Watch Melissa Wakeling, Education and Marketing Coordinator for Glanmore, as she talks about entertainment in Belleville and the history behind this souvenir album from the Belleville Kilties Band.
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The Belleville Kilties Band was formed in 1898 as an offshoot of the 48th Highlanders Band of Toronto. Run by local businessmen T.P.J. Power, the band had forty members. This included a sixteen voice choir, the Clan Johnstone pipers and dancers, and Roderick Bain Mackenzie, their seven-foot tall drum major who lead the band in parades.
From 1904-1911, the Kilties played the vaudeville circuit and went on two world tours where they performed in twenty countries. This included two command performances before King Edward VII! The band earned much acclaim as “the greatest Scottish Band in the World.”
In 1902 the Belleville Kilties recorded the Maple Leaf Forever with the Berliner company in Montreal. This was the first Canadian musical recording by an ensemble. Thanks to Library and Archive Canada’s Virtual Gramophone you can listen to the Kiltie’s historic recording of the Maple Leaf Forever.
The souvenir album in Glanmore’s collection was printed in 1904 and sold at performances for 25 cents each. Within its pages there are many samples of sheet music for songs they would have performed on tour, as well as images of the band.
The front and back cover consist of beautiful colour illustrations of the band. On the back cover, under the illustration, the caption reads: “The Kilties have sailed all seas to triumph.”
-written by Emma Craig, YCW Public Engagement Assistant