo piping career. Although it might be argued the overall standard of playing is higher today than 40 or 30 years ago, many who have witnessed the evolution of playing in the EUSPBA will tell you Roddy was the standard during his prime competitive years.
Roddy's influence upon the EUSPBA is almost incalculable. He began by serving as president 1974-1975. It was through his leadership and inspiration that branches were first formed in the mid '70's. He didn't stop there. He was one of the very first leaders of any association to propose "stage" rather than "age" when it came to categorizing solo piping competitors.
Most members are probably not aware that prior to the implementation of an amateur/professional grading system in the early '70's, competitions were set by "age". Once pipers turned 18 years of age, their fellow competitors were the likes of Roddy, Hammy Workman, George Bell and all the other great professional "adult" pipers living in the Eastern United States as well as Canada. There is little doubt what we now describe as "adult beginners" owe a huge debt of gratitude to Roddy. The "stage" system of grading has allowed countless adults the enjoyment of competing and developing their abilities well beyond the age of 18.
As hard as it may seem to believe today, there was a time when piping (and drumming) competitors were not always judged by competent adjudicators. Roddy, along with George Bell, Donald Lindsay, Bob Gilchrist and several others were instrumental in creating a viable, respectable judges panel. These people set a standard that remains today. As for Roddy's judging skills, competitors always knew they were going to get a fair listen. Roddy never played favorites and always provided excellent comments on his score sheets.
Roddy never stopped contributing to the betterment of piping and the EUSPBA. His latest project was the PCP program which was designed to help players at all levels.
Roddy MacDonald could be considered a renaissance man in its truest sense. When one's piping career included band and solo playing, pipe majoring, instruction, judging, publishing and composing, as well as his influential administrative and organizational work for EUSPBA, it should be obvious to everyone that no remembrance of his accomplishments will be complete, including this one.
Roddy will be sorely missed. The EUSPBA sends its sincerest and deepest condolences to Roddy's family.
Interested readers may wish to download Roddy’s Book: A Forty Year History of EUSPBA, available elsewhere on this site.
We will post service arrangements as they become available.
Annual Mailing
The annual mailing includes Executive Committee ballots, membership renewals and regrade request forms. This packet has been mailed as of today. If you do not receive yours by October 9, 2012, please contact us at
Congratulations To EUSPBA Member Bands
Congratulations to the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band for taking first place in the Novice Juvenile grade at the World Pipe Band Championships. St. Thomas Alumni finished second place in the grade 2 final. St. Thomas Episcopal School placed second in the Juvenile grade. Oran Mor is to be congratulated for their win at North Berwick last week and strong finish in the grade 1 qualifier. Well done to all on a strong EUSPBA showing at the 2012 World Pipe Band Championships.
Passing: Matt Hamilton
Matthew Hamilton, 88, passed away on July 29, 2012. Born in Shotts, Scotland, Matt played tenor drum for the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band before emigrating to the US in 1965. He was a long time member of the Worcester Kiltie Band and worked with many bands in the area. Matt sat on the EUSPBA judges panel for many years. We thank Matt for his service to the music and our association.
Midseason Regrades Announced
The EUSPBA Grading Committee met recently for a midseason grading review. The following competitors were regraded:
- Katy Rashad: P1 to PP
- Kathleen Brown: P2 to P1
- William Shropshire: P3 to P2
- Derek Reed: P3 to P2
- Dillard Waring: P4 to P3
- Shawn Pappas: P4 to P3
- Rik Mendez: P4 to P3
- Jonathan McGregor: P4 to P3
- Andrew McGarrick: P4 to P3
- Ryan Higgs: P4 to P3
- Ben Elkins: BA to BP
- Ashley Holt: S4 to S3
- Woodrow Boyles: S4 to S3

The EUSPBA Music Board congratulates these competitors on their successful competitive efforts. The Grading Committee will have its usual annual grading meeting in early December. Any competitors wishing to be considered for regrading are reminded to submit a request by the November 1 deadline as per the directions on the back of every EUSPBA score sheet.
2012 AGM Announced
Mark your calendars for the 2012 EUSPBA Annual General Meeting, to be held at the Double Tree Hilton - Newark, NJ on Saturday, November 3. The Metro Branch is hosting this year and promises a great event. Don't miss the Ceilidh party Saturday night!
Details will be announced as plans develop. more
Passing: James Kerr
James Kerr, piping judge and former P/M of the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band passed away on April 19, 2012 at the age of 80.
Jim was born in Lanarkshire Scotland in 1932 and was a member of the Shots & Dykehead Pipe Band before immigrating to the US in 1956 to play with Worcester. He led Worcester Kiltie to the Grade 1 level and ultimately to become the first US band to comete at the Worlds in 1964. Jim served as P/M at Worcester until his retirement in 1983.
Jim Kerr made a significant impact in North American piping and will be greatly missed by all.
Results Are Back
The results application is back functioning again, and results are beginning to be entered. Thanks for your patience as we continue to grow.
Passing: Judy Hall
(March 20, 1942 - February 22, 2012)
Ulster Scottish is mourning the loss of its beloved matriarch, Judy Hall. Judy was married to the late P/M Tom Hall for 45 years. Ever-present at practices and games, Judy was a vital part of the Ulster organization, preparing food at band gatherings, caring for the small children of band members during performances, and offering encouragement and honest critique. Judy could be found at the sideline of every contest the band played no matter what the weather condition. Judy will be missed by all.

Tuesday February 28 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesday February 29 - 10:00am to 11:00am
McGoldrick Funeral Home, 507 West Avenue, Jenkintown, PA 19046
Funeral Service - 11:15am
Roslyn Presbyterian Church, 1044 Easton Road, Roslyn PA 19001
Burial following service at Hillside Cemetery, 2556 Susquehanna Road, Roslyn PA 19001
Luncheon following burial at Roslyn Presbyterian Church

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association and/or Ulster Scottish Pipe Band and sent to: 960 Brown Avenue Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Competition Rules Updated
Competition rules have been updated for 2012. You can find the rulebook on this site under "About EUSPBA" - Rules/Policies. more