On the weekend of 31 March – 1 April 2012, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) visited Oshawa Temple for the corps’ annual band weekend. Situated 50 kilometers east of Toronto, the city of Oshawa has long been known as the “Automotive Capital of Canada”, with General Motors being a mainstay of the economy. In recent years, the city of 150,000 has also become a retirement community for those wanting easy access to Toronto, as well as attracting young families who commute into the Greater Toronto area for work. Oshawa Temple, under the leadership of Majors Robert and Dana Reid, has had many Salvationists transfer to the corps and, as a result, the congregation is flourishing as never before.
The weekend began with a band clinic on Saturday afternoon, as members of the Staff Band met with members of the Oshawa Temple and Scarborough Citadel youth bands for sectional practice and tutoring. This was followed by a rehearsal with the massed bands in preparation for the evening concert, which was billed as “Listen to the Music”.
After supper, a large crown filled the hall for the program, which began with a sparkling rendition of Servants of God (Steven Ponsford) and the congregational song O Boundless Salvation (arr. William Himes). Other Staff Band items included The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton) and Ray Steadman-Allen’s classic Daystar. Soloists Cameron Rawlins (euphonium) and Craig Lewis (trombone) were featured in two contrasting items – Harlequin (Philip Sparke) and This I Know! (Terry Camsey), respectively.
Oshawa Temple Young People’s Band, led by Kristen More, presented In My Heart (Simon Downey) and Scarborough Citadel Band, led by Steve Brown, played Nicholas Simmons-Smith’s Sunday School Medley.
The Staff Band kicked off the second half with three items – the scintillating Procession of the Nobles (Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. James Curnow), Fill the World with Glory! (Kevin Larsson) and The Name (Martin Cordner). The massed youth bands then combined with the Staff Band to present I Stand Amazed (Stephen Bulla), which was especially appreciated by the parents of the young people and other supporters in attendance.
This was followed by the CSB timbrels with Barrie Gott’s Light-walk (always a crowd-pleaser), the vocal selection He Leadeth Me (Paul Kellner), a devotional thought by Executive Officer Major Kevin Metcalf and Peter Graham’s Seize the Day, which is a selection of traditional spirituals including “The Gospel Train”, “Swing Low” and “Amen”.
On Sunday morning, Palm Sunday, an ensemble provided music for Sunday School and was also involved in a dramatic recreation of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Staff Band then led the morning meeting. Musical contributions included A Psalm of Praise (James Curnow), My Jesus I Love Thee (arr. Ron Heintzman) and Written in Red (Dean Jones). Solo items included Steve Brown (cornet) with The Lord’s Prayer (arr. Ian Jones) and Cameron Rawlins (vocal), who sang It Is Well (arr. William Himes).
In addition to the Staff Band, the Sunday afternoon musicale featured a showcase of talent from Oshawa Temple, including the senior band and songsters, singing company, beginners’ band and junior timbrels. Items from the Staff Band included An Overture of Praise (Ruben Schmidt), The Great Rescue (Martin Cordner), They Shall Come from the East (Kevin Larsson), and an arrangement of Michael W. Smith’s Shine On Us by the newest member of the Staff Band, Jonathan Rowsell. Noel Samuels (tuba) was featured in Stephen Bulla’s The Higher Plane, a solo originally composed for soprano cornet. To conclude the afternoon, the Staff Band presented William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician.
Canadian Staff Band web site