To kick off its 2012 – 2013 season, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) visited Red Deer, Alberta on the weekend of 13 – 14 October 2012. The occasion was the 100th anniversary of the corps. The Staff Band was pleased to support the territorial leaders, Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, along with the divisional leaders, Majors Ron and Donna Millar, and the corps officers, Majors Larry and Marilyn Bridger.
Following an early morning departure from Toronto, the Staff Band arrived safely at Edmonton International Airport, and then boarded a bus for the 150-kilometer drive to Red Deer. Situated halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, this city of 91,000 lies in a beautiful region of rolling hills and is a center for oil, grain and cattle production. The Salvation Army has been in service here since 1912.
Following the long flight, a light lunch at the corps was much appreciated by the members of the band before they commenced a two-hour workshop with about twenty fellow musicians from Edmonton and Calgary who had traveled in for the day. Then, following dinner, they made their way to the Red Deer Memorial Centre to set up and prepare for the evening concert.
A large crowd, of more than 300, many from the local community as well as visitors from out of town, turned up for the program and were not disappointed. The repertoire included a mixture of items, new and old, including Seize the Day (Peter Graham), Christus Victor (Kenneth Downie), Swingtime Religion (Barrie Gott) and the popular Fire in the Blood (Paul Lovatt-Cooper).
Featured soloists included Cameron Rawlins (euphonium) who played Harelquin, Craig Lewis (trombone) who played This I Know!, Steve Brown and Andrew Burditt who presented the duet Synergy and Major Kevin Metcalf who offered Holy, Holy, Holy. Following a standing ovation at the end of the night, the Staff Band delighted the audience with a special encore – Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Wall of Sound – before coming down into the audience for the benediction, God Be with You (William Gordon).
On Sunday, the Staff Band participated in morning worship with prelude items and two selections, They Shall Come from the East and It Is Well, the latter featuring vocal soloist Cameron Rawlins. A special feature of the meeting was the anniversary chorus, Heart to God, Hand to Man, written by a soldier of the corps, Ed Langdon, and accompanied by the Staff Band with an arrangement written for the occasion by Major Kevin Metcalf.
In his message, Commissioner Brian Peddle challenged the listeners to truly have their hearts centered on God even as they seek new and unique ways to minister to others in His name. Many responded in dedication before the meeting concluded with a final song, “On We March with the Blood and the Fire”.
Following another wonderful meal at the corps, the Staff Band boarded the bus to begin the journey back home. Although the visit to Red Deer was short, the members of the band enjoyed their visit, and there was no doubt that they made an impact on the community during the weekend.
Canadian Staff Band web site