Brass Celebration at Mountain Citadel

The Mountain Citadel Corps in Hamilton has been growing in stature musically in recent years, and presently boasts a fine Band under the leadership of Philip Rayment.

On a recent Saturday, some 150 musicians combined for what was billed as a “Brass Celebration”. Included as special guests were the Canadian Staff Band, and from New York, trumpet virtuoso Derek Lance. The festivities began at lunch time with a massed “blow in”; which included all the musicians, under the direction of Canadian Staff Bandmaster Kevin Hayward. This was followed by a series of mini concerts, as the musicians formed into their respective groups to present their own 30 minute programme. Those not performing became a “;captive” audience along with members of the public. Of course, the proverbial “;Army cup of tea”; and eats helped keep everyone interested in staying around!

A good standard was in evidence from all the groups taking part, a couple of which may only have numbered as many as 15–18 players. To start the proceedings, Kitchener Band took the stage to present a march by Paul Drury aptly titled Celebration Day. Another item featured by Bandmaster Ron Pearson was a new cornet solo from the pen of Canadian composer Peter van der Horton titled All I Have Is Thine. This was stylishly performed by Steve Mansfield. To finish their segment, the band gave a confident reading of Paul Sharman’s march, Lord Lift Me Up.

Listowel is a small town in Ontario’s heartland, but again, for a smaller band they maintain a very good standard. Highlights of their programme included a performance by teenager Josh Bailey, of Robert Redhead’s trombone solo O Sinner Man, conducted by proud Dad Bandmaster Ken Bailey. Listowel also included the not often heard Peter Graham march, Stateside.

The host Band, Mountain Citadel, were ably directed by Bandmaster Philip Rayment in a programme which included a new arrangement by Len Ballantine, Covenant Worship, and Erik Silfverberg’s Eb bass solo Standing on the Promises, capably played by young tubist Nathan Downer. Also included were the new fanfare To a God Like This (Ian Robinson) and a lively new arrangement of Victory in Jesus by David Mills.

Next up was Impact Brass, formerly known as the Ontario South Divisonal Youth Band. This is a very active group that has recently toured Newfoundland, and Bandmaster Ken Bailey put them through their paces in several challenging works which included The Triumph of Peace (Eric Ball), Endless Praise (William Himes); and an interesting trombone feature from the pen of Ralph Pearce titled There is a Redeemer.

To conclude the afternoon, the Ontario West Reservists Band gave a good account of themselves with two Salvation Army classics; the march Mighty to Save (George Marshall) and Eric Ball’s devotional selection Constant Trust. Bandmaster Jim Gordon showed that the band was not at all limited to an “old timers” repertoire, with his inclusion of the recently published fun number by Erik Silfverberg, Tomado de la Mano.

The evening Gala Concert was given to a packed hall by the Canadian Staff Band, along with soloist Derek Lance. A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Lance is quickly making a name for himself in North American band circles. Equally at home on cornet, flügelhorn, and trumpet, he exhibited great skill and technique in the demanding solos, Jubilance (William Himes), Trumpet Call (Kenneth Downie) and James Curnow’s Concert Piece. Lance also showed fine musicianship in his sensitive presentation of Michael Babb’s arrangement of the Gowans and Larsson song Love Cannot Fail. The audience did not find out until the end of the program that Derek had been battling food poisoning all week, and hadn’t eaten ’a meal in three days! The Staff Band was in top form both in their accompaniments of Derek’s solos, as well as their items which included Trinity (Lorne Barry); Gaelforce (Peter Graham); Emblem of the Army (Arthur Gullidge); Hine e Hine (Peter Graham); Praise Party (Steven Ponsford); and a terrific performance of Dean Jones’ new work Glorifico Aeternum. The full house showed its appreciation to the band and the outstanding guest soloist with sustained applause. Watch for a future live recording featuring performances from this concert.

Bandmaster Rayment and his committee are to be commended for having the vision and initiative to put this event together. One that will no doubt forever remain in the memory of the musicians that took part.

Source: Report by Stan Ewing