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Bon-Accord Silver Band
1959 saw the birth of Brass Bands in Aberdeen Schools. In 1961, John Dalby, the superintendent of Schools Music was approached by the late Stewart Watson MBE, then a school brass instructor, as to the fate of the young brass players when they left school.
Out with the Salvation Army only two brass bands existed, both with a full complement of players. After some thought John Dalby challenged Stewart Watson to establish another band. Towards the spring of '61 parents were invited to attend a meeting at Christ's college. Despite the attendance of only seven parents, a committee was formed.
In June 1962 Stewart conducted the first rehearsal of what was to become known as "The Bon Accord Silver Band", the foundations of which had been laid in the preceding few months. Fund raising events had produced modest funds. Additional support came from the granting of weekly accommodation, at no cost, in Aberdeen's Music Centre. School instruments were also made available.
More than thirty years on the Bon Accord Silver Band is one of Scotland's' most successful Brass Bands. We have achieved qualification to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain some 14 times including two performances in London's famous Royal Albert Hall. We were winners of the 1985 and 1998 Scottish Quartet Championships. We have performed at the 1991 Edinburgh International Festival, at multiple music festivals in Regensburg, Germany (1988-1992-1997), at the National Corporate Games (1996), and at the Tall Ship Races in both Aberdeen (1997) and Dublin Ireland (1998).
Indeed by 1980 the band was so large a "B" band was formed. This provides a training band for players before they move up to the main band and also provides cover if required.
The band's career can also be followed in broadcasting, helping to raise funds on BBC's Children in Need and ITV's Telethon, performances on ITV's Highway and Lets Rejoice, not to mention numerous local and national radio broadcasts. For the band serving the community is time best spent, playing in local parks, Galas and Fetes, Old Folks homes, Boys Brigade Services, Church Services from Inverness to Perth, not forgetting a wedding or two.
In Recent Times
1999 was an excellent year for the band. The year started well with the appointment of Glasgow based professional conductor Anthony Swainson, who led the band to victory in the Second Section at the Scottish Championships in Motherwell. This was followed by a very well deserved third place at the National Finals held in Nottingham in September.
2000 progressed in similar style. Tony once again led the band to victory in the First Section at the Scottish Championships in Troon and the band went on once more to represent Scotland at the National Finals of Great Britain. This year, to mark the new millennium, all grades were held in the Royal Albert Hall in London. A very creditable 9th place was achieved off a disappointing number 1 draw however in the opinion of many it is the finest that the band has played on a contest platform for several years.
2001 saw the band back in the Championship Section competing against the 'Big Boys'. A very creditable 7th position was obtained playing Jazz, a piece that some say is the hardest test-piece ever written for Brass Band, thus ensuring their status as a Championship section band was maintained.
2002 was the bands 40th anniversary, and what a year we had! With trips to Regensburg, a gala concert with the Fodens Band, and the production of our first commercial CD recording, it is easy to see that the Bon-Accord Silver Bands are still going strong.
2003 saw the A band return to the Championship section and another trip to the National Finals
2005 began with a new professional conductor for the A band - Duncan Beckley. After a good outing to the Scottish Championships with both bands, the bands have gone from strength to strength with an excellent result at Whitburn and several fantastic concert performances under their belts. Our 2nd CD was produced with South/Central Aberdeenshire Youth Brass Band and Aberdeen City Youth Brass Band.
2007 again brought a host of new faces to Bon-Accord Band. This year we have been fortunate enough to work with such high profile conductors as John Maines, John Roberts, and Richard Evans as well as Duncan Beckley.
2008 began with yet another face to lead the band. We welcomed Morten Hansen from Norway and following an impressive outing at the Scottish Championships we retained our Championship Section status for 7 consecutive years!