The 50th Anniversary Season of the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) is well underway. The first stop on the Staff Band’s Canada-wide “tour” was in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the weekend of 13 – 14 October 2018. The event commemorated 125 years of Salvation Army service in Thunder Bay.
The weekend in Thunder Bay began on Saturday morning, when a small Staff Band ensemble accompanied a fundraiser breakfast. Following a tour of some beautiful Thunder Bay sights, such as the Terry Fox Memorial, the band loaded into the evening concert venue, St. Patrick’s High School Auditorium.
The concert opened with two contrasting works from very different generations, The Power and the Glory (Paul Lovatt-Cooper) and Praise (Wilfred Heaton). The first soloist of the evening was Marcus Venables (cornet), who presented Flourish (Paul Sharman). Following a few selections from the St. Patrick’s Choir, the Staff Band’s second soloist, Deputy Bandmaster Cameron Rawlins (euphonium) performed Euphony (Robert Redhead). The first half of the program ended with a staple of brass band literature, Leslie Condon’s The Call of the Righteous.
The band began the second half of the program with Swingtime Religion (Barrie Gott). This was followed by trombone soloist and Territorial Music Secretary Craig Lewis, who performed the world premiere of The Moment, a solo written specifically for him by Marcus Venables. Thunder Bay’s vocal group, Sounds of Superior, brought some variety to the concert with energetic barbershop harmonies applied to well-known songs.
Cameron Rawlins was joined by Stephen Pavey for the euphonium duet Two-Part Invention (Philip Sparke), after which Staff Bandmaster Lam encouraged those in attendance to “be still and know that He is God, even when the oceans rise and thunders roar in our lives” as they listened to the band play Hide Me Now (Paul Sharman). The concert concluded with Martin Cordner’s Day of Freedom. After the concert, the band took a photo with all of those in the crowd who at one time played in a Salvation Army band.
During the weekend, the Staff Band had the privilege to minister once again alongside their former Executive Officer, Lt.-Col. Jamie Braund, and Ann Braund, who are former corps officers at Thunder Bay. The Sunday morning service was again at St. Patrick’s High School Auditorium, was a time of praise, celebration, testimony, and worship. The Staff Band presented Speak, Lord (Paul Sharman), before Lt.-Col. Jamie Braund brought God’s word, preaching on John 15.
The Staff Band expressed gratitude to their hosts at Thunder Bay Salvation Army. Major Lori Dicks Mitchell, Don Mitchell, and Captains Matt Sheils and Rachel Slagoski Sheils.