CaSB Marches On in Cobourg

On 3–4 October 2009, the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) was privileged to participate in the 125th anniversary celebrations at Cobourg Corps, Ontario.

The Staff Band began the weekend “on their feet”, forming up at the Royal Canadian Legion and marching to the town hall for a specially arranged civic ceremony to honor the Salvation Army on reaching this significant milestone. Also participating, at the request of their Director of Music, Paul Storms, was the Concert Band of Cobourg (The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Association – Ontario). The two bands played O Boundless Salvation together for the assembled crowd, including various government leaders. Mayor Peter Delanty brought greetings, congratulating the Salvation Army on its long history of practical and spiritual ministry to the community.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Concert Band stepped off and marched right through the Staff Band, then performed an impressive countermarch, wheeling and coming back through the CaSB ranks. The bands headed off together, marching eight abreast, playing the well-known march Montreal Citadel, which had been arranged to include the woodwinds of the Concert Band. Crowds of people lined the sidewalks cheering the massed bands as they marched along the busy street to St. Peter’s Anglican Church, the venue for the Staff Band’s evening concert. With the Concert Band in their brilliant red uniforms and white helmets contrasting the Staff Band’s navy blue tunics, the march created a colorful picture to brighten a rather dreary autumn day. For the Staff Band, the event was a highlight of the weekend that will be remembered for many years to come.

A large audience filled the church for the evening concert, which marked the Staff Band’s first official program of the 2009–2010 season. In addition to music from their latest recordings, new repertoire included William Himes’ festival march Milestone, Variations on “Terra Beata” (James Curnow), and Credo (Lorne Barry). Other items included Major Kevin Metcalf playing the cornet solo This Is My Story (Krister Lundkvist) and Morley Calvert’s always-popular Canadian Folk Song Suite. The audience especially appreciated Cameron Rawlins singing Were It Not for Grace, Stephen Pavey’s rendition of Welsh Fantasy for Euphonium and Band and the impressive xylophone dexterity of Leigh Rowney in Joyous Rhythm.

On Sunday, 4 October 2009, Salvationists and friends gathered for morning worship at the corps under the leadership of Captains Jim and Debbie Sinclair. Featuring musical ministry by the Staff Band and participation by the corps mime group Louder Than Words, the meeting included lively singing and testimonies of God’s work in people’s lives. In addition to the prelude, the main contribution of the Staff Band was a new setting of the contemporary Christian song Refiner’s Fire (arr. Craig Woodland). In his Bible message, guest speaker Major Andy Miller (USA Central Territory), challenged his listeners to live out the next chapter of the book of Acts by continuing to work and witness in their everyday lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many responded to the invitation to sign cards of commitment as they rededicated their lives to serving Christ.

Canadian Staff Band web site