Tomasz Pawlik – (2009 to 2010)
Tomasz moved to Scotland from Poland in July 2008 to take up an appointment as Organist and Choir Director with Portland Church of Scotland in Troon.
He graduated from I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland specialising in church music and choir conducting. He had been working as an organist and choir director for 5 years in the Catholic Church of
Virgin Mary in Wolsztyn, Poland. From 1997 to 2002 he was a member of the Motet et Madrigal choir and took part in G. Rossini festivals in Germany and in the Tyrolean Festival Erl in Austria as an opera choir singer. He attended organ improvisation and interpretation courses in St. Georgen and at Hochschule für Katholische Kirchenmusik und Musikpädagogik in Regensburg, Germany. He took part in the International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music in Wolsztyn, Poland, and as a choir director in the Polish national church choir competitions.
Tomasz has given organ recitals in Poland, the Czech Republic and more recently in the West of Scotland (Portland Church in Troon, Greenbank Church in Clarkston, and Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow). He finds organ music and the history of church music and organ improvisation really fascinating. He has a passion for travelling and exploring other cultures.
Sadly, Tomasz had to leave us prematurely for family reasons and return to Poland.
Aidan Broadbridge – (2003 to 2008)
Aidan grew up in the Clyde Valley where he began playing violin and piano at the age of seven. He spent two years studying music in a Swedish high school before he moved to London to attend Trinity College of Music. After receiving his degree, he played for numerous musicals and orchestras in and around
London. On returning to Scotland he has been busy making a name for himself in local music societies. In addition to directing and teaching he also plays fiddle in three folk dance bands – two of which he leads. Summers can find him leading instructional music weeks and travelling abroad to play for dance camps.
Aidan has featured on numerous recordings, including fifteen English and Scottish dance albums with the Assembly Players, “The Halsway Manor Millennium CD” with the Millennium Players, and “Treat Infamy” with Rest Assured. He appeared in the films“Pride and Prejudice”, where he performed as the dance band leader, and “Becoming Jane”. In addition, he has taken part in a number of TV dramas including “Cranford Chronicles”.
During Aidan’s time as our M.D. we enjoyed two international exchange visits. Haderslev Teacher’s Choir, from Denmark, visited us in 2004, and in return, we visited them in Denmark in 2005. Then in 2007 we received a visit from the Tumba Church Choir, from Sweden, and we made the trip to Sweden to visit them in 2008.
David Hamilton – (1993 to 2003)
After ten very successful years as our musical director, David Hamilton resigned at the end of the 2003 Season. As a mark of our appreciation we made him an Honorary Vice-President of the Society.
David was educated at Dalziel High School and Glasgow University. He studied organ and harpsichord abroad, gaining a graduate diploma in solo performance from Zwolle Conservatory in the Netherlands. He is a Fellow of The Royal College of Organists and was a prize winner at the European Organ Improvisation Competition in 1990. He teaches music at two universities and a music school and is Organist and Choir Master at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hamilton.
He oversaw two special commissions for the choir. The first, A Rough and Ready Guide to the Orchestra by Nigel Don, was written for a series of award winning Family Music Afternoons, and the second, Celebrating Music, a setting by Michael Norris of words by Lisa Hendry, for the 25th Anniversary of SCS.
Desmond McLean – (1991 to 1993)
Following the untimely death of our founder, David Knox, Des became the musical director in the autumn of 1991. Following such a brilliant and gifted musician was always going to be difficult, but under his leadership, the Choral Society forged ahead and produced some memorable performances.
Des commented “Tis always difficult to select one particular performance as the most memorable but for me, the performance of the Verdi Requiem in 1992 could not be surpassed. This ‘David Knox Memorial Concert’ was indeed a memorable and fitting tribute to a man revered and loved by choristers and friends of Strathaven Choral Society. The standard of orchestral playing exceptional, the choral sound sublime and majestic and bringing to the performance that quintessential dimension was a quartet of soloists unsurpassed by any other choral society. The two spirits of Verdi and Knox were palpably present that Sunday night”.
David Knox – (1972 to 1991)
(Obituary written in 1991 by Linda Young.)
With the death on 14 March 1991 of David Knox at the early age of 48, Strathaven has lost its most well-known and gifted musician. Born in Springburn, Glasgow, in February 1943, David showed an obvious musical talent from an early age, playing at concerts from the age of nine and having his first professional appointment at the age of 14 as organist at an Episcopal church in Glasgow.
He graduated Dip. Mus. Ed. R.S.A.M. from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where his first study was pianoforte, a study which he continued after his graduation, later gaining first place in the Trinity College of Music examinations for piano performance. Following a course of training at Jordanhill College he entered the teaching profession in 1965 as an assistant teacher of music at Victoria Drive Secondary School, Glasgow. He then became principal teacher of music at Armadale Academy, a promotion which came at the very early age of 26. From there he moved to Craigbank Secondary, Glasgow and finally, in June 1980, came his appointment to Hamilton Grammar School which post he filled with great distinction until the present time.
During his teaching career he was associated with many committees and innovations in the teaching of music and since 1987 he had been an examiner, setter and marker for the Scottish Examination Board.
David was associated with many of Lanarkshire’s musical organisations. In 1962, at the age of 19, he became musical director of Hamilton Operatic Society, conducting 11 of their productions over a period of years. It was here that he met his future wife, Louie, whom he married in 1967 at which time he came to live in Strathaven, her home town.
He also conducted the Lanarkshire Cecilian Orchestra for four years (1974-78) and had been conductor of the Lanarkshire Youth Orchestra for the past 15 years, during which time they broadcast on the World Service of the BBC and appeared on independent television. His interest in the musical education of young people extended into his home, where he taught piano to countless numbers of pupils over the years.
Locally, David was well known as the organist and choir master of Strathaven’s West Church, where, ironically, Palm Sunday 1991 would have marked the 20th anniversary of his appointment. The congregation will miss him greatly both as a person and in his professional capacity.
However, he will be best remembered as the founder and musical director of Strathaven Choral Society, which he built up from small beginnings in 1972 to today’s choir of almost 100 members drawn from the length and breadth of the county.
Concerts mounted by the choir brought him into contact with many professional musicians who were unanimous in their praise of his ability as a conductor and of his skills of interpretation in a wide range of classical works.
His choral society is now held in high esteem in musical circles throughout Scotland. His work with the society also brought about his association with the National Federation of Music Societies where he had been a highly respected member of their Scottish committee for more than 10 years.
Tributes to David have been flooding in from all sides, including the district councils of Hamilton and East Kilbride, but especially from his musical colleagues.
Despite all of his musical achievements, the qualification of which David was perhaps most proud was his PSV license (full double-decker status) and in his leisure hours, aside from spending time with his family, nothing gave him greater pleasure than sitting behind the wheel of a bus.