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Music Recreation Hamilton Park War Years
Social History - Music
Stonehouse Pipe Band
Stonehouse Silver Band
Stonehouse Male Voice Choir
A' the Airts Burns Club
Stonehouse Folk Club

Stonehouse Pipe Band
The pipe band was formed on 11th October 1899 under Pipe Major Hector McInnes, accompanied by his two sons on drums and Peter Summers as his Drum-Major.. They formed the foundations of the band. It grew steadily, practising originally in Townhead School. It was a competing band and had their most notable success in 1909 when it set a world record winning the Argyle and Lauder Shields at the Cowal Games. This was undoubtedly their most successful period, winning many trophies including; county champions between 1902-1905, three Lauder shields and one Argyle third between 1910-1912 and after the Great War a Lauder second and Graham Moffat Cup in 1919.

The band was self supporting and relied on fund raising events and members contributions to pay for instruments, uniforms and sheet music. In 1935 they appealed for financial support from the community to buy a new set of uniforms. Throughout the next year, various fund raising events took place and they obtained their new uniforms in June 1936. Originally the band wore the Macgregor tartan but later changed to the Hamilton dress tartan in the 1930’s, donated by Mrs Janet Millar of Tinto View (Mrs Millar was a sister of Alexander Hamilton of Kidderminster who gifted the public park to the village).

The band began to decline around 1939-40. Fierce competition from other bands with financial backing put increasing pressure on the Stonehouse band and they found it difficult to compete. Industrial depression, financial problems and differences of opinion began to cause friction within the band. They broke up several times throughout the years but always reformed again. They finally disbanded around the late 1940’s, though the Junior band was still playing into the mid-70’s.

Stonehouse Silver Band
Stonehouse Silver Band was founded around 1901-1902. This band was also self-supporting and relied on subscriptions and fund raising events to raise money to buy music, instruments and uniforms. The early years of the band were spent giving local concerts and fund raising events. Throughout the war years they gave concerts for wounded soldiers in hospital and regularly played at the Palace Picture House and the Rex. Also a competing band, they were very successful from 1919 and through the 1920’s. In 1919 they won the Scottish Championships and their trombone player James Chalmers was the British Empire Champion Trombonist. They had the reputation of being one of the best bands in Scotland throughout the 1920’s.

Bob Chalmers led the band during this period. Some may also remember him as a regular correspondent in the Advertiser during the 1920’s under the pseudonym of ‘Couplaw’.In the thirties the band began to decline, probably due to the industrial depression, financial problems and a general lack of interest. In 1936 a meeting was called which resulted in the bands demise.

Stonehouse Male Voice Choir
Towards the end of 1935, in the work yard of George Wilson in Green Street, a few of the employees would gather together at lunchtime to sing. They enjoyed this so much that they decided to form a choir. A meeting was held in the Public Hall on 10th January 1936 and Stonehouse Male Voice Choir was formally established with 26 members, all of them local men. The conductor, Robert K. Chalmers (d1957), was one of the original group of men who sang in the yard.

Originally, the choir practised in Townhead School on Monday evenings. However, after some time the education authority informed the choir that if they wished to continue to use the school, they would have to be under the auspices of the Education Department. This would mean that the Education Department would be involved in the management of the choir and would decide which engagements they would undertake. The choir wished to remain an independent body and so moved from the school to the Congregational Church and later to Paterson Church where they still practise today.

In the early days, performances were mostly local with their first annual concert performance in January 1937. Throughout the years the choir has gone from strength to strength. A slight setback was suffered in the 1970’s when the number of members fell dramatically. This was probably due to the development of other forms of entertainment and a general lack of interest. However the choir survived this period and now has fifty to sixty members who come from all over Lanarkshire. Performances take them all over Scotland and they have an extensive repertoire. In 1990 they became members of the Scottish Massed Male Voice Choir and appeared on television in a performance from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, accompanied by Strathclyde Police Pipe Band and the Scottish CWS Band. The choir is more successful now than ever, and popularity is increasing steadily by year.

A’ the Airts Burns Club
A popular organisation in the village, A’ the Airts Burns Club is among the best and oldest in Scotland today. With regular meetings every month in the Public Institute, the club endeavour to keep alive the memory of Robert Burns the narrative poet, through his song and verse. Records of the club date back to at least 1859, when meetings were held either in the Black Bull Hotel or the Buckshead Inn. At one time called the‘ Jolly Beggars’ the Burns Club was renamed ‘A’ the Airts’ in the early 70’s. The club has thrived with an array of talent including singers, recitals, mouth organs, guitars, squeeze boxes, whistles and bodhrans. The club is represented by all ages from eight to eighty promoting the friendship, spirit and character of the village. The Burns Club also play their part in supporting the Scottish whisky industry.

Stonehouse Folk Club
Formed in 1997, the Folk Club has been successful in bringing many of the country's best musicians to entertain audiences from across Lanarkshire and beyond. In a village steeped in musical history the club has provided residents the opportunity to come along and experience both traditional and contemporary folk music. The club moved from the Thistle Inn to the Cross Keys Inn, Queen Street in 2000, where the club continues to thrive and attract new audiences.

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