The information set out in this history has been collated from the Band Treasurers' records, Band programmes and other surviving documents, from welcome and sometimes unexpected information provided by past and present members and, to a slight extent, from my own confused and incomplete memory as a Band member over the past 24 years or so.
Any contributions that you can make to correcting errors, providing a more humourous content and filling in gaps will be extremely welcome.
Please make use of the e-mail button on the menu adjacent to forward your information. Copies of photographs relating to the Band will be extremely welcome, being much more interesting and informative and breaking the monotony of words alone (my words not yours).
The Band first convened in April 1957. Inverurie Provost John D. Smith, a driving force in its formation thought that it would be an asset to the town and a boost to tourism.
Sandy Hardie, a founder member when he joined as a lad of 15, is still playing with the Band today. He remembers the local butcher, Johnstone Still, going around the country collecting people for the very first Band meeting.
Funds were raised during the year, principally by donations from benefactors, other pipe bands, local clubs, whist drives and lotteries. Outlay was mostly to Charles Smith for instruments:-
The first pipe major was the late Sandy Ross from Kintore. Sandy Hardie still has his pipes.
An account was opened with Hugh Macpherson, the Edinburgh kilt maker and pipe band supplier. Macpherson's, provided the first kilts
and uniforms and further pipes and equipment, including
The Band chose and still wears the Ancient Leslie tartan.
Income came from donations (£200 from the Town Council), sales, dances and raffles - outgoings on instruments, uniforms, and tuition.
William Stewart, a founder member now living in Canada provided the following information, "Pipe Major Sandy Ross was called Daddler, but for some reason he was referred to as Daddler Aitken rather than Daddler Ross".
"The first appearance of members of the Inverurie Pipe band in their new uniforms was by the four band pipers with previous experience, Daddler Aitken, Charlie Barron, George Robertson and myself. We led a small parade from the Town Hall down the High Street. I remember members of the council and Johnstone Still being part of the parade, but have no idea what official capacity it represented. My fondest(!?) memory of the occasion was that I had rushed home to the Port where I lived, tried to dress myself in band uniform for the first time, managed a loose fitting of the plaid, failed miserably to do up all the buttons on the spats (being totally unaware of the existence of such a tool as a button hook) then having to rush down to the Town Hall (via a refurbishing from Charlie Barron in the Banks of Ury) in order that I could play back the way I had come."
William notes that, "It was mentioned (above) that several of the Band members were employed in the Inverurie Locomotive Works. Which might explain why one of the Band's first outdoor appearances was at Harlaw Park, home of the junior Loco Works. We provided the half time entertainment, and were well received by the local crowd, which was not all that surprising, because Loco Works supporters had a history of being long suffering!
William also forwarded the picture adjacent with this message, "... this photo (which appeared in the Inverurie Advertiser? Webmaster) is of the Inverurie Pipe Band in its first year of public playing, leading the provost and council down the High Street, past John Benzies garage, and soon to pass, unfortunately for thirsty players, the Banks of Ury Hotel, where the Band originally practised. I am the first identifiable piper on the right hand side, and would have been fifteen when the photo was taken. Perhaps Sandy Hardie (middle piper-second row) and I should have reached some compromise on kilt length, mine being too short, his too long."
Practices were still held in the hall at the Banks of Ury pub. (5/- a night) This continued until 1968.
The Band was becoming more established.
Income came from a wider range of events, including a "Band Display and performances at dances at Mintlaw and for The People's Journal - from £10 to £37 2/6 per event.
William Stewart recalls, "I have several memories from our attempts to make money from dances. The first was that we tended to play at places which featured old time dancing and in venues which had some sympathy for piping, such as at Insch which had at that time a band of its own - Insch and Rothney Pipe Band. To me the most memorable evening, however, and the one in which most money might have been garnered was in the Inverurie Railway Hall. While we played during the dance band break a collection was taken on the floor. Some well-liquored louts in the gallery contributed willingly - using the projectile approach. Fortunately no one suffered any damage, and the proceeds, albeit mostly copper, were always welcome. Times have certainly changed - the projectiles are now part of the football scene rather than the dance scene."
Outgoings went towards instrument spares and tuition. William Cruickshank gave piping lessons, George Cruickshank provided pipe bags and reeds, D. Cruickshank provided drum spares. A. Fraser gave drumming lessons.
"Displays" held at Inverurie, Stonehaven and Ellon. Takings ranging from £4 15/3 (a wet day?) to £23 11/8 were by collection from spectators. The organisers offered no fee! Income also from "Whist and Draw" in the Town Hall.
William Stewart's first recollection of playing at Tarlair was in 1960, "and on that occasion we had some dancers with us. Lavinia Taylor, daughter of John Taylor the blacksmith, had a dance school at the junction of Western Road (then Burn Lane) and North Street. Some highland dancers from her school accompanied us and I accompanied them. Doug Duncan, one of the original band members, was a fine highland dancer. He stood beside me as I played to make sure my timing was correct for the dancers."
The tradition began of leading the British Legion Armistice Parade.
Uniform account with Hugh Macpherson was paid off. Otherwise expenditure mainly on instrument maintenance and insurance.
Income from various committee's donations and "Displays" at Banff, Inverurie, Ellon. One of the highlights was playing at Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen. The City Council paid a fee of £34.
Practices at Banks of Ury and Inverurie Town Hall - still 5/- a night.
Outgoings as before. Final repayment made to Johnstone Still of his loan towards starting up the Band
Performances held at Inverurie, Tarlair (Macduff), Hazlehead, Shepherds' Friendly Society and Armistice Church Parades.
Other income raised from "Social and Dance", and £5 from Aberdeen University Charities Campaign.
Expenditure on kit maintenance, etc..
Performances held at Methlick and Inverurie, including the Gala Week and the Rotary Club Gymkhana.
Dinner dance held.
Income from fees and collections did not offset losses from Tarlair and a "Series of Dances"!
Performances held at Tarlair, Inverurie and Aberchirder.
Income provided by various committee and individuals' donations + £10 from Aberdeen University Charities Campaign.
|1965 - 1967||
Performances at Union Terrace, Inverurie Gala, Tarlair, Aberchirder, Hazlehead, Armistice Parade. Also a performance in 1967 at Chapel of Garioch picnic.Income and outgoings as before plus losses at various functions. Collections did not always cover the hire of the bus!!
|1968 -||A busy year with repeat "Displays" at Tarlair, Banff, Turriff, Inverurie (also Gala and Railway Club), Port Elphinstone, Shepherds' Friendly Society Parade.|
Displays at Inverurie, Inverurie Gala, Turriff and Tarves.
The Band played at its first competition, at Oldmeldrum. It didn't compete again until the early 90's. At this time the Band preferred to play at galas and fêtes rather than compete.
|1970 - 1977||
The Band ceased playing for a few years in the seventies, with no record of performances between 1970 and 1977.
Some donations and minor expenditure. No records from 1971 to 75.
|1978 - 1979||
Norman Masson now Pipe Major.
Performances held at Insch Gala, Fyvie Fête, Rowan Fair - Keith, Port Thistle match, Garioch Arcade, Hopeville Social Club, Bennachie BBQ, Mossat and Alford.
£467 raised at jumble sale, coffee morning and Christmas raffle.
Practices held at the Banks of Ury, and now also at Market Place School.
More kit bought through Highland House Edinburgh.
|1980 -||Engagements carried out, but details not recorded.
Significant funds raised through a Dinner Dance (Gordon Arms) and raffle. Grant received from Gordon District Council
Significant payments made to Highland House Edinburgh and Turriff & District Pipe Band (for replenishing equipment??).
From 1981 to '88 the Band's activities continued in much the same pattern as above. During the year, the Band performed at 16 events included:-
Later in 1988, one of the periodic upheavals, common to all pipebands occurred, of disagreements and key personnel moving on. The Band nearly ceased to function..........
George Macpherson (ex-Gordon Highlander) was elected in the October 1988 AGM to take on the role of Pipe Major, which he did for over seven years. George built up the Band from a handful of players, took the lead in teaching newcomers, persuaded colleagues from Aberdeen to fill the ranks of the drum corps, and introduced a lot of new ideas into the Band. We practised at St Andrews school in Inverurie and later in the Academy.
In October, Jim and Esmie Stephenson of Stephenson's Motors began their sponsorship of the Band. This lasted for several years. One of their initial acts of assistance was to pay for a new set of drums.
We practised at St Andrews school in Inverurie and later in the Academy.
Various fund raising activities were pursued, including raffling a Mini in the 3rd quarter of the year! An ideal way to trigger a nervous breakdown! The prize winner was an elderly lady from Kemnay who didn't drive!
We discarded the worn out and expensive No.1 uniform for the Argyll jacket and day sporran which most bands parade in today.
The Band embarked on a heavy programme of events from May through to November. This included:-
Members celebrated the year with an October Dance in the Town Hall.
The Band's programme of events this year included:-
This year, for the first time, the Band began to compete regularly in local competitions at Grade IV level. It also competed at one of the major competitions held at Alness.
In June, Inverurie Round Table presented a cheque for £500 to assist with band funds.
A dance was held in the Town Hall in October.
The Band's programme of events included:-
Formal photos of the Band were taken during the visit to Daviot House.
The Band competed in the spring time quartettes at Powis Academy, in local competitions at Turriff, Meldrum Sports, Aberdeen Games at Hazlehead and at the European Championships in Arbroath and the World Championships at Bellahouston, Glasgow.
Brian Martin provided snare drum tuition from March of 1992 until May of 1994. Ann Diack (later Selbie) provided tenor and bass drum tuition during the spring of the year.
Surplus drums were sold on to Buckie Pipe Band. A public raffle in and about Inverurie raised £1374 net.
The Annual Dance was held in the Town Hall on the 25th September.
The programme of events for the year included:-
The Band competed at local competitions at Turriff, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeen Highland Games at Hazlehead, and at Aboyne, winning a 4th prize at Oldmeldrum. It also competed in the European Pipe Band Championships in the Callendar Park, Falkirk on the 22nd May.
Drum Major David Rae and (very) Junior Drum Major Lee Armstrong attended the first of a series of drum major's courses.
The remaining surplus old drums were sold to the Kentish Pipe Band
A dance was held in September in the Town Hall.
The Band entered the miniband competition at St Machar Academy, Aberdeen. It also competed at Turriff, Oldmeldrum, Hazlehead in Aberdeen, and at Aboyne and Mintlaw. It won 3rd prize at Meldrum Sports and 4th prize at Hazlehead. The Band competed in June at the European Pipe Band Championships in Hawick and in August at the World Championships at Bellahouston, Glasgow.
The Band's programme of events included:-
Pipe Major Robert Mathieson visited the Band during the year and provided instruction and advice about playing and setting up the pipes.
Brian Martin provided side drum tuition until May of the year. Gordon Forbes provided further tuition later in the year. Drum Major David Rae and junior Drum Major Lee Armstrong attended further drum major's courses.
Esme Stephenson kindly made a donation of £350 during the year.
A dance was held in the Town Hall in October.
The Band competed at:-
The Drum Major won a prize at Aboyne while the playing Band won prizes at Oldmeldrum, Hazlehead and Mintlaw.
The Band's programme of events included:-
Gordon Forbes continued to provide tuition to the side drummers.
The Band received an award of £2000 from Jolson to help with the Band funds. Gordon District Council provided a grant of £1000 and Grampian Regional Council £300. Gordon Forum For The Arts donated £195 and The British Legion £65, over and above their usual Armistice collection.
The Band moved its practice venue from the Academy to the British Legion
A Stovie Dance was held in Inverurie Town Hall on the 28th October, tickets £5.00
George Macpherson decided he needed a rest from the heavy commitment of Pipe Major (the art of delegation never being his strong point). John Wallace, ex-St. Andrews Band, who had joined us in 1994 took over as Pipe Major.
The Band competed at:-
Prizes were won at Oldmeldrum, Hazlehead Turiff and Mintlaw.
The Band's programme of events included:-
James Gorgon from the St Andrews' area provided periodic drum tuition.
When George Macpherson decided to move on, the Drum Major and most of the drum corps left also. Band activity was reduced to playing at local events and galas.
A difficult period followed for a couple of years or so, trying to obtain a local drum tutor and build up a new drum corps. James Gorgon still came up from St Andrews to tutor from time to time.
Many pipers moved on to other bands that were more able to appear at engagements and to compete.
The Band was still able to perform at Blythwood, Aberchirder Flower Show and for Armistice Parade.
The British Legion in Inverurie very graciously continued to allow us to practice in its premises while we were in no position to raise the funds for hire of a school hall.
The pipers were fortunate in having two very experienced players in charge, namely Pipe Major, John Wallace, and Bill Grant, Chairman of the Band. Both had played for many years with the Grade 2 St. Andrews Pipe Band in Fife. Bill Grant took the lead in instructing learner pipers, while John concentrated on tutoring and maintaining the performing band.
The drummers were less fortunate in obtaining a suitable tutor for the fledgling drum corps. For a considerable period of time the drum corps had to rely on tuition every few Sundays from James Gorgon and then Sandy Bain from the St. Andrews' area, two top class drumming colleagues of John Wallace. Ken MacLennan, also a learner, and latterly Leading Drummer, and Michelle Reid held the fort in between times, passing on the learning to the other drummers at Band practices in intervening weeks.
We pooled our resources for two seasons with the Faithlie Pipe Band from Fraserburgh, mainly our pipers and their drummers. In 1998, this allowed us to appear at events that included:-
Eventually, fortune began to turn our way. With the increasing membership, ranging in age from eight to fifty seven, and the need to learn to play on the march, the Band moved its practice night venue back to the Academy. Sandy Bain continued to provide long distance drumming tuition, supported from time to time by Lorraine Sinclair on the bass section.
The Band had a very busy year playing at events throughout Aberdeenshire. Details can be seen on the Programme Page for 1999. Other events not recorded there included:-
The photos in the Album Page were taken at some of the engagements we appeared at in 1999 and 2000.
We began to enter local competitions again. The Band competed at:-
A priority was to replace the ageing drums and provide instruments and uniforms for the increasing numbers able to appear on parade. A Lottery grant of £4000 allowed the Band to take delivery of new drums in October. We raised another £2750 by a sponsored walk up Mither Tap on Bennachie where we held a band performance followed by a barbeque at the Back 'o Bennachie. See the photos on the Album Page.
Our priority for the year was to maintain the enthusiasm of learners, players and organisers alike. The Band began looking for sponsors to help promote it and fund the running expenses.
We were able to resume a full engagement programme. Click here to see the Band programme for 2000. Other Band events not recorded included:-
The Band competed at local competitions at Oldmeldrum, Aboyne and Mintlaw. The first outings for a novice drum corps!
In July, Barry Schyma from Aberdeen took over from Sandy Bain as drum tutor. Being able to tutor more regularly and on practice nights made a great difference and the results began to show.
|2001 -||[HOLD] Information outstanding.|
Following a two to three year period in the doldrums, the Band experienced two years of growth over the millenium, both in numbers and in the development of new members' skills and experience. Numbers stabilised when Bill Grant was tutoring junior piping members, and John Wallace managed the senior band. Numbers began to wane again as members moved on and other priorities took hold of youngsters' lives. Regular tuition for side drummers also became a problem again when instructor, Barry Schyma, moved south. The more senior drummers tutored the beginners and provided continuity in between instruction sessions with experienced visiting drum tutors. However, at the end of the 2002 season, Brendon Hadden took over the role for a short period, providing continuity of instruction to the drum corps and improvement to its playing standards.
The Band had quite a full programme this year. See the Photo Album
The highlight of the year was the Band's first overseas trip, accompanied by the Fullerton family from Kintore, to take part in Måløy Dagene, a week long music festival with a military core theme on the island of Måløy, some 120 miles north of Bergen on the coast of Norway. We slept in a couple of schoolrooms at the Skram Skole. Along with Dalkeith and Towie pipe bands we took part in parades through the streets of the town and an evening broadcast concert from a stage on a quayside. On the final evening we played and paraded in a military style tattoo in an amphitheatre up the mountainside. At 2a.m. the following morning, we paraded through the streets, leading the Shetland Up Helly A'a team finishing with a ceremonial boat burning by the waterside.
Thanks to Helge Hjelle and his team for their hospitality and to the organisers of the canteens who fed and watered us every day. Thanks too to our spouses for keeping us hydrated during the hot parades through the town.
It was a bit stressful at times when the organisers gave us very little notice of what they wanted from us, when and where. However, we were very well looked after, put up on our first night at the Montana Hostel with panoramic views from high above Bergen, before an amazing journey of about 240km on a high speed hurtigbåt among the islands and across the fjords, north to Måløy. Much of the time we were travelling at well over 40kts. On our last day we were taken up the Nordfjord to vist the Briksdal glacier above Olden, before a final barbecue and being bussed back to Bergen.
See the Photo Album for 2003.
The Band had a full programme this year. See the Photo Album
The highlight of year 2004 was another overseas trip, this time to Calella on the coast of Catalunia, north of Barcelona. See the Photo Album for details.
Our numbers were boosted by Calum Galleitch from Edinburgh area and some players from Ellon band.
We were very well looked after by the mayor and his staff, by our minder, Ricard and by Grace from the tourism office. Unlike Måløy, performances were mostly later in the day, giving lots of time for sightseeing as far as Barcelona, with plenty of information provided by Grace.
We will always be grateful to the mayor and Grace for their help and concern when Stewart, our bass drummer, fell seriously ill as we departed, and spent several weeks in hospital in Barcelona.
Later in the year, John Wallace stood down as Pipe Major after 9 hard years, building the band from the difficult times of 1997-98 to one which competed from time to time at local competitions. The Band was very fortunate that David Webster, a member of RAF Kinloss Pipe Band and who had been practising with us for some time, agreed to take on the role of Pipe Major.
The Band had a fairly modest programme this year. Highlights of the year were playing a couple of times in the massed bands prior to rugby matches at Murrayfield in May and again in November when Scotland played the All Blacks. The atmosphere when playing on the pitch in the centre of the stadium is overwhelming.
The Band flourished during the year and playing standards improved. One of the highlights was at the Braemar Games when the Quenn presented P/M David Webster with the Braemar Royal Highland Society Pipe Band Shield for best Band. In reality we were awarded it for bravery under fire. We were playing for the Drum Major's mace tossing competition when we found ourselves having to take avoiding action. John Baillie and Dougald Robertson were 'volunteered' to play the party receiving awards to the Royal Box from the Secretary's Tent and back again. To date they are still awaiting their 'By Appointment' insignia.
2007 marked Inverurie Pipeband's 50 year jubilee. We celebrated by holding a ceilidh in the Kintore Arms Hotel in (month?).
The Band had a fairly full engagement programme this year, comprising a mixture of regular engagements and a few new and one-off events.
A highlight of the year was taking part in a massed band performance at Invercauld Castle near Braemar at 09.30 in the evening of 24th November. After refreshment in the dance hall, we appeared out of the dark, playing across a snow covered field and countermarched right in front of the visiting guests before disappearing again out of the floodlit area into the misty darkness.
See the Photo Album.
Again, the Band had a full engagement programme; again a mixture of regular engagements, new and one-off events. In May we played at a fête in Udny Green for Breast Cancer, sponsored by "Eat on the Green". John and Dougald went back to the restaurant later in the year to play during a 24hr charity event. Many thousands of pounds were raised.
Requests for mini-bands at wedding receptions seem to be on the increase. We turned down one too far away - near Fort William!
We paraded through Inverurie on St. Andrew's Day as part of the massed band . The event was more successful than the organisers expected and will hopefully develop to become a regular fixture.
The Band was concerned about the lack of young pipers coming in to the band and the steady loss of drummers through natural wastage without any mechanism for replacing them. More strenuous efforts will be made to recruit a drum tutor and to set up systems for tutoring learner pipers and drummers.
Thanks are given to the Kinloss Bass Drummers who stood in at various events for Stewart Hay who was recovering from surgery over much of the season.
The highlight of the year was being asked to play for Stromness Shopping Week in Orkney. We bussed to Scrabster and took the ferry round Hoy to Stromness. We stayed in the Stromness Hotel, which at the head of the old harbour was at the centre of the celebrations. Apart from ourselves there was public entertainment daily, at the harbour head and in parades through the town. We had time one day to tour the main island and explore archaeological sites. The grande finâle was playing in the parade of floats on the Saturday night.
Many thanks to the organisers for their hospitality and to the drummers from Stromness for helping us out.
This year was the first time that we had been invited to play at Nairn Highland Games. We thoroughly enjoyed our day, the more so because of the kindness and thoughtfulness of our hosts and organisers.
A second appearance at Nairn Highland Games, as enjoyable as the previous year.
This was the first year that we had been asked to play at Mintlaw Gala, which looked like becoming a regular feature.
An enjoyable, but one-off appearance at Invercairn Gala. Fraserburgh band which usually plays at the gala was competing that day, so passed the event on to us.
Unfortunately we couldn't play at Nairn, as Aberchirder Flower Show had changed the weekend for their event.
We played at the Glengarioch Distillery Open Day as a measure of thanks for the distillery allowing us again to use their premises during the school summer holiday.
The St. Andrew's Day Parade was brought forward a week, now more correctly known as the Inverurie Christmas Lights' Parade. Got to be careful of titles in these politically correct times.
We lost three regular events and thought that we would be short of engagements and income this year. We declined to play at Braemar in June. Mintlaw Gala was cancelled after we had turned down a Drumhead Service in New Deer for the same day in order to play at Mintlaw. Aberchirder Flower Show was cutting back its programme drastically and didn't need a band.
We thought that we were too late to respond to the invitation from Nairn Highland Games. However, Nairn kindly agreed to us playing and we finished up with a near record 15 engagements, with 5 in August, the busiest month.
As the Band funds were in good order we replaced our white hose with Lovat Green and our tired sporrans with a better style.
We started the year by playing at a couple of celebrations, for snare drummer Rebecca's parents, and then for an 80th birthday at Pittodrie House. We had another celebration in August at Jim and Sheila's wedding, Jim Gordon being one of our pipers.
Other events were mostly old faithfuls, but we were proud on the 12th of July to lead the parade to the marquee in The Games Park as part of the 200th celebration of The Braemar Friendly Society.
It's good to see that the fake political correctness around the referendum has abated and that St. Andrew's Day Parade is once again - St. Andrew's Day Parade.