Kilmarnock Aeolian Male Voice Choir
The Choir can trace its roots back to 1933 when it was
formed as an evening class under the control of the local Education Authority.
Members paid a fee of 7/6d (37p) to the Authority and the same amount as an
The first conductor was W. McLeod Nicholson and the Choir prospered under his leadership until the outbreak of World War II when all such activities were suspended.
The Choir restarted after the war with W. Bennet Brown as conductor, and some time later became independent of the Education Authority, with full responsibility for all expenses including hiring conductors and accompanists.
We have been fortunate over the years in obtaining highly talented and dedicated musicians for these positions. In fact, in addition to the two already mentioned there have only been six conductors of the Choir - Alex Boyd, John Cleland, James Clark, Peter Black, Alex Ferguson & David Walker
David Walker, a gifted young musician, joined us in 2013 as accompanist. David succeeded Maureen Smith, a hard act to follow, having served as accompanist and assistant musical director for 26 years - an amazing achievement.
The Choir continues in good heart but we are always conscious of the need to attract new and particularly younger members. To this end we have operated a Scholarship scheme for some years whereby senior pupils at local schools are paid to sing with us for a year as an introduction to choral singing. It is hoped that this will plant some seeds which will come to fruition in the future.
We give a number of concerts each year in aid of local charities, church organisations, etc, and the highlight of our year is our Annual Concert where we are helped by guest professional soloists. Our 80th Anniversary Concert in 2013 was compered by Scottish Tenor Jamie McDougall. 2019 saw us change our Annual Concert format & our Guests were from Loudoun Musical Society. With these talented individuals we performed “The Greatest Showmen & Friends” – Songs from the Musicals & Beyond. This was indeed a memorable night
We have also taken part a number of times in the Lanarkshire Festival of Male Voice Choirs and a number of our members participated in the 'Voices of the Commonwealth” - 2014 at the Royal Concert Hall which was a marvellous experience.
The Choir has always donated music prizes to local schools. However in 2015 it was decided to expand our charitable work. Prostate Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland and Willowbank School were all presented with donations for their worthy causes.
The choir were guests of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir in 2016 at their fundraiser for Erskine Hospital. The concert was held in the Royal Concert Hall and was a very uplifting evening.
2016 also saw a team from the choir take part in BBC 2’s Eggheads quiz show. This recording aired in 2017 & saw the team give a good account of themselves.
Mr Alex Ferguson, our esteemed & popular Musical Director, announced in 2020 that he would be stepping down from his post. Mr Ferguson had spent twenty years taking the Aeolian Choir from strength to strength. We were intent as a choir to give Alex his very own “Greatest Hits” farewell Concert but alas Covid 19 stopped all musical performances as we went into lockdown.
Towards the end of 2021 we have been able to commence rehearsals
again & we performed our 89th Annual Concert during March 2022.At
the end of this concert a presentation was made to 1st Tenor Mr John
Goodwin to mark his 50 year membership of the choir. We now look forward to our
90th year learning & performing new music.
The Choir’s 90th Season was not a busy one with Concerts which allowed Mr David Walker to try various new pieces of Music. We performed a Concert at Crossroads Community Hub during November 2022. The Hub’s new premises have a wonderful acoustic which enhanced the Choir’s sound.
Our 2022 Christmas Concert was thoroughly enjoyed by an audience who had not seen the Choir perform for two years due to the pandemic. Jennifer Pryce was our excellent soloist & Dunaskin Doon Brass Band was in great form. David Walker led the choir through a number of new Christmas pieces which were greeted warmly by our audience. A retiral collection of £590 was donated to Crossroads Community Hub for their Children’s Play Area.
Our accompanist, Mr Mark Robertson who had been with us since we came out of lockdown decided to stand down at the end of 2022.
Our 90th Anniversary concert was held in St Marnocks Parish Church Kilmarnock & we invited back our guests from 2019 who are all members of Loudoun Musical Society. There were only three pieces in our programme that we had performed before. This showed the dedication of David Walker to take the choir to new heights. With Mr Mark Allison as our new accompanist, the evening was an outstanding success. Our Special Guests were so warmly appreciated by our audience.
The evening was tinged with sadness as David Walker in his tenth season with the choir intimated he would be standing down as Musical Director.
A retiral collection of £624 was increased by the choir to £1000 & this was donated to Alzheimer Scotland.
While we are proud of our history, we are also very aware of the need to maintain and improve our standards, and to attract new blood. The Choir extends a warm welcome to anyone who feels they would enjoy singing and we are sure you would find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Aeolian Male Voice Choir3 Beaufield Gardens
Kilmaurs KA3 2NS
Phone: 07710 780358