A CONCERT band from Canada is coming to Ayrshire this town to share a stage with local musicians from the town that gave their Ontario home its name.

The Ayr-Paris Band will join forces with the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra for a concert at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum next month.

The concert will be the last on the band’s ‘Highland Holiday’ tour – and will be their fifth trip to Ayr in a long association that dates back more than half a century.

Ayr in Ontario, located 90 minutes away from the United States border at the Niagara Falls, is home to 5,383 people and was given its name by Robert Wylie, who emigrated to Canada from Ayrshire in the 19th century and named the new settlement after his Scottish home town.

The band’s links to Ayr, Wylie apart, go back to 1967, when the Beresford Girls’ Choir visited Ontario to celebrate Canada’s centennial.

Since then the Ayr Pipe Band and Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra have formed a lasting relationship with the Canadian town, and several exchange visits have taken place since then.

Ayr Advertiser: The Ayr-Paris Band will play at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway during their Scottish tourThe Ayr-Paris Band will play at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway during their Scottish tour (Image: Irene Schmidt-Adeney)

The band’s tour of Scotland – its first since 2006 – begins in Glasgow on Sunday, July 23 and will feature performances at the city’s Fotheringay Centre alongside the Glasgow Community Concert Band on July 25, in Dundee at the University Botanic Gardens on July 28, at Balmoral Castle on July 29, at Fort George in Inverness on July 30, and at Inveraray Castle on August 3.

Their concert at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway is the final performance on their tour, and will take place on Friday, August 4 at 2.30pm.

While in Ayr, the band will meet South Ayrshire's Provost, Iain Campbell, to invite him to send a delegate to the 200th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Ayr, Ontario, taking place in 2024.

The band comprises 45 volunteer members of all ages from Ayr and the nearby town of Paris, under the direction of Merry Schmidt.

The band’s members perform regularly at local festivals, churches, remembrance services, local retirement homes, Tattoos, at their own pavilion in downtown Ayr and several fundraising events.

They also participate in many parades, with an engagement calendar of approximately 26 jobs per year.

As well as five tours of Scotland – the most recent in 2006 – they have toured across North America and throughout Europe.

For the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, meanwhile, the concert follows hard on the heels of their own tour of North America - though in their case, the trip is to the southern states of the USA.

The orchestra's tour began with a sold-out concert in Newnan, Georgia, on Thursday of this week, with further performances scheduled for Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday, July 22; in New Orleans, Louisiana on Wednesday, July 26; and in Houston, Texas on Saturday, July 29. 

Find out more about the Ayr-Paris Band at ayrparisband.com. - and to keep track of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra's 'Southern States Tour', see the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra page on Facebook.