Band Profile

The Band Founder

Stewart Watson

Stewart Watson, the founder of the Bon-Accord Silver Band, was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the 1996 Birthday Honours List for his service to music in the North East of Scotland. He was, however, unable to collect his award due to a sudden illness from which he unfortunately did not recover.

August 1938 saw the start of Stewart's playing career in Aberdeen's Boy's Brigade Silver Band. He continued to play with the band until being called up for army service in 1944. Depending on where he was stationed, Stewart played with the City of Perth Band, Carlisle and St Stephens Band and the Osset Town Band, returning to Aberdeen's Boy's Brigade Silver Band in 1947.

After the war, Stewart resumed his time served career as a grocer, working for the Northern Co-operative Society, now the Scottish Co-op. Hoping one day to become a brass band conductor, Stewart began studying for qualifications which finally earned him a L.T.C.L. in conducting.

In 1953, Stewart was appointed Musical Director of Aberdeen’s Boy’s Brigade Silver Band, a position he still held until his death. One of his most memorable occasions with the BB Band was in 1958 when the Boy’s Brigade Council visited Balmoral Castle.

In 1960, after a short spell as Secretary with the Aberdeen City Band, Stewart was appointed Musical Director of the Stoneywood Silver Band (now the Granite City Brass Band) and spent three successful contesting years with them, achieving prize placings at every Scottish Championships.

In 1959, Stewart was appointed Brass Instructor for Aberdeen Schools, a career that lasted until his retirement in 1992. During this period he conducted the Aberdeen Music Centre Senior Brass Band, taking them on annual courses and foreign tours. In 1962, with help from John Dalby, the superintendent of Schools Music, Stewart formed the Bon-Accord Silver Band, a former pupils band. This was to be the jewel in his crown.

Complete with 100% dedication, Stewart drove the Bon-Accord Silver Band from the bottom to the top of Scottish banding, achieving qualification to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain nine times during his reign. One of his highlights was in 1983, when he led the band onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall London in the Championship section, performing after the famous Black Dyke Mills Band. But it was on home ground that he carved a reputation for the Band, serving the community playing local church services, Boy's and Girl's Brigade services, nursing homes, local parks and fetes. Indeed by 1979 the Band had grown so big that he formed the Bon-Accord Silver ‘B’ Band. Stewart finally retired as the Band's Musical Director in 1993 and was appointed Chairman, a position he held until his death. Although retired as Aberdeen's Senior Brass Instructor in 1992, Stewart's career was far from over. He was appointed Director of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland after serving 32 years as a tutor, held the positions of Secretary of the Northern Counties Brass Band Association, Chairman of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, Musical Director of the Boy's Brigade Silver Band and Chairman of the Bon-Accord Silver Band.

No wonder he was called Aberdeen's
Man 0' Brass

Recent Times

Historical Photos of

Bon-Accord Silver Band

Bon-Accord Silver Band before heading off to the National Brass Band Championships

Some of the members pictured here still play in the bands!

Leaving for the Royal Albert Hall

Bon-Accord Silver Band after playing in the Royal Albert Hall in 1977

Bon-Accord Silver Band in the Union Terrace Gardens

Bon-Accord Silver Band taking part in an aerobics class after a rehearsal

Stewart Watson and Moira Ross pose for a photo with a large selection of trophies won by the bands

The band with conductor and founder Stewart Watson

Bon-Accord Silver Band celebrate success at the Aberdeen Beach Ballroom with conductor Stewart Watson

Bon-Accord Silver 'B' Band outside the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen

Bon-Accord Silver 'B' Band outside the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen

Stewart Watson and Eddie Paley, gone but not forgotten

Barry and Joanne Watson, Stewart Watson's grandchildren, started playing brass instruments at a young age

The band in Regensburg in 1992 celebrating their 30th birthday

1995 Sponsored Blow - the band climb Bennachie to play a concert at the top

The band show off their trophy haul in 1997 with David Lever at the helm

Bon-Accord Silver Band outside the Royal Albert Hall in 2000 at the National Brass Band Championships

Bon-Accord Silver Band on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000

The band on the Castle Trail - 8 concerts at 8 castles in 8 hours - for sponsorship for the Bon-Accord Silver 'B' Band to attend the National Brass Band Championships in Cardiff in 2006

The band with conductor Duncan Beckley in 2006

Bon-Accord Silver Band outside the Brucknerhaus in Linz after performing at the 2010 European Brass Band Championships (image courtesy of Goldy Solutions)

Old friends catch up at the 50th Anniversary dinner dance in 2013

Bon-Accord Silver 'B' Band performing at the Fife Charities Contest with conductor Richard Kidd

Bon-Accord Silver 'B' Band showing off their new walking-out polo shirts at Cheltenham at the National Brass Band Championships in 2012