Christmas in Toronto

Once again, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) had a busy month leading up to Christmas, with all of the usual seasonal concerts and activities.

Toronto Santa Claus Parade

For the eighth straight year, the Staff Band was privileged to participate as a part of the massed band for the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, 18 November 2012. As always, the route was lined with crowds, cheering as the massed band sounded forth the message of the Christmas season.

Toronto Star Carol Concert

Next, on 1 December 2012, the Staff Band participated in the 34th annual Carol Concert at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, an event that is always well-attended for each of the two performances. This event helps the Toronto Star provide Christmas boxes to needy children in the Greater Toronto area. In addition to accompanying the carols, Staff Band contributions included the ever-popular Three Kings Swing (William Himes) and A Christmas Finale (Paul Lovatt-Cooper).

Christmas with The Salvation Army

A week later with the annual “Christmas with The Salvation Army” program at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall. This year’s guests were Barbara and Steve Allen from California. Barbara, in particular, knows how to communicate with an audience, and she showed her remarkable versatility with items ranging from Panis Angelicus and Let There Be Joy to Cool Yule and Christmas Island. She also presented two popular songs, Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, as well as Believe from the movie The Polar Express.

The Festival Chorus, augmented by the Peterborough Singers, in addition to providing choral accompaniment for Barbara’s items, presented a new choral work by Major Leonard Ballantine, Night of the Magi, which featured ten members of the Staff Band in an ensemble accompaniment. The Peterborough Singers presented four items: Lux Auremque (Eric Whitacre), In Dulci Jubilo, Donkey Carol, and We Need a Little Christmas.

The Staff Band was kept busy throughout the night with various accompaniments, including the rock-style Comfort and Joy for a massed timbrel item which “brought the house down” to end the first half of the program. Other items included Three Kings Swing (William Himes) and Fanfare – Christians Awake (Paul Lovatt-Cooper), as well as Bramwell Tovey’s Coventry Variations, which really showcased the band’s abilities.

Carols of Celebration

On 16 December, a week after the Roy Thomson Hall concert, the Staff Band was involved in Carols of Celebration, a thank-you concert at the Newmarket Theatre sponsored by the The Salvation Army’s Northridge Community Church in appreciation for the support of local communities in the work in the Central York region north of Toronto.

Canadian Staff Band web site