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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.



Langholm Town Band

One of the pioneers of Langholm Band was William N. Anderson, a local manufacturer. Regarded as a musician of some repute in the town, he officiated as conductor of the band for a number of years. The instruments used by the band at that period consisted of a mixture of wood-wind and brass: bands composed entirely of brass instruments are of a later date. " Wullie " Anderson died in 1871 and was succeeded by Thomas Tedcastle. Familiarly known as " Ted," he was recognized as a conductor of considerable ability, but his term of office was of brief duration, for he died in 1875. Tombstone inscriptions in Wauchope Kirkyard indicate that these two pioneer bandmasters closed their life's work at the comparatively early age of thirty-five and thirty-four respectively.

Possibly one of the most notable bandmasters was William Calvert, who held the position for several years; he died in 1893 at the age of seventy. At this distance it is difficult to realise that over half a century has gone since the departure of William, and the mind instinctively conjures up many a memorable incident in the lifetime of the Band when "auld Ca'vert" held sway. He was a familiar figure in the town in those days. Besides wielding the baton in the pleasurable exercise of his professional duties as bandmaster, he pursued some other vocation, and I have still a recollection of his portly figure as he made his regular calls, his pen protruding from a cluster of greyish curly hair somewhere in the region of his right ear, while a narrow ink bottle tied round the neck with a piece of black tape hung from the buttonhole of his waistcoat, ready for immediate use (!) Those were the days before the advent of the fountain pen, and William appears to have anticipated that very ingenious invention. In the " Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser " of 22nd June, 1927, there appeared the following paragraph relating to a singular honour gained by the band in Calvert's day, which deserves to be recorded here: " It is exactly fifty years ago next Saturday since Langholm Brass Band distinguished itself at a contest at Workington. The band was entered in the second and third sections, in both of which they took prizes, gaining fourth prize in the second section and first prize in the third section. The band had the distinction of being the first Scottish band to take a prize in England. The bandmaster was the late Mr. William Calvert, and the test pieces were Masnadiere (Verdi) and Quadrille Quickstep or March. A week later the " E. and L." published a further paragraph: " The members of the band who were at the Workington contest and are now alive, as far as is known, are: Charles Lunn, Alexander Main, John Elliot, John Maltman and William Thomson." Of this illustrious group who took part in the band contest of 1878, John Elliot, who died in 1937 in his 81st year, was the last survivor.

Before passing from these old-time notes relative to our Town Band, it may not be out of place to quote here a paragraph in which one cannot fail to observe that inimitable touch of homeliness and local pride characteristic of the town. It forms the tail-piece to the 1898 Common Riding report which appeared in the " E. and L." at that time, and reads as follows: "A word of praise is due to the Band. Throughout the day they played excellently and deserve every credit. Mr. J. B. Balfour (the bandmaster) certainly had the men in excellent condition. By the way, many might have noticed the badge which Mr. Balfour was wearing, but few would probably know the interesting history that clings about it. It was first worn by the drummer of Langholm Town Band in 1815. The same man wore it when the band welcomed the return of the Scots Greys during their passage through Langholm after Waterloo. The badge is the property of Mrs. Irving, Laird's Entry, her husband having been the original owner, and she gave it to Mr. Balfour to wear on the Common Riding Day."