Under the technical expertise of recording engineer Ted Marshall, the Canadian Staff Band went “under the microphones” on 1, 3 and 4 April 2009 at Guelph Citadel to record the upcoming CD Festivity. This is the first recording by the Staff Band under the direction of Bandmaster John Lam.
In addition to the title track, Festivity, other items on the recording will include the march Bounty Down (Howard Davies), Major Kevin Metcalf playing the cornet solo Pleasure in His Service (Bruce Broughton) and Ralph Pearce’s Fantasy for Euphonium and Band performed by Steve Pavey. The Staff Band’s principal cornet, Steve Brown, is featured in the flügelhorn solo I Surrender All (David Chaulk, arr. Andrew Mackereth).
The CD will also contain four new works by Canadian composers. Songs of the Pioneers (Kenneth Smith) was written for the recent 125th anniversary celebrations at Guelph Citadel. Leonard Ballantine has provided a new setting for brass band of Morten Lauridsen’s choral anthem O Magnum Mysterium. There is also a lovely arrangement of the chorus O How He Loves You and Me by Noel Brooks and a new Fanfare and Intrada, Living Flame, written by Jeff Christmas especially for this recording.
Also on the recording will be Kevin Norbury’s Hallelujah Parade, Astor Piazzola’s Libertango arranged by Harold Burgmayer, and Bramwell Coles’ stirring march The Maple Leaf.
Generating the most interest among the members of the Staff Band has been the resurrection of Robert Redhead’s Deus Vobiscum (God Be With You). Written for the Canadian Staff Band’s second tour of Britain in 1983, this piece tells the dramatic story of the sinking of the ocean liner Empress of Ireland in 1914. Most of the members of the original Canadian Staff Band, and many other Salvationist, perished in this tragedy, which remains the worst Canadian maritime disaster of all time. The music conveys how faith is reborn in the life of the believer, and how even when going through the most tragic of life’s circumstances the Christian can sing with confidence, “I am trusting thee forever ... and for all.” While still retaining the essence of the original version, the music has been re-scored by the composer, who will also provide the narration. This is the first studio recording of this work, which was previously available only on two live-performance LPs from 1983.
Festivity is scheduled for release in June.
Canadian Staff Band, original report by Major Ken Smith