On the weekend of 2–3 May 2009, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) was privileged to help the Salvation Army in Collingwood, Ontario, celebrate 125 years of ministry. Collingwood is a small town of about 17,000 situated on the southern shore of Georgian Bay in northern Ontario. It is home to the popular Blue Mountain ski resort. The theme for the weekend was “Remembering Our Heritage, Celebrating the Present, Moving Forward in God’s Faithfulness”.
The Staff Band arrived early on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, inclement weather forced the cancellation of the scheduled outdoor concert, so the band gave an impromptu indoor performance in the Corps hall to an appreciative audience of local Salvationists and people who had travelled in for the weekend.
Following supper, the band presented a Saturday evening festival at the New Life Brethren in Christ Church. The band was preceded by the Town Crier and by “William Booth”, who welcomed everyone to Collingwood for the celebration of the Corps anniversary. The Staff Band performed several items featured on their just-completed recording (available in June 2009). They also served as accompaniment for the guest vocalist for the weekend, Melissa Cory (Yorkminster Citadel), who sang Righteousness, Peace, Joy and They Could Not. Scripture and devotions during the festival were given by Colonel David Copple, Chief Secretary for the Canada and Bermuda Territory, who was the guest leader for the weekend.
On Sunday morning, the Staff Band provided ministry in music and accompaniment for congregational singing. The meeting was inspirational, with highlights being the personal testimony of Julie Spears and the gathering of the local Salvationists at the mercy seat following the message, in an outpouring of love and support for the current Corps officers, Captains Mark and Wendy Crabb.
The final event of the weekend was the “Celebration Service” on Sunday afternoon. The Staff Band played a number of pieces, including several solo items. Songs of the Pioneers, composed by Major Ken Smith (a former member of the corps at Collingwood), was highlighted. Some of the solo items included Flight of the Bumblebee performed by Noel Samuels on Eb bass, Concert Piece for Cornet performed by Ron Heintzman, and My Tribute sung by Melissa Cory.
Several community speakers congratulated the Corps on their anniversary, including Mayor Chris Carrier of Collingwood, Jessica Craven, who brought greetings on behalf of Member of Parliament Helena Guergis and Member of the Provincial Parliament Jim Wilson, and Pastor Don Chatham, representing the Georgian Triangle Minsterial Association. Major Gilbert Godfrey, Secretary for Business Administration for the Ontario North Division of the Salvation Army, also spoke. The concert concluded with another appearance by “William Booth”, giving the famous “I'll Fight” speech to insire the local troops.
Canadian Staff Band web site, report by Major Ken Smith
Weatherall, Sharon. “Salvation Army celebrates 125-year milestone”. Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin. Last retrieved 23 June 2009 <http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1554762>.