Volume XVI Number 2 - August 2005


Sooo - birthday #56 came and went and that's all I'm going to say about it - no, really, it was a total fiasco - no boat, no cake, no girl no more...oh, well, here we go again. The only good thing to report is my blood sugar is under control and I'm back on the bike, so at least I'm HEALTHIER....

It seems I spoke too soon last month regarding visiting my Uncle Babe in Florida; he died on June 5 at the ripe age of 94. As his grandson said in a family message, 'he joins his beloved brothers and a host of hunting dogs' in eternity. He lived a long and colourful life, and was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to his family.

Just got in a set of Ringo Bowen's new NovaCane reeds; with any hope I'll have some by Pleasanton; if not, operators will be standing by to take your order. A few comments on this innovative reed: 1) the manufacturing of these reeds is impressive, and refined. Turned from stabilised maple, the bodies are lightweight and well formed; a total of four o-rings hold the impregnated cane tongue in place, and the reed tenon is lightly hemped. Close tolerences are maintained in the making of these reeds, so uniformity is guaranteed. 2) They deliver a massive sound once broken in. They will take several days to settle, in which you'll get some roaring, and occasional stopping - placing a hair under the tongue helps this. Springing the tonges is NOT recommended, so avoid doing so. Once settled they deliver beautiful, full drone tone, even from my Glens. I was pleasantly surprised at the strong blend with my Sinclair chanter. These reeds are NOT for those who like wimpy drone sound. They will fill out your band's pipe section with a full, loud drone that will impress you. As soon as details are worked out, we'll be carrying these beauties.

Just heard from Justin Stodghill of the Marine Pipers Network and Stodghill Bagpipes - health issues are forcing him to retire from the Corps, and once he's through that wrangle he'll be able to devote some more time to pipe making. The future of the MPA is uncertain at this point; I'll talk to him again soon to ask about its future.

THE NEW SFU CD 'ON HOME GROUND' has arrived! Their first recording since the phenomenal 'Down Under' has been long awaited - and well worth it. A fine blend of traditional and contemporary tunes, it features their 2005 competition medley, as well as solo cuts from Jack Lee and Jori Chisholm, and a great duet of Bevan and Bonar. I probably won't be able to get any more in for Pleasanton, so there may be a waiting list....


The WUSPBA Leadership Crisis

1. Earlier this year, after posting some defamatory messages on , using four or more alias ID's, Mr. Drew MacPheeters was exposed as the perpetrator. Actually Mr. MacPheeters who set up the message board a few years ago, had been defaming other WUSPBA members for several years when he was the moderator. However, when he defamed the L. A. Scots Pipe Band, members of that band investigated and found that it was Mr. MacPheeters who was responsible for this misconduct. An embarresed Mr. MacPheeters apologized for some, not all of his remarks, and withdrew from all future official, and semi-official activities of the WUSPBA. This was not enough though. Mr. MacPheeters should have been required by the Executive Committee to apologize for all of his remarks which were posted while he was acting in an official and semi-offical capacity for the WUSPBA. By not doing so, the Executive Committee has failed to lead and hold Mr. MacPheeters, along with other similar "characters" accountable for their misconduct.

2. This year the L. A. Scots Pipe Band learned that the Executive Committee had acted to suspend their band's voting rights at the AGM for the past two years. When the L. A. Scots Pipe Band accidently discovered this, they decided not to join this year. The Execuitve Committee's response was to threaten the L. A. Scots with sanctions. Communications between the Executive Committee and the L. A. Scots got, in a word, "HOT", and the demise of the WUSPBA would have resulted had legal actions been taken. Rather than see an end to the WUSPBA, Mr. Scott MacDonald negotiated a settlement. No dues would be required for the two years that the L. A. Scots votes weren't counted, so for this year, and the next, the L. A.Scots will not be paying dues, and their votes WILL BE COUNTED. The point in all of this not to be overlooked is that the Execuitve Committee acted TOGETHER to deny a member band its voting rights. Nobody knew except the members of the Execuitve Committee, until the L. A. Scots accidently found out. The Executive Committee lead the WUSPBA to a point where there almost wasn't a WUSPBA. This misconduct has not been fully investigated, and there has been no accountability to the membership for this misconduct. Yet, some of the same members of the Execuitve Commitee continue to serve, and will seek re-election at the next AGM. This IS NOT the sort of leadership required by this, or any association.

3. This year Mr. Seamus Coyne registered his Grade II band with B. C. Pipers. He did so as there are no other Grade II bands in the WUSPBA. In other words, the WUSPBA had nothing to offer Seamus' band. The Executive Commitee none-the-less "bullied" Seamus and his band into joing the WUSPBA. No band, member or not should be "bullied" into joining any association. The associations should be offereing genuine membership benefits to bands to encourage bands to become members. Leadership by intimidation is not leadership. Bulliesbully! Leaders encourage and guide. Leaders never bully in volunteer associations.

4. There are two message boards for the WUSPBA: established by Mr. MacPheeters and currently moderated by Mr. Brodie; and a second one known as established and moderated by Mr. Gary Speed. Both message boards claim to be open to all WUSPBA members, while in fact one is not. The Execuitve Committee claims to sanction neither message board. However, so long as both message boards contain the acronym "WUSPBA", in capital letters or not, they are both official message boards. The Execuitve Committee has sent letters to both moderators asking that they remove the WUSPBA acronym from the titles of their message boards. Niether moderator has done so, and the Execuitve Committee has done nothing more to clean up the resulting confusion. There can be only one "offical" message board. The Executive Committee must act to establish only one message board for its members. The moderator of this official message board must be empowered to remove inappropriate messages. But any censorship cannot include legitimate criticisms. The Executive Committee should take appropriate actions on members guilty of misconduct on the message board. By not taking these required steps, the Executive Committee has failed to lead. Leaders can NOT fail to lead.

5. In July this year, at the Portland Highland Games, a WUSPBA member band and elected officer of the WUSPBA may have acted to deliberately violate provisions of the WUSPBA Code of Conduct. Mr. Ian Whitelaw, President of the Southern Branch of the WUSPBA, and on the WUSPBA "A" judges list, hired to judge the Portland band contests was seen tuning the Irish Pipers Pipe Band 30 minutes prior to the beginning of those contests. The Irish Pipers were placed second, with Mr. Whitelaw acting as one of the judges. No official investigation into these obvious violations of the Code of Conduct have been initiated by the Executive Committee. Niether the Irish Pipers, or Mr. Whitelaw are to be held accountable for this misconduct. The Execuitve Committee has turned a "blind eye", and in so doing has placed the enforcement of the WUSPBA Code of Conduct, Contest Rules, and Bylaws iin severe jeopardy. Without the Code of Conduct, Contest Rules, and Bylaws, there can be no WUSPBA. Each of these incidents is a leadership crisis. In some, the Executive Committee failed, and continues to fail to act and to lead the WUSPBA appropriately. If the Execuitve Commitee is allowed to continue to act as they have this past year, the future of the WUSPBA is in doubt.

I am running for President of the WUSPBA again. When I'm President, I pledge to every member that I WILL LEAD and I WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE for every leadership decision made, by the membership. No member, band, solo, or contest sponsor will be "bullied" There will be one offical message board. I will hold hold members accountable for misconduct on this board. Violations of the Code of Conduct, Contest Rules, and Bylaws will be investigated, and if verified, those involved will be held accountable for their misconduct. No member, band solo, or contest sponsor will be inappropriately denied their voting rights. When I'm President the WUSPBA will no longer be plagued by these sort of leadership crises. The WUSPBA will be lead, and it will become an association that SERVES ITS MEMBERS rather than one as we have now that is SERVED BY ITS MEMBERS. With my leadership, the WUSPBA will again become an association that its members can be proud of. Vote for PARTANEN
for President of the WUSPBA at the upcoming AGM. Thanks for your support.

John Eric Partanen PhD. WUSPBA member 0193

(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


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