Pipe Band Rules

National Police Week, Washington, DC

General Rules

The Memorial Pipe Band Competition will not be sanctioned by any pipe band association. Bands are not required to be registered with any pipe band association or have a current designated grade. Bands will be expected to play one slow march/slow air medley for no less than three minutes and no more than 6 minutes.

Pipe Band Participants

Any competing pipe band shall be required to have a minimum of 5 pipers, 2 snare drummers and a bass drummer. Bands are permitted to have more of each instrument. Pipe bands must be;

  • Comprised of active or retired law enforcement, or
  • Comprised of any public service agency, or
  • Sponsored in part or whole by a public service agency, or
  • Any organization that has a history of rendering honors for fallen law enforcement officers.

Registration and Order of Play

There is no fee for this event and there will be a maximum number of teams allowed to participate. Team registration will be accepted up to the maximum team cut off so early registration is important. Only online registrations will be accepted.

On the day of competition, a representative from each band must check in at the competition AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO THEIR PERSPECTIVE START TIME.

* All band members must be members of the band that registers. No substitutes or drop in muscisions are allowed to participate in a performance.

Event Coordinator

Ken Roske
2839 West Kennewick Ave. #356
Kennewick, Washington 99336
Email: info@policeweekhonorguard.com

Equipment Requirements / General Information

Each band will provide their own equipment, including Great Highland Bagpipes, snare drums, tenor drum(s) and bass drum(s). No other musical instruments will be permitted. Each band must be properly dressed in Highland attire.

Attire Guidelines

Each band shall be attired in a uniformed manner consistent with the agency or organization they represent. For discrepancies, the team leader’s uniform will be used as the standard unless policy specifically allows such discrepancies (i.e. differing insignia or gold vs silver buttons depending on rank/position).


To be announced.


Captiol Reflection Pool, west side of the U.S. Captiol


Awards will be presented immediately following the day’s events.
Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as a top award for Dress and Department.

Judging / Evaluation

Each band's performance will be evaluated in the following areas:

Pipe Section: The pipe section's performance will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Introduction/attack
  • Tempos, breaks between tunes, and finish
  • Tuning and tone of chanters and drones
  • Execution
  • Expression
  • Difficulty of medley

Criticism from the judges in each of the above areas shall be given on the Pipe Band Piping score sheet.

Drum Section: The drum section's performance will be evaluated in a similar fashion based on the following areas:

  • Rolls
  • Tone
  • Tempo
  • Execution
  • Rhythm and Expression
  • Quality and Variety
  • Blend
  • Difficulty of medley

Criticism in each of the above areas shall be given from the judges on the Pipe Band Drumming score sheet.

Ensemble: The band’s performance as a group will be evaluated based on the following areas:

  • Technical Integration (technique and unison)
  • Tonal integration (sound quality)
  • Musicality
  • Quality of Arrangement
  • Overall appearance (uniforms, military bearing, marching)

All bands must be ranked with no ties.

Tune Selection

The medley shall consist of a slow march/slow air set that would be appropriate for a law enforcement funeral and/or memorial service. The set can be made up of any time signature and can change time signature from tune to tune throughout the medley. The only tunes off-limits to play are Amazing Grace and Going Home

**NOTE** The slow march medley does not require an attack of two-three beat rolls or one five-beat roll. The pipe band will utilize the attack of their choice and will be judged accordingly.

Tuning and Pre-Performance

While a band is competing, no other band or individual shall attempt to tune bagpipes or drums within 500 feet of the designated competition area. Once a band representative has checked in, FOP personnel assisting with check-in can direct bands to appropriate areas for further tuning.

The final tuning area will be within 50 yards of the competition area. Bands may tune until signaled to approach the Starting Line.


Competition Area / Entering, Forming and Exiting

The Competition area shall be marked using the following markers on the ground.

The Starting Line shall be marked 45 feet from the center of circles.

Bands will wait to be signaled to start their entry into the competition area by the competition personnel. Bands must march in from the Starting Line. Bands may march in with drum taps or playing their medley. Either format will be judged accordingly. Official time starts when the pipe chanters sound. Teams may ready/align themselves prior to this and judging will not begin until after the pipe chanter first sounds. Bands will form a circle within the marked area. Once they have completed their medley, bands shall march out of the competition area with drum taps displaying good department.

Violations of the rules outlined above will be grounds for disqualification.