The Salvation Army’s Whitby Community Church, Whitby, Ontario, hosted a major musical weekend in early November. The featured artist was gospel singer Lynda Randle of the Gaither Homecoming Tour, with support by the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster Kevin Hayward).
On Saturday evening, 8 November, a concert was presented with the Staff Band as the "warm-up" act. The band performed Make His Praise Glorious, featured Deputy Bandmaster Steve Brown on cornet for Joshua Swings the Battle, and also played The Proclaimers (Kevin Norbury), Exultate (Kenneth Downie), and Trittico (James Curnow). Major Ken Smith introduced his own arrangement of George Beverly Shea's classic song The Wonder of It All.
Entering the stage with her own arrangement of Down at the Cross, Lynda Randle personalized her performance with thoughts from her own experiences as the preludes to her songs. Accompanied by Lester Estelle, a virtuoso guitarist, she presented such songs as His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Through It All, and Sweet Little Jesus Boy. A particularly moving moment was God on the Mountain, a song that legendary contemporary Christian songwriter Bill Gaither introduced to her during a difficult time in her life.
The work of the Salvation Army was highlighted with a video presentation and remarks by the Territorial Commander for Canada and Bermuda, Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan. Lynda and Lester then joined with the Staff Band for Soulful Hallelujah, a gospel version of the Hallelujah Chorus, which ended the evening.
Lynda Randle was born and raised in Washington, DC. Growing up in the inner-city culture, she experienced pain and anguish that can only be imagined by the majority of Christian America. Since she gave her life to Jesus Christ, He has used the scars of her youth to bring depth and richness to her ministry. Her husband, Mike, had a similar childhood in Kansas City, Missouri, and is now a powerful evangelical voice to youth in the same desperate state.
The following morning, Sunday, 9 November, the Staff Band and Lynda Randle participated in the worship service, along with Commissioner MacMillan. Whitby’s local sections were represented by the bell choir and the junior band, who joined the Staff Band in Classics in Brass (William Himes). The Divisional Commanders for Ontario East, Majors Denis and Faye Skipper, were also in attendance. On Sunday afternoon, the band moved to Oshawa Temple Corps, where they again played to a full house.