Penicuik Silver Band


6.  THE EARLY 1900s

It is interesting to note that J Ord Hume arranged the first two pieces for the Crystal Palace contests where the best of bands competed.   These pieces were arrangements of compositions by Sir Arthur Sullivan.   At the time Sullivan was still alive and it was he who initiated the contest.   In his honour his works were played in competition two years running.


The Band was in a serious position in 1902.   Practices were at a standstill and eventually the instruments were called in pending the reorganisation of the Band.   To secure a bandmaster in succession to Ord Hume was not easy but eventually Andrew Ireland was engaged.


Ireland took duties as bandmaster on 9th April 1903.   He was a success from the start and he got the Band into contest shape again.   Lack of money still shadowed the efforts of the Band however.   One new way to raise funds was a singing competition for amateurs.   This was held in the Cowan Institute, now the Town Hall, and attracted singers from Edinburgh, Leith and Musselburgh, as well as one or two locals.   In all 21 competitors took part.   This venture had meagre support.


The Band still continued to play before the public, playing in Valleyfield House Gardens and - a point of interest here - also in the Public Park which had been gifted to Penicuik by Provost Wilson in 1904.   Money was still hard to come by.   All sorts of ventures had been tried - even whippet racing - but none seemed to be successful.   Ireland was beginning to lose heart because it was impossible to have a balanced band for want of cornet players.   The bandsmen were doing extra work at the mills, and night after night only half the Band were attending because of this.   Lack of practice made it impossible for the Band to turn out, with the result that the public were grumbling.   Eventually in 1906 Ireland left and a Robert Dickson took over, but the Band was on the downhill.   Half of the instruments that they had could only be described by the chairman as "old brass".


This was not very encouraging to players who were still trying to keep going.   At a public meeting, it was agreed that instruments should be called in until such time as public interest resulted in funds becoming available.   Hence, in 1907 the Penicuik Town Band became defunct.

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