Busy Christmas Season for Canadian Staff Band

The Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster Brian Burditt) had another busy Christmas season in 2007.

For the third straight year, the Staff Band participated as a part of the massed band for the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, held on 17 November 2007. That evening, the Staff Band joined with senior and junior ensembles from Scarborough Citadel and Agincourt Salvationist Church for a tri-band festival. The program featured a mizture of old and new items, and the Staff Band were particularly impressed with the performance of the youth sections.

The following Saturday, 24 November 2007, about two-thirds of the Staff Band participated in the 15th annual Yuletide Cheer, an event featuring the Peterborough Singers at George Street United Church, Peterborough. This magnificent choral group, about 85 voices strong, thrilled the capacity crowd of over 900 persons with their musical offerings. The Staff Band participated with a selection of seasonal favorites. The choir joined in for a performance of Eric Ball’s The Kingdom Triumphant.

The next Saturday (1 December 2007) was the annual “Christmas with the Salvation Army” show at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Despite a last-minute change of soloists (Captain Margaret Davis was forced to withdraw, due to illness, less than a week before the event), the event was an outstanding success, with many in attendance commenting that it was the best in recent years. The addition of vocal soloist Darren Bartlett contributed greatly to the evening, as he performed a wide range of items, from Mary Did You Know? (Mark Lowry) to Love Changes Everything (Andrew Lloyd Webber). The Festival Chorus was also in fine form, presenting several new choral arrangements by Major Len Ballantine. The Staff Band’s main contributions included William Gordon’s Christmas Bolero (featuring 11 drummers drumming), Gaudete! (Kevin Norbury) and Major Ken Smith’s transcription of the popular holiday item Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson).

A busy month of activity for the Staff Band culminated in “something old and something new.” On Wednesday, 12 December 2007, the Staff Band gave up its regular rehearsal time for a special concert arranged by the Staff Band’s own Steve Pavey at Markham District High School. Featuring intermediate and high school bands (including Pavey’s own band), the concert provided a great means of making inroads into the community. At the end of that week was the 29th annual Carol Concert at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. This event, with comprised two packed-out performances, helps the Toronto Star provide Christmas gift boxes to 45,000 underprivileged children in the greater Toronto area.

Canadian Staff Band web site, original report by Major Ken Smith.