The home of the Bon-Accord Silver Bands
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