On the weekend of 6–7 June 2009, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) visited the rural Ontario town of Simcoe to help celebrate the Salvation Army’s 125th anniversary in the community. Guest leaders for the weekend were General and Mrs. Bramwell H. Tillsley (ret.).
A full congregation, including many visitors from outlying areas, took in the Saturday evening concert. The program featured a wide variety of items from the Staff Band’s current repertoire, including soloists Major Kevin Metcalf who played Pleasure in His Service, Welsh Fantasy performed by Steve Pavey, Were It Not for Grace from Cameron Rawlins and Leigh Rowney with Joyous Rhythm.
Throughout the evening greetings were given by civic dignitaries representing various levels of government, who all congratulated the Salvation Army for its longstanding service. Just before General Tillsley’s message, Steve Brown presented the flügelhorn solo I Surrender All. The Staff Band concluded the program with Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Vitae Aeternum.
On Sunday morning, the Staff Band divided into three groups, sharing with the young people at the Corps sunday school, playing at a nursing home and at the local hospital. This was followed by morning worship at the Corps, during which the Staff Band played two selections which had been especially requested for the weekend, He Can Break Every Fetter (Kenneth Downie) and Reflections in Nature (Robert Redhead). Following General Tillsley’s message on “Stirring Up the Gift of God That Is Within You” (2 Timothy 1:6), many in the congregation responded to the invitation to kneel or stand by the mercy seat in fresh commitment as the meaningful words “My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine” were sung.
On Sunday afternoon, the Staff Band shared the platform with the Corps’ Young People’s Band, who marched in the Staff Band at the beginning of the meeting and gave an admirable rendition of William Himes’ Muffins Rhapsody with the Staff Band accompanying. Once again the Staff Band presented a wide selection of items, including The Flight of the Bumblebee played by Noel Samuels and an upbeat version of What a Friend We Have in Jesus sung by Cameron Rawlins.
Canadian Staff Band web site, original report by Major Ken Smith