2005 marks the centenary of the the Salvation Army’s Tri-Town Corps, located in the northern Ontario town of New Liskeard. On the weekend of 4 – 5 June 2005, the Canadian Staff Band, under the direction of Bandmaster Kevin Hayward, journeyed to this scenic area to participate in the celebrations. The Territorial Commander, Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan, and the divisional leaders for Ontario North, Majors Eric and Donna Bond, were also in attendance for the weekend.
Performances for the weekend started on Saturday afternoon (after the Staff Band had traveled for 7 hours; New Liskeard is about 500 km north of Toronto), with a march of witness through the streets of the town, followed by an open-air outside the corps building.
The Saturday night festival, held at the Temiskaming District Secondary School, followed an anniversary dinner at a local church. Selections in the first half of the program included Joshua Swings the Battle, featuring Deputy Bandmaster Steve Brown on trumpet; Western Fantasy; a vocal selection, Goodbye, World, Goodbye; and the novelty item Island Dreams, in which several members of the audience were called upon to augment the percussion section. The first half of the concert ended with Dean Jones’ Glorifico Aeternum.
The second half of the concert began with a march written for the corps’ seventieth anniversary (1975) by Leonard Ballantine. Entitled Tri-Town Seventy, the march features the old song “We’ll gird on the armor and march to the field”. A devotional mood, in preparation for a message from the Commissioner, was created with a classic devotional selection, For Our Transgressions, written by Canadian composer Morley Calvert. Following the Commissioner’s remarks, the Staff Band presented another vocal item, You’re Never Too Far from God. The concert ended with one of Ballantine’s newer works, HeartBeat. The quick march Jubilee (Paul Drury), with an emphasis on quick, was used as an encore.
The Christian ministry of the Staff Band was shown in personal testimonies by Sarah Ewing and Dave Rayment. These were given in an “interview” format, with the Staff Band’s executive officer, Lt.-Colonel Bill Wilson, in the role of the interviewer.
Celebrations continued on Sunday morning with a Sunday School led by Majors Neil and Merrilee Evenden, the divisional youth leaders for Ontario North. The Sunday School session was supported by an ensemble from the Staff Band.
The main worship service, led by the divisional leaders, again featured a message from Commissioner MacMillan, this time using Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill (Acts 17) as the text. Contributions from the Staff Band included Shekinah (Kenneth Downie) and Shine On Us, a vocal item. Following the service, the Staff Band returned to the school for lunch, and then boarded their coach for the trip back to Toronto.
Canadian Staff Band web site