Penicuik Silver Band



Allison was famous and this taste of fame encouraged him to throw all he had into making Penicuik Band famous.   Under Allison, Penicuik entered for the contest which was held at the Marine Gardens, Portobello in October 1911.   At that time there were only three sections in the competition.   The test piece for the third section was Audran's "La Mascotte''.   Penicuik came second.   A special train had been laid on for Penicuik that day, and now Penicuik was buzzing with excitement.   The Band really meant something to the public.   The band fund was still a source of worry to the committee, but now it was easier to appeal to the public.


In May 1912 a choir of some 100 voices was formed with Allison as conductor.   A concert was held in the Tower Park to raise funds and Polton Band were there to add support.   In addition to music, there was football, hoop-la and shooting, as well as tea and refreshments.   It is said that 2,000 people were there   The success of the programme was due to George Logan (Secretary), John Smith (President) and John Blair



The Band and conductor gained more honours when they took part in the 1912 contest in the Marine Gardens, Portobello, coming second out of nine bands.   The test piece that year was "Macbeth".   The Band continued to improve, and in the 1913 contest they tied with Buckhaven for first place (of eight bands) in the third section, playing the test piece “National Songs of Great Britain and Ireland”.   This win put them into the second section.

Unfortunately 1914 did not bring any competition success.


Penicuik Band c1912


In 1915 the Town Band and the Salvation Army Band joined forces as the Band of the Third Royal Scots.   Of course they would all be back soon, so most people thought, but as time went on they were disbanded.   The sound of music gave place to the din of war.   The Band did not go through the war unscathed.   Five members of the Silver Band and two members of the Royal Scots paid with their lives.


In November 1918 a public meeting was held to consider the reconstituting of the Band.   Provost Chisholm was in the chair and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed to make application to the Town Council to release the instruments which had been in their custody since the Royal Scot Band was dispersed.   Eight old members and 16 new members promised to join, and Mr Purves and Mr Wm. Ritchie, the former bandmaster of the Salvation Army Band took up the duties of bringing on new players until March 1939 when Allison was demobbed.   In no time at all the band was in contest shape.   In fact several contests of a minor nature were held.   In four of these Penicuik won prizes.   The usual concerts to which the public were accustomed were revived.   It is interesting to bring to mind some of the artistes.   Mr Charles Smith, Miss Mary Allan, Mr John Watson of Innerleithen, Miss Love, Mr Robert Black, Emma Quiiln, Nettie Monteith and Adam Stewart.   The Band was now in the second section and in 1920 they gained fifth place.   In 1921 there were so many entries in the second section that it was decided to have an east section held at Kirkcaldy and a west section in Glasgow.   Penicuik won first place at Kirkcaldy and the Band was now in the Championship section.


Penicuik Band c1921


Penicuik were now up against the best bands in Scotland but with Allison at the helm, Penicuik were placed third out of fourteen bands in 1922.   The test piece was "Jossonda".   1923 was the last time that the Penicuik Band appeared in the first section at championship contests.   During preparations for the contest Allison fell ill.   Noel Thorpe was brought up from England two weeks before the contest.   Thorpe and the Band  worked hard and gained third place, although this was altered to second place when the band which had been placed first was disqualified.   The medal for the best euphonium soloist went to J McLean.


1924 was not a good year in terms of prizes and 1925 was the end of the Allison era.   Allison handed in his resignation, as did the Chairman Alex Allen, who resigned on the death of his wife.   J Logan had also recently resigned owing to illness.   You can imagine the disappointment that was felt by the Band, and by the public.   Two excellent men from the committee and their hero, Allison, had resigned.    There were however still good musicians, and Albert Taylor took over as Conductor.   Albert Taylor was a very fine French Horn player, playing in the Royal Scots Band where he doubled on viola.   His Tenor Horn playing in Penicuik Band was first class.


Penicuik Band c 1922

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