On the weekend of 2 – 3 February 2013, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) visited the Erin Mills Corps in Mississauga, Ontario. This was the Staff Band’s third visit to this venue in the past decade, having visited under former Staff Bandmaster Kevin Hayward in June 2003 and again in November 2004 for the Corps’ 25th anniversary.
Arriving in the mid-afternoon on Saturday, 2 February 2013, the band quickly set up and did a brief sound check before enjoying a chicken dinner served by corps volunteers. They then proceeded to the evening concert, presented to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience who had braved the winter weather to be present.
The program began with Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla) and included two contrasting marches, Bruce Broughton’s energetic Hillcrest and Bramwell Coles’ classic In the Firing Line. The latter featured Erin Mills corps officer Captain Ron Wickens sitting as end-chair solo cornet. Wickens had played under Bandmaster Lam in the London Citadel Band before entering the training college, and he was delighted when his former bandmaster invited him to join the Staff Band for this special occasion.
Other selections for the evening included the fourth movement from Giannini’s Symphony No. 3 (arr. William Himes), Seize the Day (Peter Graham), Fill the World with Glory (Kevin Larsson) and Fire in the Blood (Paul Lovatt-Cooper).
Featured soloists for the evening included Cameron Rawlins (euphonium) who played Harlequin, Craig Lewis (trombone) with This I Know!, the cornet duet Synergy presented by Steve Brown and Andrew Burditt and Major Kevin Metcalf (soprano cornet) with Holy, Holy, Holy.
Two lighter items rounded out the night. Island Dreams (Martyn Scott Thomas) was particularly appreciated by the many Caribbean natives who were part of the audience, comprising a large component of the Erin Mills Corps. Barrie Gott’s always-popular Light-Walk was presented as a timbrel feature.
Following a standing ovation at the end of the evening, the Staff Band delighted the audience with a special encore, Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Wall of Sound, before surrounding them for the benediction God Be With You (William Gordon).
On Sunday morning, 3 February 2013, the Staff Band participated in worship with various prelude items and the selection They Shall Come from the East (Kevin Larsson). The selection was particularly appropriate because of the multicultural congregation, many of whom came to Canada from other countries. The guest leaders for the service were Majors Keith and Shona Pike, who serve as the Territorial Youth Secretary and Secretary for Candidates, respectively. Because the day was designated as Call and Commitment Sunday, Major Shona Pike brought the morning message, speaking on God’s call to Abraham and his obedient response. Several knelt at the mercy seat before the band concluded with the final song, “I’ll Go in the Strength of the Lord”, and a special encore presentation of Island Dreams, requested by the Caribbean contingent of the congregation, who sang and danced in the aisles as the band played.
The weekend ended with a wonderful potluck meal that allowed the members of the Staff Band to share in the warmth of Christian fellowship with corps members before they went on their way.
Canadian Staff Band web site